Backups are being asked to wear multiple hats these days -- not just for archival storage, or as part of business continuity/disaster recovery solutions; for example, to help in quick response to e-discovery requests and to assure data integrity in regulatory compliance checks. Provisioning these kinds of backup can more expensive and time-consuming than many small-to-medium businesses want or can afford to invest in... but, increasingly, may need to.
To give small-to-midsize companies as well as small-to-medium enterprises access to SMB-priced enterprise-class data backup, archiving and retrieval capabilities, Geminare recently announced the addition of several features to version 2.0 of its Cloud Storage Assurance (CSA) cloud storage and archiving service.
Version 1.0 of CSA was available only with Geminare's Cloud Recovery server replication service for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) fail-over and fail-back. (The MSRP for Cloud Recovery ranges from $399 to $499/server/month.) Version 1.0 also had only one cloud storage provider, Amazon S3, and did not support email archiving.
Version 2.0 of CSA provides extends its uses and options, including:
--Backup and archiving to a customer's choice of public cloud vendors such as Amazon S3, Atmos Partners, and Iron Mountain; private; or internal clouds
--Supporting archiving of email servers
--Can be provisioned either as a stand-alone backup and archiving service for data, as an alternative to traditional premises and off-site backup and archiving; or with Geminare's Cloud Recovery service, for the servers being protected
Version 2.0 also adds features that allow CSA to be used also for everyday tasks like retrieval for e-discovery, compliance and regulatory concerns, and migration as well as backup archiving and retrieval:
--Specialized search: CSA 2.0 indexes files and email as they are backed up. "Indexing offers Google-like ability to find a file or email almost instantly, with all the versioning and history," according to Geminare. "Indexing also lets us do tag clouds and predictive searching, reducing the time users need to spend searching." (Predictive searching is what you're seeing when you enter text to Google, Bing, or Windows 7 and see lists of potential matches.)
--Data Integrity and Authentication, assuring the integrity of data stored in the cloud by generating a unique key ID for each file, email record and access session, allowing users to authenticate data, and identify historical files that have been altered. Geminare claims that CSA is the first cloud storage service that offers verifiable, auditable confirmation of the stored data, such as regarding data creation and modification. "You can't knock on Amazon's door and see the last three months of storage activity," notes Joshua Geist, CEO, Geminare. "This also permits companies to do backups and cloud migrations in a compliant manner, preserving this information."
--Integration, Expandability. CSA 2.0 includes a REST (Representational State Transfer) based open API kit, allowing developers, partners and customers to write integrate custom queries into eDiscovery, compliance auditing, and other applications; for example, from document management applications.
Deni Connor, Principal Analyst, Storage Strategies NOW, comments, "Geminare's emphasis on the channel, going through MSPs and VARs, makes these cloud services available, affordable and easy for SMBs, who usually don't have the time and expertise to do backup or server replication. Previously, only SMEs and large enterprises could do this."
Cloud Storage Assurance 2.0 is scheduled to be available through Geminare channel partners in Q3 of 2010. Geminare partners include Qwest Communications, Hosting.com, Bell Canada, and CA Technologies Inc. MSRP for CSA 2.0 is currently $2/GB/month, but prices through channel partners may be significantly less, depending on factors such as which cloud storage vendor is selected, and whether the company is also utilizing Geminare Cloud Recovery.