Privately held Signiant will unveil its Mobilize for Remote Data Protection product at the Storage Decisions Conference this week in New York City. The product is expected to address the problem of tape data backup in remote offices by removing tape from the enterprise entirely.
Mobilize is designed to aggregate data at the remote offices of a large- and medium-size business for transport over wide area networks (WANs) to a data center at its headquarters. Signiant is partnering with Sepaton, which offers a virtual tape library system for data centers.
Businesses are increasingly concerned about protecting data in their field offices by consolidating it in the central office, said Rich Vining, Signiant's director of marketing. "Companies realize that up to 60 percent of their data is in remote offices and it's mostly on tape. There is a big risk companies see in terms of data loss," Vining said.
Most remote offices don't have the information technology staff to effectively manage tape backup systems. "They're mostly sales and marketing people so it's not part of their job," Vining said.
A 2005 survey of enterprise IT managers by the research firm Gartner showed that more than 50 percent of them said they were looking for a better way to protect data at their remote offices, said Dave Russell, a research vice president at Gartner.
"I'm getting more and more inquiries from clients about how to protect the remote office," said Russell.
Russell is witnessing a trend toward disk drive data backup as opposed to tape back up. "Disk reduces human intervention and the risk of human errors or of tapes going missing," he said.
But tape still is a much less expensive solution than disk storage.
Signiant faces competition for its new product from companies such as Symantec, which in April introduced its Net Backup Pure Disk for Remote Offices, and Avamar Technologies, whose remote office solution compresses the data at the field office to make it easier to transmit over its WAN to the data center.
Signiant is introducing Mobilize for companies with 5 to 30 remote offices at US$2,000 per office, or US$10,000 for a five-office company, and a larger system for businesses with more than 30 and up to 2,000 offices would cost US$2,500 per office, or US$75,000 for a 30-office company.