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Choosing an offsite backup vendor

How do you choose an offsite backup vendor? We are a medium-sized company looking for a technical/strategic partner. There are thousands of them out there. It's difficult to decide, and even more confusing when you look at the services they are providing. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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There are actually only a few main companies that provide such services. The thousands that you may be referring to are usually resellers or service providers using one of those few. I have no information on vendors that may be providing offsite backup services that aren't using one of the main five products.

The main vendors are divided into product-only companies and service provider companies. The product-only vendors (Asigra and Avamar) will sell you their stand-alone product to do your own offsite backup, or you can go with one of their service providers to buy their product as a service. Evault, Connected and LiveVault can sell you their service (where they host the vault) or their stand-alone product (where you host the vault). This provides you a nice upgrade path. You can start with the service, but upgrade to the stand-alone product when the per-gigabyte pricing of the service gets a too high.

As to which one to choose, I would listen to the product-specific differences between those five products. Almost every one of them is aiming at a different segment of the market; therefore, only one or two are probably suited to your requirements. Decide which of these two vendors' products best meets your needs, and then decide which reseller/service provider you're going to use. You can always switch service providers if you don't like their service.

This was first published in January 2006

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