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Infrascale launches integrated backup appliance for cloud

Infrascale Cloud Backup Accelerator combines data protection software, WAN optimization and a gateway to replicate to public or private clouds.

Infrascale today launched the Cloud Backup Accelerator (CBA), an integrated backup appliance for SMBs designed to move data to a public cloud.

Infrascale CEO Ken Shaw describes the CBA as a combination backup, WAN accelerator and cloud gateway device. The appliance stores 4 TB of data locally, and can protect up to 15 TB in Infrascale's managed cloud or in Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure public clouds.

Shaw said the cloud connectivity sets the CBA apart from other integrated appliances.

"Some will focus on the appliance, but that's not the way we think about it," he said.

The CBA includes Infrascale's backup software along with policy management and cloud replication. The policy management lets customers decide which data stays local for fast recovery. The software's deduplication and WAN optimization features, such as packet shaping, help replicate data to and from the cloud faster, Shaw said.

The 1u appliance includes a 4 TB hard drive, 16 GB of RAM and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Infrascale claims it can back up data at 200 GB per hour.

Shaw said the CBA extends the amount of data that can be stored and provides greater management flexibility compared to on-premises appliances. He maintains it also makes it easier to backup and restore large data sets than software-only cloud backups.

Customers can set replication policies, and that combines with the CBA's WAN optimization features to shorten recovery times from the cloud. Policies cover scheduling backups, whether to keep full DR sets of data locally for fast recovery, how many DR sets to keep in the cloud and whether to enable automatic spillover of data to the cloud if the appliance capacity fills up.

George Crump, president of IT analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said the ability to set granular policies is valuable when using the cloud for backup and restores. For instance, he said customers can choose to keep databases on-premises while moving small files to the cloud.

"You have the ability to keep just the latest backup or just specific data sets on-premise," he said. "You can say these are the files I want always on-premise, the rest can go to the cloud.

"If I only have to restore a single file or even 10 files, copying that down from the cloud is no big deal. But if you need a 250-gig SQL database, that's a different problem. A single copy of a 250-gig database is going to take some time. If you can keep the latest copy of a 250-gig database on-site, that's powerful."

Infrascale will sell the CBA through resellers, who decide if they want to use the Infrascale cloud.

The CBA's list price is $2,550 for 4 TB on the device and 1 TB in the cloud for one year, and three-year hardware and software support and upgrades, plus $49.95 per TB per month for partners who use Infrascale's cloud. AWS and Azure customers must sign up for monthly subscriptions with those cloud providers.

Infrascale estimates three-year costs ranging from $3,643 to protect 1 TB to $39,643 for 15 TB of data protection.

Shaw said the CBA will compete with SMB integrated appliances from Barracuda and Unitrends as well as cloud backup software from vendors such as Asigra and Seagate's EVault.

Infrascale's cloud is hosted at data centers in London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Louisville, Johannesburg and Melbourne. The CBA encrypts data locally with customers' keys before replicating off-site.

"We've built a cloud that was designed specifically for data protection," Shaw said. He said Infrascale uses all disk in its data centers, and distributes data in a grid structure with its proprietary software.

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What do you find are the advantages and disadvantages of using an integrated backup appliance?
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Advantage: We have control over the hardware and backup storage systems with the proprietary equipment on site. Disadvantage: The initial cost outlay for the equipment and the training.
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