Setting Sail For Backup

At its annual partner summit, held on a cruise ship docked in San Diego, Overland unveiled a trio of software modules for its Reo backup appliances, as well as new Reo units. The offerings are part of Overland's strategy to become a major backup player and eventually take on EMC in the enterprise, said Christopher Calisi, president and CEO of Overland, which sells primarily via the channel.

"Last year, we told our resellers, 'Trust us. There is a market for backup appliances,' " Calisi said. "Not this year. Now there's no question there's a market. Now they need to sell."

Overland's plans squared with those of summit attendee John Rosendale, West Coast regional manager at Federal Network Services, a Redmond, Wash.-based solution provider. Software is key to tying hardware into a full solution, which is what customers seek from VARs, he said.

"Customers don't always understand the solution. They just feel the pain," Rosendale said. "The role of a good integrator is to interpret the pain and find the right solution."

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San Diego-based Overland's new software modules are designed to ease that pain. ProtectionPac, the core module, enables Reo appliances to be dynamically configured in any combination of up to 64 virtual disk volumes or virtual tape drives. Data from host servers can be backed up in native tape formats, and users can rapidly search for individual appliances.

Multi-SitePac lets Reo appliances back up or mirror data to other Reos at centrally managed remote sites and enables reciprocal backups. The AutomationPac module provides one-step, disk-to-disk-to-tape backup when a Neo tape library is attached to a Reo.

Overland also introduced the Reo 100, a 1U rack-mount backup appliance slated to ship in December. Lacking integrated storage capacity, the appliance virtualizes any attached storage device into a target for data backups.

The Reo 100 will help customers improve their storage device utilization, said Dave Holloway, vice president of sales at West Coast Technology, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider. "They can buy less, or they can buy cheaper storage without all of the top functions, and add the Reo 100 to do the virtualization," he said.

Expected to start shipping this month is the Reo 9000, a disk-based backup appliance with 6.0 Tbytes or 9.6 Tbytes of capacity that's aimed at midtier storage environments.