Overland Bolsters REO Backup Line With New Software, Appliances


Overland Storage this week updated its REO line of disk-based backup appliances, which now can connect directly to its NEO tape automation products, and told attendees at its annual partner summit to lead with REO when making customer calls.

Held Tuesday on a cruise ship docked in San Diego, the summit featured the introduction of three software modules: ProtectionPAC, Multi-SitePAC and AutomationPAC, which are designed to help solution providers bring data-protection services to customers on existing and new REO appliances.

ProtectionPAC, the core software module for all REOs, allows many storage services to be performed without an additional server, said Bob Farkaly, director of diskware products at San Diego-based Overland. ProtectionPAC enables REO appliances to be dynamically configured in any combination of up to 64 virtual disk volumes or virtual tape drives.

When emulating tape drives, data from host servers can be backed up in the native tape format, allowing backups to work with no modifications to software or processes. But unlike with tape, users can search for individual files by file name for quick recovery, Farkaly said.

Also included in ProtectionPAC is Dynamic Virtual Tape, which allows a virtual tape cartridge to be configured to as small as 1 Gbyte and dynamically enlarged while a backup job is running, instead of having to specify a fixed size for the backup, Farkaly said. "This is a more efficient, more effective use of storage," he noted.

Sitting atop ProtectionPAC are Multi-SitePAC and AutomationPAC. Multi-SitePAC lets REO appliances perform remote-site data mirroring, including direct REO-to-REO data transfer so backups can be done from remote sites to centrally managed sites for disaster recovery, Farkaly said. The module also allows reciprocal backups and, through virtual tape mirroring, data from one REO can be duplicated to a second location in compressed format to speed the data transfer. Multi-SitePAC also adds iSCSI connectivity to REO backup appliances.

AutomationPAC provides one-step disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backup, Farkaly said. When an Overland NEO tape library is attached to a REO on a SAN, data backed up to the REO can be archived to a NEO. The data also can be backed up simultaneously to a REO and a NEO for quick data recovery, he said. In addition, AutomationPAC has NDMP-based support, enabling data from a Network Appliance NAS Filer to be backed up directly to a REO instead of NetApp's more expensive NearStore R200, he added.

ProtectionPAC is slated be included with all REO appliances starting next week. Multi-SitePAC is due to be available as an option for REO appliances next month, followed by AutomationPAC in December.

Also at the summit, Overland unveiled two new REO appliances: the REO 9000 and REO 100.

A disk-based backup appliance with 6.0 Tbytes or 9.6 Tbytes of capacity, the REO 9000 is aimed at midtier storage environments. It is expected to start shipping this month and carries a list price of $41,250 for the 9.6-Tbyte version.

The REO 100, which supports the three new software modules, has no integrated storage capacity of its own. Instead, the 1U rack-mount unit attaches to existing stand-alone or SAN-attached storage via two iSCSI ports, two SCSI ports and two Fibre Channel ports, allowing the existing storage to act as a REO appliance, Farkaly said.

John Matze, vice president and CTO of Overland, said the REO 100 lets data be written to disk or tape directly or across the SAN. The backup server goes through the REO 100 to use disk as the backup destination or as a cache for a tape library, which can be on or off the SAN, he said.

Matze said Overland sees two target customers for the REO 100: those seeking increased performance and manageability of their high-speed SANs, and those looking to use low-cost RAID storage from companies such as Nexsan for backups.

As a result, Overland has yet to set the REO 100's pricing, according to Matze. The company may price it according to backup capacity in 2-Tbyte chunks, but it's also exploring a low-price option so the product could proliferate and attract customers to acquire backup licenses, he said.

A REO 100 could cut the amount of storage capacity that customers need going forward, and even though Overland sells storage capacity, that situation is fine with Matze. "I don't want to sell spindles. Our value is in our software," he said. "We don't make real money on the spindles. We sell them to service the customers."