Cobalt Iron offers public or private cloud, on-prem backup Vaults

Cobalt Iron's Vaults enable backup to public or private clouds, as well as on-premise backup or replication between a customer's data centers.

Cobalt Iron came out of stealth today with backup software and appliances designed for on-premise and public or private cloud data protection, using hardware and software technology from IBM as part of its products.

Cobalt Iron Vaults come in five configurations, including a software-only virtual appliance that protects from 1 terabyte (TB) to 3 TB of capacity before deduplication. The hardware appliances come in small (5 TB to 20 TB), medium (5 TB to 40 TB), large (10 TB to 60 TB) and enterprise (25 TB to 100 TB) models.

Cobalt Iron partners with IBM, both for hardware and software. The Cobalt Iron Vaults use IBM System x Servers, and the startup licenses parts of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) software.

Cobalt Iron CEO Richard Spurlock declined to say what features comes from TSM, but he said Cobalt Iron will reveal more about its OEM partners before the end of the year. "Our software is a mix of our IP and IP that we OEM from others. We're taking a best-of-class of features and functions."

He said Cobalt Iron appliances can dedupe on the client, in the appliance or in the cloud. The highest dedupe ratio comes from deduping on the client.

Cobalt Iron offers onsite, public or private cloud backup options. Public cloud options include running Cobalt Iron software or Vaults onsite, and using the vendor's hosted data center to store data. The private cloud scenario is to buy a Vault and install it in the Cobalt Iron data center. Or, customers can use a Cobalt Iron Vault onsite or replicate between Vaults in two data centers with no cloud backup.

The software and hardware Vaults protect physical and virtual servers, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Red Hat KVM hypervisors.

Spurlock said Cobalt Iron Vault’s target customers range from large small- and medium-sized businesses to small enterprises, bringing it into competition with Symantec NetBackup and Backup Exec, EMC NetWorker and Avamar, CommVault Simpana, Veeam Backup & Recovery, Asigra and others.

Although the company is officially launching today, it has customers through an early release program and has been selling through a small number of resellers. One of those is Starfire Technologies, which Spurlock founded and where he still serves as chairman.

Tri-Cue Inc., a service organization that provides banking systems for five credit unions in Colorado, acquired two Cobalt Iron Vaults from Starfire and uses them to replicate across data centers 100 miles apart. Tri-Cue CEO Kent Richard said he wanted to speed up backups and stop relying on tape for disaster recovery and compliance regulations that require keeping an off-site copy of his data.

"We were up against a wall because of our timeframe for backing up our banking systems," he said. "We complete our end-of-day business cycle, and then we have a couple of hours to get our stuff backed up before we start a new cycle for a new day."

Richard said he does not use Cobalt Iron's cloud because Tri-Cue has two data centers, but he is considering the cloud as his backup stores grow. "The cloud option is a big enticement for us."

Cobalt Iron Vault pricing begins at $750 per TB per month for an unlimited number of servers and desktops. Other options include five managed appliances for between $390 and $3,600 per month; a mid-market deployment of on-premise appliance and cloud storage for 15 servers and 50 desktops for $3,050 per month; and an enterprise deployment for $2.35 per protected system per month.

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