Small Business Storage: So Many Products, So Many Needs

When small businesses outgrow their single tape drive and their plug-and-play SOHO NAS appliance, but are not yet ready for enterprise-class storage, where can they go?

Actually, with the help of their friendly local solution provider, they can go far.

Storage choices for small businesses ranging from one to 100 users are continually expanding, ranging from the latest in plug-and-play, portable storage devices to RAID and NAS arrays with enterprise-class features, to new techniques that take data quickly and securely into the cloud.

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of new hardware and storage products released specifically to help solution providers work with small businesses to cope with their expanding storage needs while reducing capital and operating costs. Turn the page to learn more.

MicroNet, the Torrance, Calif.-based maker of the Fantom Drive line of external drives, this week unveiled its new DataDock II, a portable dual-drive hardware RAID storage solution for customers who require RAID storage that can be used anywhere.

The DataDock II has space for two, hot-swappable 3.5-inch SATA removable hard drives, with a total raw capacity of 1 TB, 2 TB or 3 TB.

Customers can configure the drives for RAID 0 for best performance, or RAID 1 for redundancy. They can connect to the DataDock II via eSATA, FireWire 400, FireWire 800 or USB 2.0, with data transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps using eSATA. It is compatible with Apple Time Machine and comes with NTI Shadow backup software.

The aluminum enclosure with a low-noise DC fan measures 9.75 by 5 by 2.5 inches.

The DataDock II is available through Ingram Micro VARs. The list price is $299.

Cisco has recently made small business storage a priority, as evidenced by its new Cisco Small Business Series NSS3000 Network Storage System.

The NSS3000, a NAS appliance designed specifically for small businesses, is targeted at solution providers looking to provide storage and security solutions, especially those who work with the Cisco Small Business IP video surveillance product suite.

The NSS3000 can be configured with up to four 1-TB hard drives. It runs a Linux operating system and supports a variety of data storage schemes, including RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, as well as JBOD (non-RAID, or "just a bunch of disks") in Windows, Mac, UNIX and Linux environments.

It also includes support for the Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) monitoring system for hard disks, file journaling and virtualization of RAID storage systems across Cisco NSS chassis.

The data is protected with file encryption support, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) file-based disk encryption, virtual LANs (VLANs), and user authentication and access control.

Pricing for the NSS3000 starts at $1,132.

Vembu, an India-based provider of software that gives solution providers the technology to start offering Internet-based data backup and recovery services, this month is launching a new version that integrates with Amazon's S3 storage grid.

The new Vembu StoreGrid Cloud AMI is designed for MSPs and solution providers to leverage Amazon Web Services to offer online backup services to their small business clients.

StoreGrid Cloud AMI is deployed on Amazon EC2 with storage on Amazon S3. StoreGrid Clients, when deployed on customer desktop PCs or servers, allow data to be backed up directly to the Amazon Cloud.

The service offers infinite scalability with clustering and load-balancing. APIs allow its integration with third-party monitoring and management tools.

Solution providers who sign up with StoreGrid Cloud AMI are enabled to set up an online backup service without the need to invest a lot of capital or own a remote data center. Such partners can choose from a number of branding and customization options.

Subscription pricing for the service is $30 per year for desktop PCs, $60 per year for servers and $90 per year for MS Exchange/SQL Servers and MySQL. Volume-based partner discounts apply.

D-Link, Fountain Valley, Calif., this month started shipping its new DSN-1100, a 5-bay iSCSI SAN array that can be configured with up to five 1.5-TB SATA disks for a total capacity of up to 7.5 TB.

The DSN-1100 comes with IP-SAN Device Manager, an embedded suite of utilities for monitoring and control via the Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) command set.

It has four Gbit Ethernet ports that can be grouped together for up to 425-MBps bandwidth. It also supports RAID levels 0, 1, 1+0 and 5.

The DSN-1100 also features security protection, such as CHAP (challenge-handshake authentication protocol) to halt intruders, SSL security on the management console, battery backup of up to 72 hours and VLAN (virtual LAN) zoning for traffic segregation.

It is available with a starting list price of $1,799.

Buffalo Technology, Austin, Texas, is shipping its TeraStation III, a new small business NAS RAID array that can be configured with up to four 500-GB or 1-TB SATA arrays.

The TeraStation III connects to a LAN via a Gbit Ethernet port, and also has two USB 2.0 ports to connect to external hard drives for more capacity.

It protects data in Windows and Mac OS environments with RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10. Small businesses can also turn the RAID off for maximum capacity.

The unit also features front-loading hot-swap hard drives, and includes disk quota support to prevent users or groups from consuming too much of the disk space.

Data is secured with automatic AES 128-bit encryption.

Estimated street prices for the TeraStation III are $1,299.99 for the 2-TB configuration and $2,299.99 for the 4-TB configuration.

Samsung Electronics is shipping a new external DVD writer, the SE-S084B series, which comes in a choice of one of seven colors.

The new tray-type DVD writer is targeted at complementing the increasing number of mini-notebook and "netbook" PCs coming to market.

The SE-S084B series gets its data and power through the USB port, and weighs under 1 pound.

The new external DVD is available in a 8X DVD+R and DVD-R writer, a 6X DVD+R and -R Dual Layer writer and a 5X DVD-RAM writer. Color options include black, white, silver, pink, blue, sky-blue and red. The suggested list price is $79.99.

SanDisk, Sunnyvale, Calif., next month plans to start shipping the SanDisk Ultra Backup, which it bills as the world's first USB flash drive with push-button backup.

The SanDisk Ultra Backup USB portable flash drive comes with capacities up to 64 GB, and protects users' documents and files with the simple touch of a button.

The drive protects onboard digital content with a dual layer of security, including password-protected access control and ultra-secure AES hardware-based encryption.

Pricing for the new flash drives is expected to range from $39.99 for an 8-GB model to $199.99 for a 64-GB model.

The new iSeries from Nexsan, Woodland Hills, Calif., is a separate iSCSI head that can attach to any of its other SAS and SATA storage arrays to make them part of an iSCSI SAN.

By adding an iSeries iSCSI gateway to a SASBoy, SATABoy, SASBeast or SATABeast array, solution providers give their customers enterprise-class SAS and SATA storage support along with the company's AutoMAID technology for spinning down inactive hard drives to save power.

It also provides such storage services as virtualization, snapshots, replication, real-time mirroring and data migration, all with no additional software or license cost, he said.

For high availability, the iSeries storage gateway is fully redundant, and includes automatic failover and failback features.

There are two models. The 200i has up to four iSCSI and two 4-Gbit Fibre Channel ports, and scales to 500 TB of storage. The 400i includes up to six iSCSI and four 4-Gbit Fibre Channel ports, and scales to 1,000 TB of storage.

Pricing for an iSeries together with a SATABoy array with 4 TB of raw storage starts at $25,000.

Paragon Software, Irvine, Calif., just released its new Drive Backup 9 Server data protection software.

Drive Backup 9.0 Server provides complete system backup and recovery for Windows servers and desktops. It backs up data to any type of media, including Blu-ray disks, while other applications are running, or users can schedule backups.

New with version 9 is the ability for users to specify certain documents, music, videos or e-mail files.

It also includes Paragon's new Professional Adaptive Restore technology that allows customers to restore operating systems and data on any type of hardware, including virtual machines.

Customers can now also create a bootable USB flash drive that can be used to boot a PC and perform operations directly from the flash drive in case of operating system corruption or boot problems.

Also new is Windows Blue Screen Support, which allows tasks to be executed in the Windows blue screen mode so that bootable media is not needed for modifying system partitions.

Pricing for the software starts at $299 per server.

InMage Systems, Santa Clara, Calif., is shipping a new promotional version of its DR-Scout continuous data protection and disaster recovery software.

The DR-Scout Microsoft 5 Promo Package is a bundled data protection package for SQL, Exchange and MS Windows file servers. The package, which InMage said is available for a limited time, provides local backup and recovery for up to five servers, including the first year's professional services, maintenance and support.

The DR-Scout Microsoft 5 Promo Package is a plug-and-play software bundle that provides disaster recovery, continuous local backup and application availability for SQL, Exchange and MS Windows servers.

It helps customers achieve recovery point and recovery time objectives with no backup windows or data protection gaps across both physical and virtual servers, and supports heterogeneous SAN, NAS, iSCSI or direct-attach environments.

The list price of $39,900 provides data protection for up to five servers, and includes the software and the first year's support and professional services. The package also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The new InfiniVault 3 from Boulder, Colo.-based ProStor Systems integrates removable disks to provide the ease of access and performance of online storage at a cost more like that of offline storage.

The InfiniVault 3 incorporates RDX removable hard-disk-drive cartridges that are available from multiple manufacturers. The RDX technology allows the hard drives to be inserted and removed as if they were tape cartridges, and are rated with a 30-year archive life.

It has a total raw capacity of 1.5 TB, or 3 TB compressed, when all three removable disk bays are filled.

The array includes file-level deduplication so that only a single copy of any file will be saved in each repository. Also included are attribute and content-searching of files, the ability to apply multiple data retention and deletion policies and AEX-256 encryption with internal encryption key management.

For long-term data integrity, the InfiniVault 3 includes a hardware-enforced WORM (write once, read many) setting and content addressable storage (CA) to ensure data cannot be modified.

The new array is slated to ship late this month with a list price of $14,999.

The new Recovery-300 desktop appliance from Columbia, S.C.-based Unitrends is a small-form-factor, disk-to-disk storage appliance for safe and reliable data backup and recovery over 1 TB of data on a server for a period of approximately seven days.

Unitrends' Recovery-300 desktop appliance features a quad-core processor, 4 GB of memory and four 1.5-TB hard drives arranged in a RAID-10 configuration for a total raw capacity of 3 TB. It also supports connection to up to 10 servers and more than 40 operating systems and applications, Unitrends said.

Because it retains the backup and recovery points of data, the Recovery-300 protects up to 1.125 TB of data over a seven-day period while allowing access to all the recovery points.

The Recovery-300 includes software-based data compression and data encryption capabilities. The data protection capabilities are managed, monitored and configured via the Unitrends Rapid Recovery Console.

Pricing for the Recovery-300 starts below $4,500.

AppAssure, a Reston, Va.-based developer of backup and disaster-recovery software for Windows applications, recently introduced Replay AppImage 3.0, the next generation of its application-protection software.

Replay AppImage 3.0 offers continuous application imaging for Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and other Windows applications with an emphasis on recovery time and recovery point objectives.

Replay AppImage 3.0 features off-host processing to cut backup windows and enable the live restore of a down application.

It protects data by doing application-consistent snapshots of changed data blocks in the background, and uses data deduplication and compression to reduce the amount of data to be stored. It has an optional Replay Application Standby for ESX add-on, which works with VMware VirtualCenter to leverage virtual servers to provide high availability for Windows applications.

Recovery of data can be done to dissimilar hardware configurations with the Replay Recovery Anywhere add-on.

Replay AppImage 3.0 is available with pricing starting at $899 per server. Options for disaster recovery and high availability are available for an additional $299 per server. An application pack for Exchange with options for single-message restore and on-the-fly corruption detection is available for $10 per mailbox.

Infortrend, San Jose, Calif., released an 8-Gbps Fibre Channel array to its channel partners.

The company's new EonStor S16F-R1840 scales from 16 TB to 112 TB with expansion drawers to help small businesses as their storage requirements grow.

The S16F-R1840 can be configured for RAID 5 or 6, and includes high-availability features such as redundant and hot-swappable controllers, power supplies, cooling fans and backup batteries. The backup battery automatically supplies power to write cached data into flash for permanent retention during an accidental power outage.

The array's SANWatch management suite allows central management of multiple EonStor RAID arrays.

StorMagic, Eden Prairie, Minn., unveiled a virtual storage appliance aimed at helping smaller companies build low-cost virtual SANs.

Its new SvSAN virtual storage appliance allows the deployment of a high-availability shared storage solution in VMware ESX virtual server infrastructures. It runs as a virtual machine and enables a virtual SAN to be created using ESX server's internal disk storage and one or more attached external arrays.

When two SvSAN virtual appliances are configured on two separate physical host servers, they get a high-availability solution that allows active-active mirroring between the two.

SvSAN also provides the ability to migrate virtual servers from one physical host to another via VMware's VMotion functionality without the need to go through a separate shared storage device.

StorMagic sells its products only through indirect sales channels, and is offering the first copy of its SvSAN product as a free download using a promotion key tied to the solution provider. When a customer downloads the appliance, the solution provider is notified, and can then go to the customer with other services or to sell other copies of SvSAN for high availability.

A single license for SvSAN is list-priced at $995 for up to 2 TB of storage, with additional licenses available for up to 4 TB, 8 TB and unlimited capacity.

FalconStor's new File-interface Deduplication System (FDS) is a deduplication system that can be deployed as a traditional software package or as a virtual appliance in physical or VMware, or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments.

It is aimed at helping customers cut storage needs, improve backup performance and shorten recovery times.

The FDS accepts data from standard network backup software and database backup utilities. It includes block-level deduplication and allows immediate file-level access to the deduplication repository. It is optimized for third-party backup software. Many-to-one replication capability is included for global deduplication from multiple sources.

FalconStor's FDS is currently in beta testing with general availability scheduled in the first quarter of 2009. List price starts at $13,000 for the traditional software package, including replication capabilities. The virtual appliance version starts at $5,000 without replication, plus $2,000 for the replication option.

Dot Hill Systems, Carlsbad, Calif., recently started shipping a new family of 2U RAID arrays with a capacity of up to 24 2.5-inch small-form-factor hard drives or solid state disk drives.

Dot Hill's new 2722 4-Gbps Fibre Channel array and 2522 SAS arrays include intelligent, fully redundant controllers with optional support for the company's AssuredSnap snapshot and AssuredCopy volume copy data protection software modules.

Expansion is also possible with the addition of a 2U, 24-bay 2122 non-RAID SAS unit.

The 2272 and 2522 support a maximum of 96 SAS drives for a total capacity of 28.8 TB. Both offer performance of up to 230,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), which is 30 percent faster than the previous generation. They also use 80 percent-plus efficient power supplies to cut power consumption.

Dot Hill's 2722 Fibre Channel storage arrays are already shipping, while the 2522 SAS arrays are expected to be generally available in April. List-pricing starts at under $16,000 for a fully populated 3.5-TB SAS drive system.

Future versions featuring 8-Gbps Fibre Channel or 6-Gbit SAS controllers are planned for the near future.

The new Business Continuity Appliance from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Asempra Technologies offers a complete turnkey continuous availability and recovery solution for Microsoft Windows environments.

The Business Continuity Appliance provides a total storage and recovery solution on a 2U rack-mounted package server appliance. It features plug-and-play installation for Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL and file server workloads.

It provides automated, policy-driven protection for up to 1 TB of total production data to eliminate complex protection operations and provide 30-second recovery for Exchange, SQL and Windows File Servers, Asempra said. Because it provides a new recovery point every second, the appliance eliminates the need to allocate time to perform daily or weekly backup jobs.

The Business Continuity Appliance also includes Asempra's Virtual On-Demand Recovery virtualized recovery and data protection technology, which enables uninterrupted access to business applications and data and allows applications to restart from a storage failure in seconds without waiting for a full recovery.

The Asempra Business Continuity Appliance is available with a list price of $30,000.

Hewlett-Packard's new HP StorageWorks MSA2000fc G2 is the latest in the company's MSA series of small and midsize business arrays.

This 4-Gbps Fibre Chanel array can be configured with up to 27.9 TB of SAS or 60 TB of SATA storage, and supports the new HP 300-GB, 10,000-rpm SAS small-form-factor, 2.5-inch hard drive.

Its performance has been enhanced over that of previous units with a faster processor and higher capacity, as well as support for both the HP-UX and Open VMS operating systems and the high-end HP Integrity server line, in addition to its support of Windows and Linux operating systems.

The array's optional snapshot feature allows saving of up to 255 snapshots of the data.

The MSA2000fc G2 attaches to up to 64 Fibre Channel, iSCSI or SAS hosts.

List price for the array starts at $5,500.

LSI just updated its MegaRAID SAS 8704EM2 adapter with new to power consumption in RAID configurations.

The key change to the adapter's software is the addition of Dimmer Switch, a feature that provides green benefits to data centers by reducing the power consumption of devices attached to MegaRAID adapters.

With Dimmer Switch, any unconfigured drive connected to a MegaRAID adapter will be spun down after 30 minutes of inactivity.

The new software also offers full support for solid state disk (SSD) and VMware virtualization.

The MegaRAID SAS 8704EM2 adapter fits in servers as small as 1U to provide RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60 protection for both SATA and SAS hard drives. Each adapter direct-connects to up to four SAS or SATA drives, or up to 32 devices, using SAS expanders and includes Revertible Hot Spare, an LSI feature that automatically restores a hot spare and logical drive to their original configuration after a drive fails.

List price of the adapter with the new software is $399.