InMage Uses Two Agents to Support the Confluence in Document Management Systems

Continuation of our series on InMage’s support of Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server.

Part 1: InMage Scout protects Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2007, but document management is not new to InMage

InMage goes one step further and allows you to group your servers so that you can recover them as a whole.  To avoid mishaps and unintentional recovery, InMage configuration supports the grouping of systems to ensure recovery points occur across the correct servers.  Supporting the grouped recovery of file and database data was somewhat challenging.  Rajeev Atluri, InMage CTO, says “We had to treat all three servers as a system, so my development team created a way to set consistency bookmarks across all three servers and manage it as a system.”  Atluri continued saying “the bookmarking was not the challenging part during development.”  According to Atluri, the challenging portion was determining the best way to support system recovery.

InMage addressed the challenge of system recovery through replication.  To do this they needed to be forward thinking about how they would replicate the data.  InMage Scout uses two data protection agents.  The VX Agent manages volume/block based continuous data protection.  Their FX Agent manages file based continuous data protection and works as the scheduler within the InMage system.

InMage Scout FX-Agent manages the data recovery point bookmarking for consistent databases and consistency across servers in an n-tier group of supporting application servers.  Most of the document management data protected by InMage is managed by their VX Agent, aka the host-off loaded block based continuous data protection agent.  This leaves the FX-Agent free to manage bookmarks.  However, the FX Agent handles the replication of files that are changed infrequently.

Using the VX Agent on files that are rarely changed would be over kill.  VX Agent replicates block level changes.  Since template files in document management rarely change, or change infrequently, supporting them with VX Agent is unnecessary.  The VX Agent provides the host-off loaded CDP.  VX Agent is best used for files that are being created rapidly or changed regularly.

VX Agent is what supports the continuous data protection for the Microsoft SQL server in a document management environment.  The VX Agent replicates the database and the transaction log files using a block based replication method.  It simply copies the blocks off the source system, leaving the target, or recovery system, to do all the reconstruction work.  The recovery system has many free CPU cycles and memory to handle the management of the CDP recovery data.  Therefore, off-loading the CDP heavy lifting allows the Microsoft SQL server being protected to work at maximum efficiency for its application requirements, such as Document Management.

To provide the best system possible, the InMage development team supports the recovery point for document management using a combination of FX Agent and VX Agent.  The FX Agent will manage the template files and recovery point bookmarking, while the VX Agent does all the hard work keeping up with the massive Microsoft SQL loads.  InMage has been supporting this model since it first helped customers protect iManage and Livelink ECM – DOCS Open, several years ago.  So supporting Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server as a document management system isn’t new to InMage.

Look for the final installment, Part 3: The decision to support Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server, later this month.

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