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March 31, 2008

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Darren McBride

As someone who works for High-Rely I'll try to shed some light. Maybe you missed that each removable RAIDPac has a RAID 5 controller integrated into it? So one (of many) reasons for it's existence would be a nervous customer who likes the idea that his 2TB removable media is redundant(can survive a single drive failure). This product is targeted to small business networks and priced as such ($2300). Does EMC have *anything* for backup in this price range??? Believe it or not, there is a psychological barrier to splitting backup data onto multiple media. Many people prefer not to do it for fear one of the media gets lost or damaged...rendering the whole thing unrestorable. As for eSATA connectivity, it is WAY cheaper than fiberchannel and yet faster than Gig ethernet. Putting Fiberchannel on a product like this would make it cost prohibitive and is totally unnecessary since the drives can't keep up with 3Gbps eSATA as it is. This product exists to provide a huge removable media and high speed backup with RAID0 OR with RAID5 for reliabiity. If you could share specifically reasons for your incredulity/amusement about why we would bother to create such a product, I'd be happy to address them.

Scott

Darren: I really appreciate the comments, and thanks for taking the time to get your story out. I am glad that you stopped by and clarified the positioning.

My only observation is that from an EMC perspective, we absolutely have products that would address this market segment: Avamar and Mozy. I will grant that they take a fundamentally different approach to the issue though: allowing the end user to replicate their backup data electronically (and cheaply) to another site. I would distinguish the two at this level primarily by the fact that Avamar is a software and infrastructure that you own, Mozy is software as a service.

So a very different approach than using physical anything (disk or tape). I think both will have their place in the short/medium term. Long term, my hunch is that this is like HD-DVD vs. blu-ray. Blu-ray may have won the battle (and I liken *any* build it/own it yourself infrastructure to blu-ray in this market segment) but they will lose the war to internet based distribution (remote backup services in this example). But it is just a hunch--my crystal ball is no clearer than anybody else's that far into the future!

Darren McBride

Internet backup products like Mozy do indeed hit the "S" (small business) market and are awesome. (I dislike the term "SMB" because I don't think small & medium should be lumped together - a key mistake I think large vendors make). Mozy is awesome for many shops. However Internet backup products aren't good for everyone:
1) small customers with large data sets (say bigger than 200GB). graphics and video shops are one example.
2)Those whose data changes a lot during the day such as SQL and Microsoft Exchange datastores, making the incremental backup with "small changes each day" argument invalid.
3) Those who need to restore quickly from bare metal if the server fails ( mission critical servers in small businesses who need same day recoverability)
4) Those with Exchange, SQL, active directory, Sharepoint or other "always on" databases. These generate havoc for lots of Internet backup software, especially when "granular restore" is needed (i.e you want to restore 1 email from a 16GB MS exchange priv.edb file.
5) customers with small internet pipes. DSL is still very common and has very limited upload speed. Plus overhead "cost" for most internet connections is at least 50% so a 1.544 Mbps connection can only move about 772Kbps of real data over time.
5) Customers who don't understand encryption and don't trust their data to leave the building. (Don't laugh -there are lots of these)
6) Cheap customers who dislike monthly infrastructure costs.

Highly Reliable Systems on-site hardware addresses most of these issues and provides a viable alternative to these admittedly "niche" markets.

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