Backup Vendors Target VARs For Continuous Data Protection Appliances

Lasso Logic, a San Francisco-based startup, on Monday introduced the Lasso continuous data protection (CDP) appliance, which is designed to continually back up data for small and midsize businesses. And on Tuesday, San Jose, Calif.-based Kashya, which has research-and-development facilities in Israel, plans to launch a similar appliance for the enterprise space.

With continuous data protection, changes to data are backed up immediately, allowing users to instantly return to any point in time to recover a deleted, corrupted or modified file. Several small vendors--mainly startups--are targeting the CDP space with software and appliances. Symantec is the first major player to provide details of its CDP plans with Panther technology, developed via its Veritas acquisition. Microsoft's upcoming Data Protection Manager offers near-continuous data protection, which differs from CDP in that the changes are backed up as often as every hour.

Lasso CEO Steve Goodman said his company is making a push to get the channel to bring its CDP appliance to SMBs. The product, which is already available, allows data to be backed up to internal storage of 80 Gbytes to 800 Gbytes as the changes are made to the data. The changes also are replicated to an off-site hosted storage center for disaster recovery.

Over the past two months, Lasso has signed up more than 50 channel partners, and it&'s now looking for more, Goodman said. Of those partners, 13 have signed up to host their customers' data backups, he said.

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For solution providers, the benefit of hosting backups is that they can build a managed services business, in which they would sell the Lasso CDP appliance and host the remote backups, generating recurring revenue, Goodman said. The Lasso CDP appliance starts at $2,199 for 80 Gbytes.

"For example, the going rate to back up 5 Gbytes of managed data is about $85 per month at retail from companies like EVault," he said. "Our partners can charge about that. But the partner cost is $3 to $7 per Gbyte, depending on how robust their infrastructure is. Partners also sell the appliance to provide the local backup solution."

Kashya is earmarking its KBX5000 CDP appliance for large businesses, said Mehran Hadipour, the company&'s vice president of marketing. The second-generation appliance offers CDP and disaster recovery. The original version was used for replicating data from a storage device at one location to another at a remote location, regardless of which manufacturer made the devices, he said.

This week, Kashya is adding a separate module to handle CDP, which keeps an image of all transactions as they go through primary storage to recover the data if the original file gets corrupted, Hadipour said. Though remote copies of a company's data are useful for disaster recovery, they&'re only as good as the latest version of the data. But if corrupt data is backed up to a disaster-recovery site, it could affect operations if that site's data is used in an emergency, he said.

Kashya's CDP module allows a "history volume" to be maintained at the remote site with a copy of the data, into which information about any changes are copied, Hadipour said. In the event of a disaster or if customers need to restore a file to a particular point in time, all changes to the data copy that were done since the file was last backed up are applied to the file, which can then be restored, he said.

The KBX5000 CDP appliance has a street price of about $5,500, and the CDP module starts at roughly $20,000. Kashya sells the appliance mainly through solution providers with disaster-recovery capabilities, as well as through systems integrators, Hadipour said. The company also has a small OEM business.

"We have direct sales to generate leads, but they work with the channel," Hadipour said. "The channel makes sense for this product.”