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NetGear offers cloud backup connection to SMBs

NetGear's ReadyNAS now comes preconfigured for backing up data to an Amazon S3 partner.

NetGear Inc. has announced that its ReadyNAS devices for SMBs will ship with cloud backup pre-integrated into the operating system, in an offering called ReadyNAS Vault.

NetGear's strategy is to give users at small companies or home offices cloud data backup pre-integrated into their local storage device so they don't have to configure client software (such as the Mozy client offered with EMC Corp./Iomega external hard drives) to access the cloud.

"This uses a Web user interface where you can turn on the feature, and then it backs up the device by default," said Drew Meyer, director of product marketing for NetGear network storage.

ReadyNAS sends data to ElephantDrive, an online storage service based on Amazon's S3 cloud. Starting prices for the services are $5.95 per month for the ReadyNAS for Home consumer offering and $15.95 for ReadyNAS for Business.

If users want to fine-tune what data is sent to the cloud, they can also make this designation at the share level. "We're working with ElephantDrive to add more granularity," Meyer said.

Multiple ReadyNAS devices can also be managed via web browser from a central interface if the devices are installed at the remote/branch offices (ROBOs) of a large company or among the customers of a value-added reseller (VAR).

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William Pitt, principal for IT consulting and integration firm Layer-Eight Inc., said ReadyNAS will be easier than the manual integration with's cloud he had been setting up for some users.

" is also very specific about using its protocol over SSH -- most NAS doesn't support RSync over SSH," he said. "NetGear's pre-integration means I can offer the same service at a lower cost with unified support, and also means I can overcome the compatibility issue."

While cloud-based backup for SMBs is a hot topic these days, market research firm IDC finds that fewer than 15% of small businesses with under 100 employees use an online storage provider service for backup, "although the technology is becoming increasingly popular," IDC analyst John Jaffe said.

Jaffe sees it as an advantage for ReadyNAS that it doesn't require customers to activate bundled software to get to the cloud.

"Generally speaking, I'd argue that among products or services designed for small businesses, the simpler and more self-contained it is, the better," he said.

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