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Volume 12, Number 11 -- April 24, 2012

STORServer Launches Entry-Level Backup Appliance

Published: April 24, 2012

by Alex Woodie

STORServer last week unveiled a new backup appliance for smaller organizations and offices that want to protect between 1 and 7 TB of data. The entry-level BA series can back up different types of servers, including IBM i, thanks to its use of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) software.

The new BA 851 is a 2U appliance that features a six-core X86 processor, 15 TB of SAS disk, and 32 GB of memory. On this frame sits Windows Server 2008 R2, a copy of TSM 6.x, and the STORServer software and GUI console (TSM's GUI leaves much to be desired).

STORServer leaves the daily backup processing to the TSM software, which also handles de-duplication of data and compliance with data retention requirements like HIPAA and SOX. Customers can back up data from servers over a LAN or remotely located across a WAN. They can also replicate their backups to other STORServer appliances located on the network, or push the data up into STORServer's cloud repository.

In short, this setup is a shrunken version of STORServer's enterprise-level backup appliance, and delivers the same data protection capabilities, with the exception of making data available to tape on the back end. The disk-only BA frame is not expandable, but users can link multiple devices to boost storage above 7 TB or connect to other STORServer devices.

The BA series will also be considerably less expensive than its Enterprise Backup Appliance (EBA). However, the Colorado Springs, Colorado, company did not disclose pricing for BA. The BA offering comes with a TSM license good for 50 cores of machines (i.e. you can back up data from 25 two-core servers, 12.5 four-core servers, etc.); customers can purchase additional 8-core increments from STORServer.

STORServer made three other announcements, including updates to EBA and Instant Restore (IR) appliances, and the availability of its STORServer Console (SSC) as a stand-alone product.

The refreshed EBA line features new hardware, new technology, and more storage capacity. The new high-end EBA3100 device features up to 1 petabyte (PB) of storage, supports up to 100 TB of daily changed data, and includes LAN-Free and Server-Free backup techniques, which STORServer says can speed the backup of large databases.

STORServer has lowered the price of its IR appliances, which are based on TSM FastBack technology. The 2U device can restore data and applications within minutes of an outage, while a full recovery runs in the background, the vendor says.

The availability of a stand-alone version of the SSC graphical console will appeal to customers running TSM on their own iron. STORServer executives have long maintained that TSM is a superior solution for backup and recovery (except, perhaps, in IBM i environments), but that its complexity and lack of a user-friendly interface has hurt its reputation.

For more information, see the vendor's website at www.storserver.com.


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