Quantum launches Q-Cloud DR, backup services with vmPro and DXi dedupe

Quantum packages vmPRO virtual backup, DXi dedupe target and offsite data centers into Q-Cloud DR and backup services.

Quantum Corp. today launched its Q-Cloud brand of backup and disaster recovery services, which combine the company's DXi disk backup target, vmPRO virtual machine backup appliance and off-site data centers.

Quantum positions Q-Cloud as a data protection option that fits between enterprise SAN array-based replication (that can recover data in minutes) and low-cost consumer and SMB services such as Mozy and Carbonite (that could require days to retrieve data). Quantum claims Q-Cloud can recover data in hours, and its monthly pricing could fall below low-end backup services, although that pricing depends on the deduplication ratio customers get from their DXi appliances.

Q-Cloud can use the virtual backup platform Quantum rolled out in March, which consists of the DXi V1000 virtual appliance with the vmPro product for virtual machine backup. Customers can also use a physical DXi box with vmPRO or any other backup software application.

Q-Cloud requires customers to buy at least one DXi physical or virtual appliance, however, to dedupe data before sending it off to a co-location data center. Multi-site customers need backup software and DXi at each site they want to connect to the cloud.

Henrik Rosendahl, Quantum's senior vice president of cloud solutions, said he expects smaller customers will use the DXi V1000, while larger companies will use a physical appliance on-premise.

Quantum's direct competitors include Symantec's Backup Exec.cloud, EVault, Venyu and Quorum for cloud backup/disaster recovery (DR) services in the SMB space. Nirvanix's Enterprise Cloud Storage competes with Quantum for large companies. Q-Cloud pricing ranges from 75 cents per gigabyte per month for the first 3 terabyte (TB), although pricing can drop to 15 cents per month for 72 TB or more. Rosendahl pointed out that a 15-1 dedupe ration would bring the effective monthly pricing to one penny per gigabyte for the largest customers. The minimum contract is for one year.

Rosendahl said the Q-Cloud can replace the need for off-site tape for long-term archiving and DR. That could cut into Quantum's tape business, but could help the vendor retain customers who are determined to move off tape and into the cloud.

"We're basically doing tape, disk and cloud backup, and presenting an option for our customers," Rosendahl said.

Russ Fellows, senior partner for the Evaluator Group analyst firm based in Boulder, Colo., said cloud DR services such as Q-Cloud could become the future of off-site data protection.

"Everybody's trying to figure out how to get into this market," Fellows said. "Part of Quantum's strategy is to replace tape, and the other part is for people who want to use disk-to-disk and don't have a secondary site to replicate to."

He added that Quantum has an advantage over online backup sites that require customers to use their software. "Services like Mozy and Carbonite have their own backup software, so you have to change over," he said. "Quantum lets you keep your backup software."

Rosendahl said the service will also compete with Xerox-owned Affiliated Computer Services, which licenses vmPRO and DXi V1000 from Quantum for its DR service. "But they're offering a full spectrum of services," he said of the Xerox company. "We are just backup and DR, not Infrastructure as a Service or any other kind of cloud."

Q-Cloud is available today in the U.S. and U.K. Rosendahl said Quantum will eventually expand the service into other geographic areas.

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