Overland Storage Inc.s REO Series R2000 is an interesting backup acceleration appliance that caters to small businesses and remote offices.
Leveraging iSCSI and Serial ATA drives, the REO Series R2000 is a good solution for sites that want to implement a disk-to-disk backup system in a cost-efficient manner. The REO Series R2000 sits between application and backup servers, where it can accept backup feeds from multiple application servers simultaneously.
Available now and priced at $24,995, the REO Series R2000 is a relative bargain, considering that its equipped with as much as 2 terabytes of storage. In contrast, FalconStor Software Inc.s IPStor VirtualTape Library appliance starts at $15,900 for the appliance alone, with no storage included.
REO Series R2000
Overland Storages $24,995 REO Series R2000 appliance is a solid, reasonably priced choice for small and midsize businesses disk-to-disk backup needs. The REO Series R2000 uses Serial ATA hard drives for storage and iSCSI for connectivity but lacks the flexibility that VTL systems offer.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
iSCSI and Serial ATA
By incorporating Serial ATA drives in the REO Series R2000, Overland Storage can provide IT managers with 2 terabytes of storage (using eight 250GB drives) in a small 2U (3.5-inch), rack-mount appliance.
For shops that need expanded storage, Overland Data also sells the REO Series RX2000 module, which brings 2 terabytes of additional capacity to the REO Series R2000 at a cost of $15,600 per module. At this price, it is fairly easy (from a cost point of view) to create a large disk-to-disk backup infrastructure that can quickly back up and restore application data.
By leveraging iSCSI, the REO Series R2000 can back up servers without requiring sites to install expensive Fibre Channel host bus adapters and switches. This will make it even more attractive to IT managers who dont want or cant afford to invest in the expensive world of Fibre Channel storage area networks.
In tests using Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server 2003, we easily connected our application servers to the REO Series R2000 after downloading and installing Microsofts iSCSI client. (The REO appliance works with Windows servers only.) The drives on the REO Series R2000 appeared as removable disks, once we were able to access them via iSCSI.
Although the REO Series R2000 is cost-efficient, eWEEK Labs tests showed it is not an elegant backup solution. Unlike the FalconStor VTL (virtual tape library) appliance or Alacritus Software Inc.s Securitus software solution, both of which present hard drive storage as virtual tapes in a manner that allows them to work well with the media management in backup software packages, the REO Series R2000 just looks like a plain disk at which backup jobs can be targeted.
To enable disk-to-disk backup on our Veritas Software Corp. Backup Exec test platform, we had to install a backup engine on our application server and configure our backup software to use the REO Series R2000 as a backup target. Although this was an inconvenience, it was not a major headache. During initial backup, data goes from the application servers to the REO Series R2000 over an iSCSI link. Because this is a disk-to-disk trip, the process is quick.
The REO Series R2000 can present data to as many as eight targets, so a single appliance can be used to simultaneously back up eight small and midsize servers. We recommend that IT managers take payload and backup window requirements into consideration when deploying this product because servers that handle large amounts of data and are performance-sensitive will eat up most of the appliances storage and bandwidth.
To move the backup data from the REO Series R2000 disks onto tapes (for long-term or off-site storage), the backup server mounts the backup disks in the REO Series R2000 and writes that data to tape.
The REO Series R2000s restore-from-tape process is more difficult than VTL solutions because the REO appliance doesnt create virtual tapes. To restore test data from tape, we first had to restore data from tape onto the REO Series R2000, then run a second restore job from the REO disks to our application server.
In contrast, VTL solutions create numbered virtual tapes. The media management capabilities that come with these applications track what data is on which tape. Using a VTL system, we simply located the virtual tape number that corresponded to our data and had that tapes data restored to our server—a one-step procedure.
Disk-to-disk backup at a glance
- Speedy backups are well-suited to IT shops with short backup windows
- Quick data retrieval and restores
- Hard drives are quite reliable (thanks to RAID), while tape failure is an occasional headache for many IT managers
- Hard drives are not a proven medium for long-term data archiving
- Hard drives are generally more expensive than tapes
- Hard drives are not designed to be a removable storage medium
Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at [email protected]