Unitrends Joins Remote Trend

Appliance vendor adds remote vaulting, joining others with an eye to SMB data recovery

October 4, 2005

3 Min Read
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Several announcements planned for this week highlight a spurt of growth in outsourced data storage services, such as online backup and disaster recovery for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Today, for instance, Unitrends Corp. has added remote vaulting, in the form of integral CD burners and software, to its business continuity appliances. The vendor is touting three integrators who are using it as the basis for services to SMBs. (See Unitrends Adds Capabilities .)

One of the integrators, Michigan ISP Trivalent Group, anticipates that new online backup services based on the Unitrends disk-to-disk appliances will eventually account for a quarter of its annual revenues, which include systems integration as well as Internet services. Michael Noordyke, CEO of Trivalent, says local customers are attracted by the prospect of having hardware and software, vaulting, and bandwidth all from one supplier.

Noordyke's team started planning the service over 18 months ago. They saw that local companies were conservative enough to want data protection, but couldn't always afford to put it together in house. For many firms, paying about $1,000 a month to have someone take it off their hands is still cheaper than going it alone.

Trivalent starts at about $600. "We go in, size the amount of servers and data they want to protect, and then the DPU [Unitrends' Data Protection Unit] goes in," Noordyke says. "For x amount of data, we charge x amount per month."Noordyke compares the Unitrends appliance with products from CommVault Systems Inc., EMC Legato, and NovaStor Corp. His team picked Unitrends because it does block-level backup of multiple sites and can do bare-metal restoral of systems without taking servers down to do it. And the price was right -- a key feature, since it enabled Trivalent to charge less than larger online backup firms.

Any competitive advantage is welcome. A range of service providers in the online backup business report sizeable growth increases in the last couple of years, including AmeriVault Corp., Arsenal Digital Solutions Worldwide Inc., EVault Inc., and LiveVault Corp.

At least one of these, EVault, plans to announce new services that build on its disaster recovery offerings this week.

Larger players also are getting involved. Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) is said to be scoping out the possibility of getting into online backup-and-recovery services. And Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) announced its line of offerings last month. (See Dell May Roll Out Services.)

Suppliers to service providers also see an uptick in demand. And the trend toward vaulting of data isn't restricted to disk-based products only. Exabyte Corp. (Nasdaq: EXBT) CEO Tom Ward says the company experienced 86 percent growth in 2004 in its automated packet-based tape drives. The company plans to unveil its third-generation product this week.Again, Ward beckons SMBs looking for cheap data insurance: "The SMB space has a growing need for tape automation," he says. "Lots of SMBs have no money for disk-to-disk in elaborate scenarios."

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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