Drobo & Barracuda Team Up for Small Business Cloud Storage

Are files trapped on your network attached storage (NAS) device? Do you business suffer from data loss? According to Barracuda Networks and Drobo, small businesses and SOHO environments no longer have to worry about those issues.

The IT solutions provider and data storage systems maker have joined forces to give Drobo 5N owners a backup plan that’s powered by Barracuda’s new cloud-based storage service called Copy. Drobo’s 5N desktop network attached storage system will soon feature Copy integration for cloud-based file sharing and online backup.

According to Erik Pounds, vice president of product management for Drobo, expanding the 5N’s storage capabilities onto the cloud is part of his company’s efforts to make storage smarter. In the case of Drobo’s five-bay NAS, “we’ve given it enough horsepower where it can run certain applications,” he says.

Small Business Storage Meets Software Apps

Of late, companies like Drobo and LenovoEMC (formerly Iomega) have been outfitting their NAS offerings with enough processor power and memory to run applications directly on their storage systems. In LenovoEMC’s case, for instance, its px2-300d desktop NAS can power EMC Avamar data deduplication software, McAfee VirusScan Enterprise virus protection and SecureMind Surveillance Manager video management software.

For Drobo, the added processing capabilities provide 5N owners a seamless way to offer the cloud-enabled file sharing and backup capabilities of Barracuda’s online Copy service.

Setting up the Copy app is a straightforward process, says Pounds. “Click on an area of the dashboard, hit the install button, enter a user name and password and choose a share,” he instructed. From there, Drobo 5N and Copy take over.

The integration allows small businesses to act like bigger enterprises, at least on the file storage and sharing front. Both in-office and mobile workers can access (if permitted) files as they are created or changed. “As changes occur, that sync is fully automatic,” says Pounds.

Once the data hits the cloud, the proverbial ball is in Barracuda’s court. Guy Suter, general manager of Barracuda’s storage business isn’t worried. Copy was built from the ground up to address the cloud storage concerns of businesses, he says.

“We basically set off to design a product that would meet where the world was going in this space,” says Suter. Essentially, people are flocking to consumer-friendly services like Dropbox, largely leaving IT departments out of the loop and at risk.

And the last thing a business wants is their critical data floating around a cloud service over which they have no control.

Suter notes that while Copy offers the ease of use of consumer-grade online storage services, it backs it with secure, shared storage for companies. Administrators can set up and manage online accounts with the same ease.

For businesses, Barracuda’s “company friendly” Copy service offers access and permission controls that help them keep tabs on their files. This allows small businesses to fold Copy account holders directly into their file share and sync environment, set permissions and, if necessary, revoke access when and if the situation calls for it.

Suter says that Copy reflects the new IT landscape.

“It used to be that the company would decide, ‘We’ll use BlackBerry’,” says Suter. Today, workers are in the driver’s seat. “The evolution happened; employees decided to bring iPads to work,” and with them the apps and cloud services that they prefer. Copy allows businesses to have a say as to where their data resides and how it’s secured, and employees get the functionality and ease of use that they expect, he notes.

Barracuda’s Copy app for the 5N will be available next month. Drobo 5N is available now. Prices start at $599 with an optional 5 GB of Copy storage at no cost. Copy for Companies plans start at $399 per year for 100 GB of storage. Personal plans are free for up to 5 GB and start at $9.99 per month for up to 250 GB.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Internetnews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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