While traditional backup software vendors make their move into Software as a Service (SaaS), services company i365 is beefing up its data protection licensed software platform.
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The services company, which became a separate company inside Seagate last September, added continuous data protection (CDP) and bare-metal restore applications, as well as a disaster recovery service to its EVault family. The additions are aimed primarily at small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and remote offices, and the software products require EVault Backup Software or EVault SaaS backup.
- EVault Real Time Protection (ERTP) uses CDP to protect and restore mission critical Windows data -- at the file and folder level -- by tracking changes up to five minutes apart.
- EVault System Restore (ESR) provides bare-metal restore of failed servers to similar hardware, dissimilar hardware or a virtual machine; i365 is pushing ESR as a quick recovery plan for remote offices.
- EVault Remote Disaster Recovery (RDR) is a hosted service designed to allow SMBs to recover key servers and data, and remotely access them within two days of a disaster.
EVault has sold software along with hosted services from the start, and it's becoming common for vendors to offer services along with licensed backup products. Backup software vendors Symantec, EMC, IBM and CommVault are getting deeper into SaaS. Asigra and ROBObak also sell software for service providers as well as branded backup software.
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Forrester Research analyst Stephanie Balaouras said the new offerings meet recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) ranging from minutes to days, and bring i365 into greater competition with traditional backup vendors.
"What's interesting is they're offering services and software that lets them address a range of recovery point objectives," Balaouras said. "[i365 is] typically associated with online backup SaaS, but the new software announcements make them a competitor for premise-based data protection solutions, as well."
That takes i365 into competition with backup software vendors, as well as software-based replication vendors and backup appliance vendors. "And of course, all the traditional premise-based vendors want to offer SaaS, too," Balaouras said. "That's why Symantec developed the Symantec Protection Network."
The company also competes against storage system vendors. The law firm of Devine, Millimet & Branch already uses i365's InfoStage backup vault to protect about 6 TB on a Compellent SAN and another 1.5 TB or so on scattered servers in three offices in New Hampshire, said IT director Bob DuBois. Now he's beta testing ERTP for CDP and ESR for bare-metal recovery. For DuBois, it's a question of whether to use i365's new software or license Compellent's Data Instant Replay continuous snapshot.
DuBois said "[i365]'s CDP is pretty slick, it works." I'm trying to figure out whether the benefit is better with the CDP tool versus my SAN snapshot tool. I'm asking my SAN vendor, 'Can you tell me why I want to pay for the snapshot license?' It's all about licensing and licensing costs. We've been happy with Compellent, but we have to weigh the cost benefits," he said.
DuBois tested i365's bare-metal restore with the ERTP and intends to test it with InfoStage, as well. "The documentation wasn't great, but you expect that from a new product. Once you get it configured, it's pretty fast," he said. "We used it on about a 30 GB server that we blew up, and within an hour we were up and running. I still have to test it against dissimilar hardware, I haven't done that yet."
The law firm has been using InfoStage for four years, going back to before Seagate acquired EVault. DuBois said it's more cost effective for him to run it on premise rather than as a hosted server.
"We have so much data, I'd be paying too much to host it," he said. "If I had a total server failure, the time it would take them to bring me an appliance with so much data … I don't think there's much value there. It's easier to host inside. My rudimentary disaster recovery is, I back up my whole vault to tape in the event my SAN goes belly up, and I'm not concerned it would do that."
ERTP costs $1,495 per protected server, ESR is $995 per protected server and EDR pricing begins at $330 per month per server and also depends on data and VPN connections.