3X Updates 'Private Storage Cloud' Backup Appliance

3X Systems this week unveiled a new version of its series of remote backup appliances which help solution providers set up private cloud storage systems for SMB customers looking for low-cost backup and data recovery services.

3X Systems produces appliances that let SMBs automatically back up their data and get it offsite without the need to pay a backup service provider, said Alan Arman, founder and CEO of the Columbus, Ohio-based storage vendor.

The appliances take under 10 minutes to unpack, plug in, configure, and get the first backups started, Arman said.

After the initial backup is done at the customer site, solution providers can use it to form their own private storage cloud for customers, he said.

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"The data is backed up to the appliance on-site because that's the fastest way to do the backup," he said. "Once the appliance is seeded, the solution provider moves it to an outside facility, such as its own office or a data center or even to someone's home. From that point on, our agent software locates the box and sends data changes to it over the Internet. There's no need for a VPN, as the data is encrypted."

Should the customer experience a system failure requiring a data restore, the solution provider can bring the appliance or a removable storage device with the data to the customer site to quickly do the restore, he said.

The new third-generation of 3X's appliance includes several new features, Arman said.

For the first time, they can now back up complete system images in order to do bare metal recovery, which is the ability to restore a complete system image to another desktop or server which is not configured with an operating system.

Those images can now also be converted to run as a virtual machine, giving SMBs the ability to migrate some of their IT infrastructure to a virtualized environment or to do a temporary restore to a virtual server while waiting for the physical server to be replaced, he said.

SMBs can use the 3X backup console software to manage the back up of all physical and virtual devices, including servers, desktops, or virtual appliances, Arman said.

Next: Easy Restores For Microsoft Exchange

Also new is the ability to back up and restore large data sets using local storage, he said. "Before, to restore a large data set, the solution provider needed to bring the entire appliance back to the primary site," he said. "Now all backups can be done on a local NAS appliance or other storage device at the same time they are done to the 3X appliance, so in case of a primary storage failure the restores can be done locally."

3X also added an agent specific to restoring data for Microsoft Exchange, Arman said. "Restoring Exchange usually needs the customer to first build a recover server and then use the ExMerge utility to extract individual mailboxes," he said. "Now, we provide an agent that asks users where their Exchange backup is sitting. It then navigates to the specific user or email to restore it in one step."

3X's backup appliances are priced at about $24,000 with 3 TBs of capacity. Arman compared this to the cost of using a backup cloud service like that of Mozy which might cost a business $88,200 to protect 2.5 TBs of data for three years.

"With us, customers own the appliance," he said. "They become the backend. They don't need to pay anybody to do the vaulting. They just need to make sure the box sits away from the primary data."

3X has about 500 reseller partners in North America, Arman said. "We try to be exclusive to the channel," he said. "But in some areas we don't have partner coverage."