Western Digital headlines trifecta of backup releases

If your small business has been ignoring the need for data protection and archiving, here are three new cloud-based and on-premises options to consider.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

If someone told me that May was the month of SMB storage, I wouldn't argue, since I've been literally barraged with informational press releases about both updates to existing product lines and the emergence of brand-new ones. 

Their efforts are timely, with sales of NAS for small and midsize businesses (SMB) projected to grow from about $1.7 billion this year to $2.3 billion by 2017, according to research firm AMI Partners. And that's just the storage hardware portion of the overall SMB data protection technology category. For the purposes of this blog update, I'll mention three of the backup-specific launches.

One of the more notable releases is Western Digital's introduction this week of the WD Sentinel RX4100, billed as the company's first 1U rack-mount storage server targeted at small businesses. 

The technology builds on the company's success with the WD Sentinel DX4000, which comes in a desktop-style form factor. Both of the products offer small businesses a way to centralize all their documents, both on-premises and at an off-site disaster recovery location (using the KeepVault service). They both are powered by the Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials software, run off the Intel Atom dual-core CPU, and are also compatible with the Macintosh OS (the server can be a Time Machine backup target) and Linux.

Highlights of the new rack-mount edition -- available in 16 terabyte (TB), 12 TB and 8 TB configurations -- include support for up to 25 client computer licenses, block level deduplication, and RAID 5 support.

Tom Gallivan, vice president of marketing for Western Digital's SMB solutions group, said the storage server is intended for small companies that need to back up systems that might be spread out over several locations.

The suggested retail pricing is $1,899 for the 8 TB edition; $1,999 for the 12 TB version; and $2,349 for the 16 TB configuration. A two-year extended warranty costs $499, Gallivan said. 

"We're very focused on delivering superior data protection at an affordable price," he said.

The Sentinel RX4100 is shipping right away.

Thinking Like a Consumer?

If your company's needs are far simpler, Connected Data, which makes a storage device called the Transporter that is expandable up to 2 TB of storage.

The product helps companies set up their own private storage cloud, where employees can share, archive and synchronize files across multiple devices.

Version 2.0 of the product (which starts at about $199) supports new Apple iOS and Android mobile applications, comes with a simpler management interface, and can be configured for "limited" synching for devices that don't need access to every document or file that your company is storing.

The company got its start through a successful Kickstarter company. Technically speaking, this is more of a storage device than a backup option, considering the software that you get with it. But this is definitely a technology to watch -- Connected Data this week entered into a merger agreement with Drobo, which is another storage technology company specifically focused on serving small businesses.

Cloud Service Adds Security Scan to Backup Process

There are many cloud backup services targeted explicitly at small businesses, but so far Malewarebytes is the only one that I've read about that scans files for malware before sending them for backup. 

The service, formally called Malwarebytes Secure Backup, examines all documents, videos, photos or videos on your system before uploaded them to the data center. You can pick which things you want scanned (or not), which will probably affect the amount of time that the backup process will take. That, to me, seems like one of the primary potential drawbacks of this service.

The data is transmitted into the Malwarebytes cloud using military-grade encryption; the management console includes the ability to schedule backups automatically.

Right now, the service supports Apple iOS, Android and Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. It is priced starting at $29.95 per year for a 50 gigabyte backup package.

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