Storage provider makes bold move into service provision market with new initiativeDavnet-owned storage conglomerate the e-DataGroup has signalled its intent to move into the service provider market by unveiling its e-Vault initiative.e-DataGroup is eyeing the future storage service provider (SSP) market, but before it does, it must change the current mindset most organisations have about not leaving the management of mission-critical data in the hands of a third party.
To do this e-Data has developed a storage option designed predominantly for remote users to back up their notebooks - everything from applications, files, operating systems, right through to personal settings - via a dialup connection - back to a central tape library.
The e-Vault consists of a scalable tape library, a server that acts as a caching and processing unit, and runs on storage management software by US company Previo. Instead of mobile employees saving files to Zip discs or CDs, the e-Vault enables them to back up their entire notebook over an Ethernet or dial-up connection.
"The current climate [for IT managers] is 'if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times - if you don't save it to the server I can't back it up'," claims Bernie Humphries, e-Data-Group's marketing and product development groups manager. Humphries believes a large proportion of employees do not take the time to back up data residing on their PC's or notebook's hard drive.
"It used to be that if it wasn't on the mainframe then it didn't really matter, and then Unix came along and it was the same. Now the feeling is that if it's not on [the NT network] then it doesn't matter, but it does matter, because there is a lot of mission-critical data sitting on these laptops," he added.
The e-Vault offers "user-driven" backup, claims Humphries, without assistance from IT managers. It is broken down into two applications; the In Customer Vault (e-Vault ICV) for the user connected to the LAN or company WAN via an Ethernet connection, and the Dot Net (e-Vault NET) for the remote or mobile user backing up a notebook over the Internet.
While most companies will opt for the former and house the e-Vault on their premises, claims Humphries, the intention is to leverage Davnet's cable network and eventually host a number of companies' e-Vaults in a central SSP environment.
"This is a bit further down the track," Humphries said. "But we think companies will start becoming more comfortable with the concept of a third-party managing their data."
The e-Vault NET, for mobile workers, uses DES 56-bit encryption to transfer files over the Internet. The files are broken down into smaller blocks and transferred in random order, with no file name information transmitted.
The big advantage for customers, claims Humphries, is that companies can establish sound backing up policies that don't require IT managers to work around the clock, while a full system recovery can be done by the user from a few CDs.
The pricing of each unit depends on the configuration, which is done in e-DataGroup's warehouse, with the sales and installation handled through e-Data's integration company Dawn Technologies. However, Humphries did suggest that, for a 500-user company, the product will cost about $273,000 (at 50 cents a day per user) over three years. e-Data will also provide leasing and rental options.