VARs React To Wave Of Server Appliances


Server appliances, aimed at offering solutions in areas such as compliance, e-mail archiving, data indexing and tiered storage automation can be perfect for solution providers working with small and midsize customers, said Merrill Likes, president of UpTime, a VAR in Edmond, Okla. "They make it easier for small resellers that don't have the technical resources to understand the technology," he said.

Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi, a Cleveland-based solution provider that works with a number of server appliances, said they can be helpful to customers in certain situations.

However, Knieriemen said other customers prefer to simplify their applications, which is why Chi offers capabilities such as e-mail archiving using software like IPstore from FalconStor. "Having a highly segmented e-mail tool is not for everybody," he said. "It will appeal to some customers where e-mail is a critical application. However, users prefer a single interface to handle applications."

Among the latest crop of server appliances is the new Teneros Disaster Recovery Appliance from Teneros, San Diego. The previous version allowed customers' Exchange e-mail operations to be failed over to a second appliance over a LAN in case of a problem, but the new version adds WAN capability in order to preserve e-mail operations in case of a disaster.

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Teneros CEO Steve Lewis said solution providers can use the appliance as part of a managed service offering. "It's for VARs who want to offer an SLA at a cost less than what the channel gets in revenue," he said. "A lot of midmarket VARs have their own hosted environment. They can put this appliance in a data center, but they don't need one at the client site. It just sucks the data in."

The Teneros Disaster Recovery Appliance will cost $20,000 for 250 users and $30,000 for 750 users.

Three vendors—Abrevity, Breece Hill and QStar Technologies—put together software and hardware to create an automated tiered storage appliance. The Harmony Appliance combines 3.2 Tbytes of hard-drive storage from Breece Hill's iStora appliance, an LTO-3 autoloader with 10 tape slots and software to automate the moving of data to disk and then to tape based on customer requirements, said Eric Madison, director of marketing at Abrevity, Cupertino, Calif.

Index Engines, Holmdel, N.J., introduces an appliance to index the contents of offline tape media for legal discovery purposes: the TE200 Tape Engine. The appliance sits in the data path to sniff data including text, metadata, and attachments to index it at up to 25,000 e-mails per second, said Index CEO Tim Williams. For instance, he said a government pension with 20,000 tapes that needed to find an e-mail in response to a government inquiry could be required to reload older versions of Microsoft Exchange or Veritas Backup Exec. However, he said, the appliance builds a search repository to make it easy to quickly find the right tape, depending on the content of the e-mail.