Startup Tilana Touts SaaS-Plus-Storage Approach

Offers online backup, archiving, and CDP, and works a with a company's storage, not separately

June 21, 2008

3 Min Read
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By Mary Jander June 20, 2008 4:10 PM

A San Diego startup says it can offer online backup services that aren't just "storage in the sky." Instead, Tilana Systems Corp. says it provides archiving and CDP as well as regular backup -- while incorporating an organization's own servers to do it.

While online backup continues to gain momentum, services from the likes of Amazon S3 and Nirvanix are strictly SaaS. A subscription typically buys a company hosted storage. On the other hand, enterprise CDP products exist on a separate plane.

Tilana thinks the two can and should come together. The three-year-old company has designed software that combines enterprise server-based data protection with a service model in what it claims is an industry first.

Tilana's basic product, called the Tilana Reserve, consists of software that lets customers protect and synchronize the backup on workstations and servers throughout an organization. If a worker has three computers, for instance -- a Windows-based laptop, a Macintosh workstation, and a Blackberry, say -- a Tilana Reserve account will allow him to keep the data backed up and archived on each in sync and up to date, via the company's hosted service. CDP and reporting capabilities are also part of the deal.Tilana also offers an Enterprise Suite that sets up the Tilana service elements on a company's network. The cost is $595 per server license with five user accounts. Each user account can support an unlimited number of PCs or PDAs, synchronizing backup across each machine and among the five accounts supported. More accounts can be added per server for more money, but Tilana isn't clear as to how many accounts each server setup can handle.

While Tilana Reserve is aimed at server storage, the company claims the software also works with any NAS or SAN storage, as long as that storage is represented as a volume of storage on a LAN.

Indeed, Tilana as a company seems intent on marketing its technology as much as its products. This week, the company published its so-called Cloud API documentation, which enables developers to experiment with the Tilana Reserve approach for free. (They'll have to pay royalties if they develop products, though.)

Tilana's APIs open the way for potential service providers looking to combine the startup's software with its services model in new kinds of storage SaaS offerings. A provider could, for instance, offer varying degrees of backup and archiving, with or without CDP.

It all points to a startup at a crossroads. Not yet profitable and with an undisclosed number of employees, customers, and prospective customers, Tilana is contemplating its next move.According to Derek Finley, VP of marketing, Tilana isn't turning down any potential acquisition advances. "We don't clam up when people bring it up," he says. On the other hand, the firm, which was originally funded by private local investors in California, has been entertaining funding proposals from larger institutional investors. It seems that if no acquirer materializes the firm will embark on a new phase of independent development.

At least one analyst thinks Tilana is onto something. "They let you manage your own hardware with remote services," says Tom Coughlin of Coughlin Associates. "Also, CDP tends to be a bit slower on the Internet. Tilana seems to deal with communications bandwidth effectively, so CDP is fast and continuous."

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  • Amazon Web Services LLC

  • Coughlin Associates

  • Nirvanix Inc.

  • Tilana Systems Corp.

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