i365 offers new backup capabilities for SMBs

Data backup vendor i365 Inc. is adding enterprise-class data backup and infrastructure disaster recovery capabilities to its products aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses.

I365, a division of storage drive vendor Seagate Co., announced Wednesday three new products that can be added to its EVault online backup and recovery software to give SMBs a wider range of options when planning for disaster recovery.

The add-ons bring key new features to EVault, including the ability to track data changes and create backup points as often as five minutes apart -- which wasn't possible previously with EVault -- and another module that gives smaller users the ability to have a remote, virtualized backup of their entire application, data and hardware infrastructure in the event of a total disaster at their main facility.

"It's a new approach" for i365, said Valerie Fawzi, senior director of product marketing at the Santa Clara. Calif.-based company. "Small to medium businesses can't afford the level of service from larger disaster recovery vendors, where they have expensive data center backups."

But by leveraging EVault installations and adding the new modules, "this allows backup of your data and your systems, and we can reconstruct your key servers and data into a virtual server" that can be accessed remotely over the Internet using any PC," Fawzi said. "For you to recover your operations, you can plug a PC into the Internet and get back to work."

Other vendors offer similar capabilities, she said, but this is a plug-in addition that can be used by any of i365's 22,000 customers to easily improve their capabilities.

The new products let users recover whatever they need, ranging from a single file to a server to a whole system, she said. "We're expanding our options for a faster and more complete recovery. Customers are realizing that not all data and not all systems are created equally during recovery," and i365 is providing a means for them to prioritize their recovery strategies to be able to get their most critical data up first.

The new offerings are:

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    • EVault Real Time Protection , an application add-on that provides real-time monitoring of changes in data so it can be backed up as often as every five minutes to help minimize potential data loss on Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and other high volume servers. It can restore entire volumes or single files.
    • EVault System Restore , an application that can quickly recover a failed system in the event of a catastrophic hardware failure in minutes. The recovery can be made on any hardware or in a virtual server.
    • EVault Remote Disaster Recovery , a hosted service that can help companies create offsite replicated systems quickly in a new location, in a secure, virtual environment, according to the company.

"It gives us a full spectrum of site recovery capacity that we didn't have before," said Karen Jaworski, product management director for i365's Data Protection Unit. "It's not just data anymore" that EVault is backing up. "Now, it's also system backup, too."

Bob DuBois, IT director at Manchester, N.H.-based law firm Devine, Millimet & Branch P.A., said he's been testing the new products from i365 for the past six weeks and is impressed by some of their capabilities.

The firm has 190 users in three separate locations, DuBois said, and the add-ons could provide a more affordable way to have a disaster recovery program for the business, beyond having daily data backups.

While a traditional, full-blown, co-located disaster recovery capability from a large vendor such as IBM or Sunguard isn't affordable for a small business, he said, the i365 add-ons could make it more possible to adopt.

"It's absolutely useful to me," DuBois said. The difficulty is that not everyone agrees on the risk levels for any given company.

"The risk factors in my organization, in which we would crash and burn and have to replace all our hardware, [company managers] think is minimal" based on their location, he said. That means he can't get funding for co-location possibilities, DuBois said. "I'm trying to find a mechanism to create that environment in the most cost-effective method that I can."

If a user already has EVault software, as the law firm does, then the new add-on tools can "definitely" help create such an environment, DuBois said.

Stephanie Balaouras, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said the new products expand i365's business beyond its traditional data backup base to give it a wider reach into systems backup for users.

"You normally think of EVault as online backup," Balaouras said. "They're expanding beyond being just software-as-a-service. This lets them address more customers."

The benefit for user companies, she said, is that the new services allow ranking of backup and recovery needs based on the importance of the data and systems that need to be accessed again after a disaster.

"As a user, you can target critical applications, like e-mail," and you can get additional recovery services to protect your business as needed, she said. "i365 is now giving you options onsite and offsite. They're becoming much more comprehensive. Now they're much more of a data protection player, period. It definitely brings them into competition with the larger data protection companies."

Pricing for the add-ons, which is in addition to EVault pricing of about US$9,000 for a typical deployment, starts at:

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    • $1,495 per server for EVault Real Time Protection software.
    • $995 per server for EVault System Restore software.
    • $330 per server per month for EVault Remote Disaster Recovery services.

This story, "i365 offers new backup capabilities for SMBs" was originally published by Computerworld.

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