Online backup services get a thumbs up

Online backup services are being successfully implemented by small to midsized businesses (SMBs) and enterprise users.

Online backup services have never been so good, users say.

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Many users have implemented online backup services such as EMC Corp.'s Mozy or Iron Mountain's LiveVault as a replacement for troublesome tape-based backups. Most of the users SearchDataBackup talked to were small and midsized business (SMB) customers, who didn't want to bother with data backups or who didn't have the IT expertise to back up their environments themselves. Others were users who found that letting another organization manage and protect their data was easier.

Anticipation of downtime from disasters caused by Hurricane Ike are also sometimes the impetus for deploying online backup services. Users like Tom Comella, director of IT for Neighborhood Centers in Houston have had experience with Ike, which devastated Galveston, Texas and damaged parts of Houston.

IBM Information Protection Services

Comella started to use backup services from Arsenal Digital in February of 2007 not to protect his company from the likes of Ike, but to consolidate backup operations from 13 locations. Arsenal has since been acquired by IBM Corp.

"We still get the same service from IBM that we did from Arsenal -- the only difference is the name changed on the bills we get from them," says Comella, whose remote servers are backed up to a central device in Houston.

Comella also bought a couple of licenses to back up the laptops for his CEO and COO "because they store a lot of information on their hard drives and not on the network. We decided we needed to back up their information as well." He backs up his servers nightly; backups to laptops are made whenever the CEO or COO attach to the Internet.

AmeriVault-AV and AmeriVault-EV

Joe Gillis, MIS manager for the Beal Companies in Boston, has used AmeriVault Corp. (a PNHS company) online backup and archiving service for almost five years. Working for a real estate company that performs project management for third-party organizations, Gillis says, "There are a lot of advantages to having your backups and archiving at a different site and not having to take tape home or ship it to an archiving site to have off-premises protection for data."

Gillis also backs up his data locally for extra protection. He says that restoring data from the vault is so easy that there is really no advantage to having a local backup, except if access to the Internet is down. AmeriVault-AV and AmeriVault-EV services are priced by the amount of gigabytes backed up.

i365 and EVault Data Protection

Robert Stephenson, IT manager for the Lewiston State Bank in Utah has used i365 (a Seagate Company) EVault InfoStage for a year.

"We started by using tapes, but we were concerned with the safety of the tapes as they were taken off site," says Stephenson. "We have a lot of personal data -- customer's bank accounts, social security numbers -- that we need to encrypt. EVault encrypts data end-to-end."

Stephenson has an EVault InfoStage vault in his headquarters in Lewiston, which receives data from three branches in other locations. If Stephenson wishes, he can vault the data in Lewiston to a remote i365 EVault vault. He backs up data from about 18 to 20 servers and pays a monthly fee for the use of the EVault backup software and InfoStage vault.

There are a large number of other online backup providers, including Asigra Inc., Carbonite Inc. and EMC Mozy. Some of the vendors like Carbonite and Mozy charge either a monthly or annual rate for using their services. MozyPro is $3.95 + $0.50/GB per month for desktop licenses, and Server Licenses are $6.95 + $0.50/GB per month. MozyHome is $4.95 a month for each PC. Carbonite is $49.95 per year per desktop.

About this author: Deni Connor is principal analyst with Storage Strategies NOW in Austin, TX.

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