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Promise delivers cloud storage backup with SMB multiprotocol system

Promise Technology emphasizes data protection with its new SMB multiprotocol NAS and iSCSI storage system, including a cloud backup option and bundled backup software.

Promise Technology entered the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) market this week with its SmartStor NSx700 iSCSI/network-attached storage (NAS) multiprotocol storage system with cloud storage backup capabilities and advanced data protection.

The NSx700 series supports Amazon’s S3 storage service, allowing customers to set up S3 accounts on the system and perform scheduled backups to the cloud. Other data protection features include bundled Acronis Backup & Recovery software and support for Symantec Corp.’s Backup Exec. It also includes NAS volume snapshot and remote replication capabilities. The NAS volume snapshot lets users store a complete snapshot of the data on a reserved partition, so when the space dedicated for snapshots is about to be used up, the device will automatically expand the reserved partition for the scheduled snapshot. Remote replication of NSx700s is possible with Rsync software.

Promise’s SmartNAVI management software also offers its own client backup tool -- called SmartNAVI -- that works with the Windows Backup Utility and Apple Time Machine to back up clients to the NAS device. “The Promise backup tool is not as sophisticated as Acronis, but users have the option to use either,” Promise product manager Billy Harrison said.

Promise is targeting SMB data protection

Following a similar recent move by Data Robotics (Drobo), Promise is moving squarely into the SMB market after previously selling primarily to small office/home office (SOHO), consumer and prosumer customers. Harrison said the NSx700 is positioned for companies with 50 to 200 employees. The NSx700 line comes in either the six-bay NS6700 or four-bay NS4700, both powered by the Intel Atom D525 dual-core 1.8 GHz processor. The systems use 2 TB SATA II hard drives and include dual Ethernet ports. Pricing begins at $1,099 for the six-bay system and $849 for the four-bay version.

The NSx700 RAID technology allows bad sector error handling, predictive data migration, media patrol, redundancy check, online RAID migration and capacity expansion. Bad sector error handling is part of Promise’s RAID engine and it makes note of the bad sectors on hard disk drives to ensure nothing is written to those particular sectors. “Data in sectors can be corrupt,” said Harrison, “We mark the bad sectors and never attempt to read or write to them.”

IDC analyst Liz Conner said the Amazon connection helps the Promise system stand out from competitors such as Buffalo Technology, Drobo, Iomega (an EMC Corp. company) and Netgear.

"Other companies have similar RAID offerings like this,” she said. “The only really new thing I haven’t heard about is the ability to back up to Amazon."

"Historically, the SMB market has dealt either with stripped down enterprise storage or souped up, personal storage offerings. In the past two or three years, vendors have been producing products like this for SMBs,” Conner added. 

“This is for companies that do not have a storage guru. It’s usually easy to use and easy to configure, but in the background it has sophisticated software. It’s basically for a small business that wants to back up inventory lists or databases. It’s not for the Fortune 500 companies but more powerful [than what a] consumer needs,” Conner said.

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