The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) was following a traditional tape backup plan before Taylor Higley, director of information services, began searching for other options. His team tested a dozen options, ranging from high to low end, and finally settled on the TwinStrata CloudArray from TwinStrata Inc.
When asked why he chose TwinStrata, Higley's answer was simple. “Really, it was the ability to leverage cheap Amazon S3 storage but still have the security and reliability of Veeam’s Backup & Replication system,” he said. “TwinStrata was the missing piece to make it all work.”
TwinStrata and Veeam Software recently announced they'll be supplying a free CloudArray appliance to all Veeam Backup & Replication customers for storing up to 1 TB of data in the cloud. CloudArray is an enterprise-class cloud storage gateway that integrates with Veeam Backup & Replication to give companies access to unlimited storage, tapeless backup and data recovery. The offer allows new customers to receive a free, downloadable virtual appliance for storing up to 1 TB of data in the cloud, which the companies equate with a $2,995 value, along with 30 days of free storage.
Higley and the AFGE have been using Veeam and CloudArray together for close to a year, so he won't be testing the new promotion.
Located in Washington D.C., the AFGE is the federal government’s largest labor union and represents 600,000 federal government users. According to Higley, the majority of the organization’s business data and files are being backed up into the cloud.
“Typically we're backing up three to four terabytes at a time, with a total of eight or nine terabytes out there on S3,” Higley said.
Andrew Reichman, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said the value of the new CloudArray 1 TB promotion isn't likely a big draw for large companies; however, he believes CloudArray as a gateway appliance is certainly a worthwhile tool for businesses looking to back up to the cloud.
“If you want to use Amazon as a [cloud backup] target, there’s a lot of legwork that goes into that -- to do the application programming interface yourself,” Reichman said. “Using TwinStrata means you don’t have to deal with coding to Amazon’s API because TwinStrata has already done that work.”
Still, Reichman isn't an advocate of signing up for new cloud storage systems on a whim.
“It’s a fairly new category of product, this cloud gateway, and [TwinStrata] is working to evangelize the concept and make it more viable,” he explained. “In my opinion, committing to a cloud provider has a lot of lock in and a lot of concerns around security and viability of the company. The amount of money that you save by getting a terabyte free is very little. The risk is much, much higher.”
Instead, Reichman believes it’s more important for people to decipher what the right service is for them. “The cloud is already cheap,” he said. “What’s hard is figuring out how to use it and use it safely.”
AFGE's Higley has found great success using TwinStrata CloudArray with Amazon S3 and Veeam’s backup system, and values the speed of the applications.
“A lot of providers will set up a backup that you will run and your backup speed is limited by how big your pipe is,” he said. “With TwinStrata, it dumps all your data into the TwinStrata machine so your backups run very fast. Then that machine relays everything up to the cloud, so you’re not slowing down your backup.”
When AFGE was relying on tape, they sent backups twice a week. Now, the organization sends backups on a daily basis.
Of course, Higley had reservations about switching over completely to the cloud. “One of our biggest things was: How are we going to encrypt our backups, and is there a name that we know and trust?” he asked.
And in other cloud storage news
Asigra Cloud Backup Appliance debuts at Intel Developer Forum 2011
Asigra Inc. is working with Intel to introduce a new backup appliance at the 2011 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco. The Asigra Cloud Backup Appliance is built on the Intel Hybrid Cloud platform and provides organizations with both local and cloud-based data recovery.
The appliance integrates the Intel Hybrid Cloud platform with Intel storage hardware and offers high-availability (HA) for onsite recovery and secure cloud-based data protection. Available through service providers and value-added resellers (VARs), the new offering features Asigra’s agentless architecture and military-grade security, featuring FIPS 140-2 certification to ensure data integrity in flight and at rest. Local and global data deduplication optimize WAN performance and capacity along with continuous data protection (CDP) for maximum data recoverability.
Zetta raises $9 million in new funding
Enterprise cloud storage provider Zetta Inc. has raised $9 million in its third round of funding, bringing its funding total to $31.5 million. Funds will be used for sales, marketing, and product development, and will help the company increase market share of its cloud backup services in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) market.
Nimbula unveils updated cloud OS to run geographically distributed clouds
Nimbula Inc. has introduced Nimbula Director 1.5, which helps enterprises and service providers build private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud infrastructure. The latest version supports a geographically distributed cloud. This lets users have a single login so they can access any resource worldwide and deploy their workloads to any site in a self-service manner.
Symform referral program rewards users with up to 200 GB of cloud storage
A new referral program from cloud storage provider Symform Inc. will reward users with up to 200 GB of free cloud storage. According to the company, other cloud storage providers charge up to $1,247 annually for the same amount of space.
Symform users automatically receive 100 GB of free cloud storage when signing up and configuring their account. Under the new program, users can increase their free storage to 200 GB by referring other users (10 GB free per successful referral) and getting fully configured within the first 24 hours (20 GB free).