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Storage management should be as easy as making toast

Sep 11, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Introducing IntraDyn and STORServer

Storage appliances should have the benefit of being easy to use and easy to understand.  Moreover, my feeling has always been that the term “appliance” when applied to these devices should be more than just a metaphor.  These things should address a fundamental IT problem, be easy to install, be priced as cheaply as can be, and should require about as much supervision as the toaster on my kitchen counter. 

I have come across several back-up appliances over the summer.  Here are two, aimed at different market segments, which really seem to hit the mark.

IntraDyn ( makes a back-up/archiving appliance called RocketVault that does both local and off-site backup and archiving. It is aimed at mall and midsize businesses and, with a starting price of $1,495, seems to offer to smaller businesses the same opportunity for data protection as their larger competitors have. 

The present RocketVault appliance comes complete with 240G-byte of disk-to-disk local storage, the ability to run off-site archiving, a simple management interface, and a license that permits use by an unlimited number of server-client combinations. It has two options for off-site transmission; pre-encrypted file level with 256 bit AES and/or block level replication over an encrypted line.

STORServer ( bundles IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager in an appliance family that offers models designed to protect sites with from 100G-byte to 30 terabytes of data.  Data can reside on LANs, storage-area networks (SAN), network-attached storge (NAS) devices, and remotely on laptops or on servers at branch offices.  The STORServer Backup Appliances can also come bundled with additional software.  For example, among other things the STORServer devices can offer IT groups supporting medical sites a drop-in solution providing certified conformance to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Why do I like what these two companies do?  Because they follow my rules about what a real appliance should do.  Their products address the fundamental IT problem of backup and recovery (and also have applicability as part of a disaster recovery solution). Both companies’ products claim a 15-minute installation, they seem to be priced competitively in regard to the markets they intend to serve, and after installation they pretty much can be left to play by themselves.  Sounds like an appliance to me, even if burnt toast isn’t optional.

Both of the above companies sell through resellers.  To find a reseller, check out the vendors’ Web sites.