Iomega Road Map Emphasizes Automation

The San Diego-based storage vendor plans to enhance its hardware and software with an eye toward more automation of storage for small and midsize clients, nearly all of which Iomega serves via solution providers, said Wayne Arvidson, director of professional solutions.

Iomega targets that space because, while the bulk of small businesses manage storage capacities of less than 2 Tbytes, they are becoming concerned about many of the same issues as larger customers, including compliance, content creation and e-mail archiving, said Arvidson.

Iomega plans to double the capacity of its Rev line of removable hard drives, based on standard 2.5-inch hard-drive technology, to 70 Gbytes by the middle of next year, said Arvidson. After that, the company will boost it further to 270 Gbytes or more with the introduction of BAM, short for "Big Ass Media," he said.

The company is moving to get its Rev drives to replace tape for smaller businesses and plans to introduce a Rev desktop microloader with one drive slot and space for six or eight Rev drives late in the third quarter, Arvidson said.

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By year-end, the company, which currently offers a rack-mount, carousel-based 10-cartridge Rev autoloader, hopes to add a new desktop autoloader with two removable 12-cartridge magazines, he said.

The Rev family has a lot of room for growth, as it fits well with clients looking for tape alternatives, said Scott Sabellico, vice president of sales and marketing at New Dimensions, a Troy, Mich.-based solution provider. "It's a great fit for folks who want to get away from tape in small businesses where customers don't have stable disaster-recovery or backup/restore plans in place," he said.

Iomega is also planning to update its NAS lines, said Arvidson. On tap this spring for the NAS 100d is USB 2.0 support for plugging in portable hard drives or Rev drives to quickly add capacity, as well as enhanced wireless security.

By year-end, capacity for the NAS 100d will get a bump to 400 Gbytes or 500 Gbytes from the current 160 Gbytes or 250 Gbytes, and its embedded operating system will be enhanced for automatic backups, he said.

For its NAS 200d, Iomega expects by the end of March to bump capacity to three 250-Gbyte hard drives from today's maximum of 480 Gbytes, Arvidson said. At the same time, the company will update the appliance's image to allow for an optional print server and support hot backups of Microsoft Exchange. It will also be given an extra slot for backing up to a Rev drive, he said.

Sabellico said the ability to connect a Rev drive to an Iomega NAS appliance will allow small businesses to take advantage of disk-to-disk backup capabilities. "They can backup to a Rev, take it off-site and vault it," he said.

New from Iomega will be the NAS 300r, a rack-mount storage appliance with two hot-swap 160-Gbyte or 250-Gbyte hard drives, said Arvidson. It is expected to be released by the end of this quarter.

In the third quarter, Iomega plans to refresh its 400r family of NAS appliances with the ability to recover from an operating system crash by using a DVD, he said.

Iomega also plans to discontinue its 200m and 300m NAS appliances, he said.

Iomega's NAS appliances have been a sweet spot for New Dimensions' small-business customers, which tend to stay away from SANs, said Sabellico. "A lot of small businesses don't have a SAN, so they buy more servers, which means more management and manpower issues," he said.

Iomega is also planning to enhance a number of its software applications and capabilities over the rest of the year.

One new addition, scheduled for next quarter, is a boot-and-run option for Rev drives, said Arvidson. This would allow customers to boot their servers off a Rev drive for system recovery in case of a complete system failure, he said.

By early next year, Boot and Run will be enhanced to support more NTFS systems and allow integration into a NAS appliance, he said.

Boot and Run is a fantastic feature for small businesses, said Sabellico. "Folks who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on bare metal recovery can use the Rev instead," he said.

Iomega is also planning to update its Iomega Automation Backup software late this quarter to support Serial ATA hard drives and backups to network hard drives, Arvidson said. An even newer version slated for late in the third quarter is also expected to support media rotation, 64-bit operating systems, backups to autoloaders and running backups as a service, he said.

The company will look to enhance Folder Share, a software application it received when it made a significant investment in Byte Taxi last month.

Folder Share allows the remote synchronization and sharing of files, which means that users can make a change in a PowerPoint file, which is then automatically updated for all authorized users of that file without having to e-mail a copy to everyone, Arvidson said.

Folder Share is currently available only for PCs, but by July will come with Macintosh support, he said. Sometime after that, it will also support handheld devices, he said, with NAS support expected early next year.