Hot Spots: On-demand technology sized right for SMBs


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Vendor landscape
Iron Mountain Digital has leveraged its brand and trustworthiness to expand into services, including offsite data protection, server and PC backup, and email archiving. Seagate Technology recently acquired EVault, which has specialized in ediscovery for the last decade. Recent entrant Symantec will deliver online backup services and a tape vaulting capability (the latter specifically for its Backup Exec customers who want to maintain onsite protection and automate the electronic transfer of tape copies offsite for disaster recovery purposes). Hewlett-Packard has an enterprise-class offering through a partnership with Asigra, which excels at helping its partners offer managed services through its service-oriented architecture (SOA). Another strong player in this space is Arsenal Digital Solutions, which has partnered with many of the major service providers and carrier partners such as AT&T. Companies such as Digi-Data and Nirvanix are providing fully managed storage offerings that can be used for backup or primary content. Finally, Berkeley Data Systems (MozyPro) and Carbonite are moving up from the consumer space and offering aggressive pricing--as little as $4.95 per month for up to 30GB of storage.

There are other issues that should be taken into consideration when evaluating an online backup vendor or product. Here's a checklist I would encourage SMBs to use when shopping:

  • Transferring

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  • and storing data efficiently.
    In addition to incremental backup, look for some form of capacity reduction, especially if pricing is based on capacity of data stored.

  • Speed. Look for a vendor that offers an alternative to WAN-based transfer to accelerate the initial full backup or full recovery.

  • Matching scalability. This is crucial; you want to partner with a provider or vendor that can match your firm's growth--capacity, nodes, sites, etc.

  • Disaster planning (DR). What's the vendor's DR strategy? How many data centers exist and how geographically dispersed are they?

  • Meeting industry regulations and compliance requirements. Is the vendor equipped to meet Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS 70) and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) audits? Would the vendor be able to comply with an electronic data discovery request?

  • Clarity in service commitments. It's critical to have a handle on SLAs and OLAs. You'll want to make sure service objectives are discussed and benchmarks set.

This was first published in October 2007

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