One start-up is marrying Linux with grid computing to create a better way to back up enterprise data.Launched last month, the company is touting what it calls a "Grid Protected Storage" architecture. This involves using arrays of virtually managed inexpensive disks as a data backup and recovery alternative to tape drives.The technology is based partly on Linux-based storage appliances called GRIDdisks. These closed systems run a modified version of the Linux operating system and can scale to hundreds of terabytes of storage capacity.The system works like this: Network-attached appliances attached to a LAN provide local storage, and backups are written to the GRIDdisk arrays locally as well on an incremental basis. In addition, GRIDdisk arrays can be set up in remote locations and replicate each other by incremental updates over a WAN. The company says this architecture allows for minor file restorations or disaster recovery jobs that run 1,000x faster than restores from tape.The CTO of ExaGrid, Dave Therrien, says the company chose Linux as the operating system because it helped keep research and development costs down, while providing a stable, flexible environment for developing its storage solution. A key part of the ExaGrid offering is that its hardware is standards-based, and Linux fit the mold for that kind of system.\u00a0ExaGrid's storage system will be available starting in 2004.