Overland To Unveil Backup Appliance With Tape Emulation

With tape emulation, servers can back up data to the REO 4000 hard-drive-based appliance in native tape format without the need to modify application or backup software, said Peri Grover, director of product management for the San Diego-based company.

Disk-to-disk backup appliances, which are also available from vendors such as Quantum, can significantly speed up the backup process, said Dave Holloway, vice president of sales at West Coast Technology, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider who has been working with Overland's REO series of appliances.

One recent customer, who was taking 48 hours to back up 500 Gbytes of data, cut that down to six hours by implementing a REO 2000, said Holloway. "Instead of bringing data down the [network] to tape, he was moving data to disk from eight servers at a time," he said.

While customer interest in hard-drive-based backup appliances that offer tape emulation has been slow, it should pick up as customers learn the benefits, Holloway said. "With tape emulation, customers can use the processes and software they already have," he said.

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Overland introduced its REO 4000 appliance to solution providers last week and plans to formally launch the product in mid-April, Grover said.

Like the REO 2000, introduced last year, the 4000 offers up to 2 Tbytes of Serial ATA hard drive capacity per module, and connects to IP networks via iSCSI. However, it can be configured to emulate an LTO-2 tape drive, said Grover. Also new is RAID level 0 or 5 capability, which allows the 4000 to also work as secondary disk storage.

Another new feature is Fibre Channel connectivity, allowing the 4000 to connect to Fibre Channel SANs, Grover said. "Customers can connect to either Fibre Channel or iSCSI or both at the same time," she said. "They can have half the box talking to different networks, letting them utilize the performance benefits of Fibre Channel."

Overland is definitely following up on customer requests with the 4000, Holloway said.

While the 4000 is a backup device, a lot of customers have asked about using it as secondary storage, he said. "If they decide speed is not critical for their backups, they can use the RAID option," he said. "Also, with the Fibre Channel option, customers can also connect it to their SAN."

Overland's appliances are sold only through the channel, Grover said.

The 4000 is expected to ship starting April 20. Pricing for the iSCSI version with 2 Tbytes capacity is expected to be $13,500. With Fibre Channel capability, the price is expected to be $17,500.