SafeData Makes Backup and Recovery Deal with Omni Solutions
October 5, 2009 Dan Burger
SafeData, a company that specializes in subscription-based backup and recovery services that include high availability, electronic vaulting, virtualized recovery, and telecom recovery services, has added Omni Solutions to its expanding business partner program. Omni is a communications consulting firm with clients throughout North America. Its business strategy is to be a single point of contact for companies’ communications, data, disaster recovery, and business continuity needs.
SafeData introduced managed disaster recovery services for IBM System i servers in 2005 and quickly added the same capabilities for Windows. It added AIX to the fold in June of this year, making use of IBM blade technology. Approximately 95 percent of SafeData’s customers are running their businesses on the AS/400 and some of those also need a disaster recovery plan for Exchange servers and certain Windows-based applications.
“Basically it’s the same software product with a plug-in agent for multiple operating environments,” says Peter Briggs, president of SafeData. “The key is the ability to recover for DR purposes. We have OS/400 covered from V5R1 to V6R1 (also known as i 6.1) as well as AIX, other Unix flavors, Windows, and Linux.”
In September 2008, the company began offering managed high availability services, which utilizes technology from Vision Solutions, the dominant vendor in the IBM i (System i, iSeries, and AS/400) high availability and disaster recovery market since its acquisition of competitors Lakeview Technology (2007) and iTera (2006). The services cover Vision’s MIMIX HA or iTera HA products.
The partnership deal with Omni Solutions, which has more than 300 independent consultants working within the United States, brings “a complete data backup and recovery solution” to its existing and prospective customers, Briggs says. “Partnering with Omni Solutions is a great opportunity for us to expand our footprint and help more companies protect their mission-critical data.”
The customer base for Omni is primarily data carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Quest, where it provides network consulting on topics such as application protection and disaster recovery. The electronic vaulting backup solution that Omni recommended in the past was a Windows-only product. SafeData’s ability to service the i marketplace as well as other environments and provide a recovery option combined to make this an attractive deal for Omni. “We have a pretty big VMware recovery infrastructure and a large iSeries infrastructure,” Briggs says. “Our recovery services were a big draw for Omni.”
The partnership is off to a good start, according to Briggs, who says there are about a dozen customers up and running. “We are the exclusive vaulting and disaster and recovery provider for Omni,” he adds.
“This partnership with SafeData broadens the range of services that we can offer our customers,” said Randy Marshall, president of Omni Solutions. “We are now able to offer a complete data backup solution that also provides recovery capabilities. Every business needs to have a reliable backup and recovery solution and SafeData provides a range of options to address the recovery time objectives of companies with different requirements.”
The Managed High Availability Services offered by SafeData is also piece of the partnership arrangement with Omni.
Managed HA Services relieves companies of the burden of maintaining an HA environment. That includes, for instance, monitoring replication, performing audits, testing role swaps, downloading updates, and other requirements that keep the HA environment in-synch and ready to be utilized. The company will also initiate and execute failovers in cooperation with its customers. All management and maintenance is done remotely.
“There’s a lot of instability and lack of confidence in the solution unless it’s maintained properly,” Briggs said in an interview with IT Jungle a year ago. “The reason you need to test it [and maintain it] is because it’s complex. It remains complex. We run it all day, every day, for all kinds of companies, and we see all kinds of things pop up.”
Although enterprise-level companies typically have the budgets to purchase and the manpower to run a high availability environment, small and midrange shops often are strapped for cash and short on people. SafeData has been successful so far by enabling organizations to pool their resources into a shared model and making better use of SafeData’s iSeries and Windows servers and other IT equipment located at two East Coast data centers.
SafeData’s backup and disaster recovery strategies prioritize fast recovery from a disaster or unplanned downtime. This is known as a recovery time objective (RTO). Depending on the recovery time objectives of the potential customer, SafeData can help a company recover as quickly as two hours. Recovery time is based on a 100 GB per hour average. Various factors have an effect on that average, but if you have a terabyte of information, it would take about 10 hours to recover. If recovery point objectives (RPOs) are high on the priority list, this would not be a good option. Protecting all transactions up to the final moments before the system goes down requires high availability or a continuous data protection product.
SafeData provides hosting services for more than 100 AS/400 shops using either the disaster recovery vaulting offering or the remotely managed HA services; the majority are on the DR side. Briggs says the average shop pays under $1,000 per month for the vault-based, off-site backup and recovery services. He also says more than half his customers have eliminated tape backups and rely solely on the online vaulting.
The company’s backup and recovery service is based on vaulting technology originally acquired through a partnership with Evault, a company that in 2007 was bought by Seagate Technology, one of the dominant suppliers in the disk and tape storage market.
Low cost bandwidth combined with big, fast, and inexpensive disk drives and tape cartridges that feed the electronic vaults makes the price point on this very attractive and has led companies to consider online service providers such as SafeData.
SafeData is headquartered in Warwick, Rhode Island. Omni Solutions is headquartered in Severna Park, Maryland, with operations in Georgia.