Adaptec Storage Appliance Backs Up SMBs

Accommodating as many as 4 terabytes, it intends to pare the need for IT support, even automatically seeking out and configuring the client PCs.

Adaptec Inc. on Monday will launch a storage appliance that migrates personal backups into the SMB market.

The Adaptec File Saver ESA1500 is a RAID 5 storage array that can accommodate from 1 to 4 terabytes. Adaptec said the appliance is being adopted by the Electronic Access Department of the Orange County, Fla., facilities management division, which is using it to keep security information for all of its 6,000 employees.

The appliance takes the concept of personal backups and applies it to small and midsized businesses, said Natalia Warren, a product marketing manager for Adaptec of Milpitas, Calif. The appliance is designed to eliminate the need for IT support as much as possible, automating even the setup.

"Its a critical safety net, but very easy to deploy," Warren said.

Upon deploying the appliance, for example, Adaptec provides an e-mail template for the IT manager with instructions for users on how to download the software with configuration instructions. The software, which can be distributed on CD-ROM, automatically seeks out and configures the client PC for use with the appliance. Once the software is configured, the ESA1500 backs up the users data. After that, the appliance simply checks for changes to the users data and backs it up accordingly.

Each appliance ships with 25 client licenses, and that number can increase to as many as 100 users per appliance if more are purchased, Warren said. The software is designed for the Microsoft Windows operating system only.

Each $6,299 appliance contains four hot-swappable 250-Gbyte drives, which are configured in a RAID 5 configuration. A total of four appliances can be linked together via a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port for a total of four terabytes. A second Gigabit Ethernet port connects the appliance to the network.

In addition, the appliances can be connected together in a Redundant Array of Independent Nodes (RAIN) configuration, where the advantages of RAID can be applied to the collection of appliances. RAIN 1 and RAIN 5 configurations are supported. Since one appliance mirrors another, the array can sustain several simultaneous drive failures and still stay up and running, Warren said.

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