Backing Up Small Biz

Small businesses no longer have to settle for backup hardware that lacks performance.

Marc Spiwak, Contributor

June 15, 2006

4 Min Read

Tape backup systems using autoloaders and libraries are the way to go when backing up enormous enterprise networks. Smaller businesses often use simpler and less expensive hardwarebut that doesn't mean small businesses have to settle for backup hardware that lacks performance.

Iomega's new REV Loader 280 is based on its REV technology, which, instead of magnetic tape, uses removable cartridges containing hard-disk platters that offer an archival shelf-life of 30 years. Just as DVDs offer an advantage over VHS tapes because they don't have to be rewound, REV disks offer random access capability so there's no time wasted in locating specific files. In fact, there's never a need for rewinding or fast-forwarding, and there's also no cleaning or maintenance required.

REV disks are small, measuring approximately 3 inches x 3 inches x 0.4 inches, and each holds 35 Gbytes, with no compression. The disks outperform tape cartridges, such as DDS-4 and DAT-72, yet cost half as much; REV disks cost about $50 each and comes in packs of four. REV disks offer a virtually unlimited number of rewrites per disk, and data can be protected via password protection and encryption.

About the size and shape of a small toaster, the REV Loader is designed to fit right on a desktop or on a shelf in a server closet. The original REV drives held a single REV disk, which had to be changed manually. The new REV Loader 280 houses up to eight removable REV disks in a tiny tower form factor measuring about 7 inches x 5 inches x 11 inches. The device is fully functional when loaded with just a single REV disk, but eight disks provide a native capacity of 280 Gbytes and up to 560 Gbytes with 2:1 compression applied.

Disk-to-disk backup solutions offer great performance, but they typically don't back up on media that can be brought off-site for safekeeping. The REV Loader 280 offers the performance of hard-disk technology with the convenience and removable media functionality of tape drives. REV disks spin at 4,200 rpm and offer data transfer rates of up to 25 MBps and an average seek time of 12 ms. The REV Loader 280 has a USB 2.0 interface, so it's easy to connect to systemsbe it a server, workstation, or notebook. It also eliminates the hassles and expense of traditional SCSI-based backup systems.

The REV Loader 280 comes with everything needed for backing up data on a single server. The package includes one 35-Gbyte REV disk, a USB 2.0 data cable, an AC-to-DC power adapter and a CD containing the REV System Software and CA BrightStor ARCserve for data backup and recovery. The software provides automatic backup verifications to reduce disk swapping and keeps the disks organized and available for immediate access. Automatic restore operations eliminate the need for users to locate disks, as BrightStor ARCserve will automatically load the proper disk needed for restoration.

Note that while CA's BrightStor ARCserve Backup v11.5 shipped with the REV Loader 280 does provide a complete backup and recovery solution, it is nonetheless just a single server license with limited functionality. It doesn't support network backups or other BrightStor ARCserve options such as SQL, Exchange, Oracle and Open File. If other ARCserve functions are required, solution providers must use the retail version of ARCserve Backup.

PC requirements for the REV Loader 280 include a server or system with at least a 333MHz processor, 128 Mbytes of memory, 1Gbyte of hard drive space and a CD-ROM drive. The system also must have a free USB port, and for best performance, USB 2.0 is greatly preferred over USB 1.1. Compatible operating systems include Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard and Premium Editions and Windows 2000 Professional, Server and Advanced Server.

The REV Loader 280 is easy to install. First the REV software is installed, which loads the necessary drivers. Next the drive is connected and powered up, at which point it should automatically be recognized. The BrightStor ARCserve software is installed next. Unlike tape drives, the REV drive can be used like any other drive in a system: files can be dragged directly onto the drive. Important files can be backed up as often as necessary, but it's much wiser for the solution provider to set up regularly scheduled backups using the BrightStor ARCserve software.

Iomega's two-level channel program consists of Authorized resellers, who are required to have $10,000 in revenue per quarter; and Premier resellers, who are expected to meet a goal of $30,000 in revenue per quarter. Partners are entitled to dedicated sales support, escalated technical support, customized marketing materials, deal registration and NFR products. Margins are 34 percent for Authorized partners and 38 percent for Premier partners. The company also offers Web-based training, rebates, SPIFs and MDF funds when justified.

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