Startup aims appliances at small and midsized businesses

In an effort to penetrate the small to mid-sized business market, IntraDyn has tailored the two newest versions of its serial ATA disk-based RocketVault appliances for backup and recovery and regulatory compliance.

In an effort to penetrate the small and midsized business market, Edina, Minn.-based IntraDyn Inc. has tailored the two newest versions of its RocketVault appliances for backup and recovery and regulatory compliance.

IntraDyn's appliances feature serial ATA disks for disk-to-disk backup. They are designed with RAID 5 and proprietary software to perform backup, archiving and data protection. The two new products offer different local storage capacities -- the RocketVault 1U with 640 GB and the RocketVault 2U with 4 TB. Prices start at $4,995 and $10,995, respectively.

According to IntraDyn president Gary Doan, the RocketVault appliances are unique because they can handle data changes at the file level or the block level, providing two different options for backup. Users can use 256-bit encryption for data stored locally, or they can encrypt their data at the block level and send it over an encrypted IP line for off-site storage.

The encryption capabilities of the RocketVault appliances are one feature that International Data Corp. analyst Robert Amatruda calls "very slick." Along with the encryption and the product's core feature set, Amatruda says, the ease of use, simple graphical user interface and the ability to change settings on the fly make the RockVault products solid offerings. "The products have all the hallmarks of backup and recovery that small business users would need," he said.

Eric Gjerde, IT manager of Northland Securities, a 1-year-old brokerage firm, said that RocketVault provides a simple way for him to meet his backup and disaster recovery needs. While he's still using Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 to back up his data to a Quantum SuperLoader SDLT 320 tape library, he says that that solution is only in place to satisfy auditors, and he would prefer to forgo his tape solution completely. "Using the Veritas solution," Gjerde said, "is much more complex than it needs to be."

Performing daily backups of his 50 GB of data with the RocketVault appliance is easier, he said. He set up the product once and now it automatically performs backups, compression and encryption before sending an FTP copy to a remote server each night. Once it's finished, he receives an e-mail update with the status of the job.

Gjerde was forced to test the appliance's ability to perform data recovery when the air conditioner in his data center caught fire. He was able to recover the data he needed quickly and easily, and he was thankful he didn't have to go through his tape library.

Claiming that IntraDyn has "the technology all locked up," analyst Mike Karp cited RocketVault's ease of use and design as its strong points. Its potential weakness, said Karp, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., is that storage managers might run out of storage space on the box.

Similarly, IDC's Amatruda said that the products are solid offerings and that the company isn't likely to face challenges with the products or the technology -- but rather with branding. Although there are a limited number of appliances on the market, IntraDyn will compete with those products as well as some network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

"They've identified a good market segment and are aiming at a real pain point for small businesses, which is managing backups and protecting their data," Amatruda said. "But IntraDyn's real challenge will be the ability to build a brand with RocketVault and get the products into the mainstream."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kevin Komiega, News Editor

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