Disk-Based Backup Makes an Impact

Low cost of ATA disks brings advanced backup features to small companies.

Thanks to the low cost of ATA disks, advanced backup features arent just for, or built by, large companies anymore.

Connecting to servers with TCP/IP links is a new disk-based offering from Okapi Software Inc. The startup on Jan. 13 will announce its D2D Backup Acceleration Appliance under its ipXcelerator family, said John Matze, president and CEO, and ship the product three weeks later.

"[W]ere targeting it at … small to medium-sized companies who would like to have disk-to-disk products that are available to larger enterprises," Matze said. Okapis product can be shared across multiple Windows servers, he added. Versions with more capacity, and a wide-area network version, are due next summer or fall, he said.

Pricing for the appliance starts at $19,995 for up to a 1.6-terabyte capacity linked to eight servers. It uses Maxtor Corp. serial ATA disks and works with BakBone Software Inc., Legato Systems Inc. and Veritas Software Corp. backup applications, Matze said.

Unitrends Software Corp. is also launching a disk-based backup product. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., companys Data Protection Unit will be available in 480GB and 720GB versions, using parallel ATA disks, with serial disks coming later this year, CEO Steve Schwartz said. Unlike the backup focus of Okapi and others, Unitrends DPU focuses on bare-metal restore, used to recover full-system crashes.

The RAID 5 DPU conducts incremental snapshots and is available in 1U and 2U sizes. Pricing starts at $13,500 for up to 50 clients, with a Web interface, Schwartz said.

The use of inexpensive parallel or serial ATA disks as a speedy cache to slower but more reliable tape systems is a growing trend. Large businesses have options like Network Appliance Corp.s NearStore, Storage Technology (StorageTek) Corp.s BladeStore and Quantum Corp.s DX30. And EMC Corp. is planning to introduce in early to mid-2003 a disk backup product using ATA versions of its Clariion series, sources said. That may be through a partnership with Unitrends, and through partnerships with chip vendors like Ario Data Networks Inc., they said.