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Midrange online backup offerings help SMBs get on the cloud

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somewhere between Web-based storage you can buy with your pocket change (Amazon's S3) and pricier options from vendors who own their remote hosting facilities and offer things like support for virtual machines and 24/7 monitoring portals (IBM's Arsenal), there are online backup services making a play for your business.

"In the middle ground there are a whole bunch of firms that don't own their own data center," says Eran Farajun, COO at Asigra, which specializes in agentless backup and restore solutions. "They co-locate; they buy one or two blocks of space and host their vaults or storage repositories there." One such firm is AmeriVault Corp., an Asigra partner.

AmeriVault's online storage service is built and offered on top of three technologies: Seagate Technology's EVault, EMC's Mozy and Asigra. In that way, AmeriVault competes with EVault by offering it, too.

"EVault would probably say [to potential customers] 'Well, we make the stuff,'" says Scott Bush, AmeriVault's director of marketing. "We say 'Well, we don't have to pay developers.'"

AmeriVault built its pricing strategy on variable data needs such as recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), says Bush. "The idea is matching the priority of data [to price]," he says. "We don't want to put data that's

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archived on a CDP [continuous data protection] platform." Farajun says pricing based on the age of data is one of the biggest trends in storage-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

Another is the growing number of firms competing for customers who couldn't afford SaaS options before now.

John Horne, VP of IT at Associated Industries of Massachusetts in Boston, a membership trade organization that lobbies on behalf of businesses in the state, says AmeriVault provided him with an entry point for online backup services that a storage industry veteran like EMC couldn't.

Horne, whose organization likes to do business with local companies, checked out MA-based EMC, but "we couldn't touch that stuff," he says. With Associated Industries' 50 employees and 900 gigabytes of data, AmeriVault's services were also out of reach a while back. But when a new pricing plan became available, Horne reconsidered.

This was first published in September 2008

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