Concentric's Cloud Now Includes Managed Backup

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 16, 2009

Whether your company generates just a few gigabytes of data or multiple terabytes, backing it up regularly is the most crucial step you can take to protecting your business.

Concentric, a company better known for providing hosted IT solutions, such as Microsoft Exchange, offers a new option: Concentric Managed Backup.

Concentric partnered its hosting-platform expertise with i365, a Seagate company. Formerly known as Evault, i365 provides the 24/7 backup and recovery technology behind the Concentric Managed Backup (CMB) hosted data protection service.

The company says that CMB is designed to address the challenges small companies face with unbridled data growth, disaster recovery, offsite data protection and regulatory compliance. Another challenge is to do this on a tight budget, which of course is a major benefit of using any Web-based service: you don’t have to buy or maintain any additional hardware infrastructure.

When it comes to data backup, Gary Ellis, a senior product manager at Concentric, said that small businesses have just as much at stake as big companies. “The problem is they don’t have the technology in place, and they can’t do it as well,” he said. “They’re not in a position to do the right thing.”

He added that the sheer volume of data that needs protection can be daunting. According to Enterprise Strategy Group, a research firm, the amount of data that a company generates can grow between 50 and 60 percent per year.

That kind of growth exerts mounting pressure on companies to manage and protect their data. “Small companies are looking to reduce their costs while still protecting the data across desktops, laptops, servers and Exchange,” said Ellis. “CMB protects both centralized and dispersed data. As long as the device can connect to the Internet, its data is protected.

CMB addresses the growing glut of data by removing duplicate files (a process called de-duplication) and then compressing and encrypting the data before transmitting it to the offsite data center. This reduces the size of overall storage footprint by about 20 percent on average, Ellis said.

The de-duplication process happens in two stages: first at the customers’ computer systems and then again at the data center. “A software agent looks for duplicate files so that only one gets backed up,” he said. “In addition, our optimized process can identify files that are identical but have different names, so that it stores only one copy. CMB makes the file available in both versions in the event the file ever needs to be restored.”

Concentric designed CMB as a scheduled backup, said Ellis. Meaning that the customer can schedule backups at a time that’s most convenient, i.e., you can schedule server backup at night when network demand is low. You can also perform ad hoc back ups in the event that you create a file you want to protect immediately.

In addition, Ellis said that customers can determine the CPU utilization, or how much computer processing power the backups use, and they can also set the amount of bandwidth the backup uses – all of which helps keep CMB from disrupting your employees’ productivity.

Concentric Managed Backup benefits include

  • Reduced risk to business continuity and revenue loss, disaster recovery capability, regulatory and statutory requirements for data retention
  • Lowered administrative, infrastructure and operational costs, reduced downtime costs, IT resources freed to pursue other priorities
  • Web-based administration, higher reliability and lower costs compared to tape backup, proprietary data compression technology
  • U.S.-based customer service and support
  • Platform support: Novell, NetWare, Linux, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM, AIX, IBM i and VMWare (Mac OS support due in 2010)
  • Application support: Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint, Cluster Services, Oracle, and other applications.
  • FIPS-approved AES encryption secures data end-to-end. Only customers have the password to unlock their own data

Pricing

Concentric sets its CMB pricing on the amount of data it manages for you. They measure this based on the number of compressed gigabytes. Remember, CMB compresses a customers’ data before transmitting it to the data center.

For example, you can buy 25 compressed gigabytes for $115 per month. Depending on the retention time (i.e., how long the data gets saved), and the number of copies you choose, that works out to somewhere between 40 – 60 natural gigabytes of data. You can find more on pricing here.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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