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12/14/2005
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Data-Recovery Technology Arrives For SMBs

Unitrends appliance provides disk-based backup capabilities and data restoration software

Business continuity has largely been the domain of big companies, but data-protection vendor Unitrends this week unveiled system-recovery technology at a price point that should help small and mid-size companies recover operational data as quickly as their larger counterparts should a system outage result from natural, man-made, or electronic disasters.

The components of Unitrends' Rapid Recovery System offering include an appliance that combines disk-based backup capabilities, data-restoration software, and, if needed, a data vault for off-site backup. For onsite setups, the appliance can cost as little as $5,000 for recovering up to 400 Gbytes of data. On the high end, a 100-Tbyte appliance costs $100,000. "This is for the guys who don't have this issue solved, and can't afford alternatives," says Unitrends CEO Sterling Wharton. The software is available as a free update for current Unitrend customers who have signed up for the company's data assurance program. Software pricing for other customers hasn't been set yet.

Unitrends is talking up its "continuous system protection" capabilities, with the appliance able to be configured to refresh backup data as often as every 15 seconds. Arun Taneja, consulting analyst with the Taneja Group, categorizes that 15-second lag as "near" continuous protection, but he says that's splitting hairs considering the needs of most SMBs. "Many companies will find that more than acceptable," he says.

Taneja says Unitrends' offering--especially its per-Mbyte price of one cent on the high end--is a welcome development for smaller companies who've been poorly served by bigger vendors. "Some of the past practices of the biggest players--taking products designed for enterprises and cutting out pieces to sell into the SMB space--has been part of the problem," he says. But Taneja adds that the larger vendors are starting to get it and are entering the SMB market by buying small companies like Unitrend.

Unitrends, he says, has a key advantage because of its single-minded focus on SMBs. "I like the fact that they've integrated a bunch of technologies that normally I have to buy in pieces," says Taneja.

Unitrends' products are available primarily through regional systems integrators. The company does not have its own direct sales force.

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