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Startups Look for SMB Feast

A gaggle of startups are following the lead of the major storage vendors by developing backup appliances targeting the small-and-medium-sized business (SMB) market (see The Battle for Smallsville).

Unitrends Corp. and Sepaton Inc.

will launch products next week. Two other startups, Intradyn Inc.
and StorServer, unveiled their offerings at the
Storage World Conference earlier this week.

The startups might have an edge over the established players because theyre developing products specifically for SMBs rather than doing what the big vendors are doing – scaling down existing products targeting bigger companies, according to Arun Taneja, an analyst with Taneja Group. “That’s the wrong approach; it doesn’t work," says Taneja. "If done correctly, these backup newcomers have a good opportunity. The medium-sized companies are not hung up on buying from Veritas or Legato

The startups are focusing on providing backup and archiving for SMBs. They’re developing appliances that are easy to install and use, scaleable, and include software and storage media in one box.

Here’s some details:

  • Unitrends has revamped its series of Data Protection Units to include new software and a wider range of capacity choices (see UniTrends Unleashes Mass Replication). It's increased the backup speed, and now the appliances range from 250-GByte desktop models to a rackmounted multiprocessor system with 9.6 TBytes of native storage. You can use the systems to back up on SATA disk, connect to a tape library, or add one of Unitrends’ high-capacity (from 1 TByte to 32 TByte) Data Protection Vaults for offsite vaulting. Pricing starts at about $4,500 for a DPU and $20,000 for a DPV.
  • Intradyn aims its ComplianceVault at SMB brokerage firms that need to store and retrieve email and other information for compliance purposes. The appliance includes Intradyn’s archiving software, a built-in Sony AIT-2 tape drive that uses removable WORM (write-once, read-many) cartridges, and ATA drives. Each tape cartridge holds up to 130 GBytes of compressed data. Pricing is $7,000 for 120-GByte disk capacity and $8,000 for 250 GBytes. Like Unitrends, Intradyn built the appliance specifically for smaller businesses. The hardware chassis and software is different than Intrdyn’s RocketVault disk-only backup appliance (see Startup Boots Bigger Backup Boxes).
  • StorServer’s D1 is the smallest member of its family of backup appliances (see StorServer Touts Backup, StorServer Opens Windows, and StorServer Backs Up). It includes from 150 to 650 GBytes of SATA disk space for use as a backup pool. The software allows customers to use policy settings to retain expired files from 20 days to 45 days before deletion. For disaster recovery, customers need to connect DVD or tape drives and store media offsite. The appliance uses Tivoli Storage Manager and StorServer Manager software. Pricing starts at around $3,100 for 150 GBytes without software.
  • Sepaton's S2100-DS virtual tape library is a bit of an exception in this group. With 1.5 TBytes and pricing of $21,000 on the low end, the tape emulation appliance is more appropriate for small enterprises, departments, and remote sites of large companies than for small businesses. It is also built on the same architecture as Sepaton’s enterprise drive with ATA drives and tape emulation technology. It does compete with Unitrends' vaulting products, though, and CEO Mike Worhach says Sepaton is bringing tape emulation to a lower end of the market. Since it first launched its enterprise system in December, Sepaton has claimed to be substantially faster than traditional disk backup (see Sepaton's Got Virtual Tape). “We’re positioning this thing for people considering host based disk-to-disk backup on the low end,” he says.
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