Backup, Disaster-Recovery Turnkey Solution Aimed At Small-Business Channel

The company this week unveiled a new series of data-backup and disaster-recovery appliances that combine a server, hard-drive cache, tape library and the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) software application in a turnkey solution.

This product brings an enterprise-level storage solution with full TSM support to smaller businesses, said Kevin Hoffman, vice president of sales at Hoffman Technologies, a Sacramento, Calif.-based storage solution provider.

Most smaller customers are not interested in TSM because by the time the necessary server, tape, and software is integrated, typical solutions cost about $50,000, said Hoffman. He expects customers' perceptions to change with a fully integrated solution.

The company has offered such appliances in the past based on tape libraries from such vendors as Overland Storage, Qualstar and Spectra Logic, but the latest family, which incorporates a Sony tape library using AIT drive technology, marks its first aimed at small businesses, said Ellen Rome, vice president of channel sales and marketing at StorServer, Colorado Springs.

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The Y-series solution incorporates two parts, a 4U rack-mount server with hard-disk-based storage, and a 2U Sony AIT tape library, said John Sorensen, vice president of manufacturing at StorServer.

When first installed, customers need to do a full backup to the appliance, he said. After that, TSM provides for incremental changes to be backed up to disk first and then to tape.

As a result, a full backup is available for use in restoring files or a system for as long as needed, while customers can go back for up to 20 days to recover files or systems at a particular point in time, Sorensen said. "TSM is the best technology for this capability," he said.

For small business clients looking to implement a disaster recovery program, the Y-series is worth considering, Hoffman said. "TSM includes Disaster Recovery Manager, which is the only product that I know of that writes a disaster-recovery plan for customers, including telling them what tapes should be stored where," he said. "You just answer a bunch of questions, then it spits out a plan for you."

The Y-series also plays well in the government space, Hoffman said. "If the government is looking for such a solution, it would require a server, a tape library and software, and three separate bids which could go to different companies," he said. "This puts all the products into a turnkey solution, so it can be done with a single bid."

The Y1, which comes with 100 Gbytes to 300 Gbytes of non-RAID ATA hard-disk capacity and one AIT drive, starts at $12,900. The Y500, with 20 Gbytes to 160 Gbytes of non-raid SCSI disk and one tape drive, starts at $13,900. The Y1000, with 50 Gbytes to 190 Gbytes of RAID SCSI disk and two AIT drives, starts at $20,900. They are available to both StorServer and Sony solution providers.

StorServer currently sells its products exclusively through solution providers, Rome said. The company currently has about 65 partners in North America but is actively recruiting more partners who can sell such a turnkey solution. Partners have access to online quoting tools from StorServer and can receive margins on the integrated solution of up to 35 percent, she said.

Implementation is currently done by StorServer, Sorensen said. However, the company will certify partners that take two weeks of training, go on three installations with StoreServer personnel and have been previously certified for TSM, he said.