• United States

Small treasures for storage managers

Mar 30, 20064 mins
Data Center

* Helpful little things for your small storage needs

Sometimes big things help, and sometimes it’s the little ones that do the trick. Today I thought I’d share a few small treasures I have come across over the last few months. None solves world hunger or will get us to the stars, but each represents an easy way to address some minor IT annoyance.

First, fairness dictates that I tell you how I came come across this stuff. In some cases, vendors have sent me samples (a much better situation than my having to spend money on such things) – things I haven’t liked don’t appear here and wind up as donations. In other cases, a vendor has briefed me on a product or service and I liked what I heard. No one buys time in this column – if it appears here, it’s because I found it solves a small-but-annoying problem.

* Helpful little thing No. 1: The Spyke-IT, a cheap ($6.99) but elegant way to deal with those stacks of CD-Rs, DVDs, ZIP drive cartridges and other such paraphernalia that seem to cascade all over your desk. It’s a disk a bit larger than a DVD made of resin and plastic, with little nubs sticking up from the disk to keep the media in line. Just find a small spot of space atop the filing cabinet, plop it down there and it will keep your disks neatly in line.

Not your typical high tech solution here – it doesn’t even use electricity. The manufacturer sells this thing in places like MediaPlay, Musicland, Sam Goody and Target, stores that are somewhat off the beaten track for nerds like us, but if you have friends who are real people, I understand they have no difficulty finding such places. You can see one at Spyke-IT’s Web site.

* Helpful little thing No. 2: Tired of letting all that unencrypted corporate data out the door with nothing to protect it but the presumed ferocity of an engineer defending a much-loved laptop computer? Kingston Technology has a 4G-byte USB flash drive called the DataTraveler Elite Privacy Edition that provides – wait for it – privacy!

The drive is password-protected and comes with a number of security measures that include 128-bit encryption, role-based access rights, and the ability to lock out would-be attackers after a number of consecutive failed password attempts. Information is encrypted automatically on the fly. Check it out Kingston’s Web site or, I am willing to bet, at the office superstore near you.

* Small Treasure No. 3: The last of today’s offerings is a service, not a product, but it is something that will help small businesses and those of you who work remotely from a home office. It is … Carbonite! No, not the stuff they baked Han Solo in so he could be delivered to Jabba the Hut (although it’s a good bet that’s where then name comes from). This Carbonite is an online backup service that provides automated backup and recovery for all your data (the practical limitation seems to be about 6G bytes, however).

What’s the deal here, you say? How is this different from what others do? Would you believe the cost is $5 per month, for all you can backup? If you do your own backups, you likely spend more than that each year on DVDs or other media.

This won’t be what General Motors will use to back up its database of automotive recalls, but it is cheap, easy and seems to be just right for those of you interested in backup and recovery on the cheap. The service is just finishing up beta testing now. See Carbonite’s Web site.

As I come across more small-but-helpful things that solve some of those niggling little problems that we all face during the course of the day – I’ll try to put together another list of small treasures.