Hot Office picks simple, low-cost backup

U.K. serviced office supplier Hot Office picks BakBone Software for simple-to-use, cheap backup.

U.K. supplier of serviced office space, Hot Office, generates a significant chunk of its revenue billing customers for phone calls -- data that the company realized it was not protecting adequately.

With just 10 employees and no technical expertise, the firm was writing data to CDs every week.

"We were exposed to up to a week's worth of data disappearing and that phone revenue is very important to us," said Cherry Campbell, director of IT at Hot Office. The company has two Windows servers in its data center: one that logs all the phone calls it charges for and a second server that runs its internal systems and backs up the management team's laptops. About six gigabytes of data is backed up in total.

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Hot Office was already using U.K.-based Otium Software Ltd.'s Report Manager software to monitor disks and volumes, capacity utilization and I/O performance. Hot Office uses this product to set thresholds, and if they are breached, the firm is alerted automatically.

"They [Otium] put us onto BakBone [Software Inc.]," according to Campbell. Hot Office set up BakBone's NetVault software to enable its two servers to back up each other.

Since then, BakBone has completed integration with Otium's Report Manager, which will monitor and report on NetVault. "It doesn't give me reams of techie data to plough through -- it reports by exception, which is a good way for any product to work," Campbell noted.

Hot Office didn't look at products from other vendors because NetVault worked well in its environment, was simple to use and most of all, was affordable. "We didn't want to spend more than $1,000, and I didn't want to have to train the receptionists -- there's no swapping out tapes," Campbell said.

Furthermore, she said the company was able to cut its backup administration in half and increase customer support operations by using NetVault and Report Manager together.

BakBone works on integration

BakBone has been working on a new suite called the Integrated Data Protection range, and NetVault Report Manager, developed with Otium, is the first product in this suite. BakBone is also working on integrating NetVault with the replication software it picked up through the acquisition of Constant Data Inc.

The ability to manage multiple tasks, like backup and replication from a single console, is a big deal for storage administrators who are used to struggling with point products and systems that don't work together.

Other backup providers, including Symantec Corp. (Veritas), CommVault Systems Inc., IBM Tivoli, EMC Corp. Legato and NSI Software Inc., are working on integrating more functionality into their backup products.

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