Overland enters disk-based backup market

By Heidi Biggar

Overland Storage recently took further steps to expand beyond its tape backup business with the announcement of its first disk-based backup appliances—the REO Series B2000 and R2000. The B2000 is focused on backup, the R2000 on recovery. Both products use Serial ATA disk drives and are IP-ready.

The REO series represents the latest step in Overland's effort to diversify its core tape business. Last summer, the company teamed up with Astrum Software and Prisa Networks (both of which were acquired by EMC) to co-develop storage resource management (SRM) and storage area network (SAN) planning and management software.

For its disk-based backup capability, Overland in June acquired Okapi Software, a vendor of iSCSI-based disk backup appliances. The B2000 was the first product to result from that acquisition.

"The acquisition of the REO appliance rounds out Overland's offerings," says Dianne McAdam, a senior analyst at the Data Mobility Group consulting firm. "They can now offer customers a disk-to-disk backup solution in addition to their other products."

Disk-to-disk (D2D) backup is emerging as an increasingly popular alternative to tape. Recognizing this trend, many traditional tape vendors, including ADIC, Quantum, Sony, and others have added disk-based backup to their product lineups.

Overland claims that its B2000, which is designed to accelerate the backup of Windows servers, is similar in concept to Quantum's DX30. However, unlike the DX30, the B2000 uses iSCSI, not Fibre Channel. Furthermore, the B2000 exports itself as disk, not tape, which reportedly speeds secondary backup to tape.

In October, Quantum is expected to begin shipments of a higher-end DX100 disk-based backup appliance, which has twice the capacity of the DX30 and a variety of new high-availability features (e.g., RAID, dual power supplies, and redundant Fibre Channel ports).

While Quantum sees the greatest market opportunity for disk-based backup in midrange to high-end markets, Overland is initially focusing on the low-end. "We're looking at Fibre Channel [as a connectivity option], but our strength is in the small to mid-sized market," says John Matze, chief technology officer at Overland.

Overland's REO B2000 appliance sits in front of a media server and works with standard backup applications. Instead of pointing to a tape drive, the Windows servers (running the backup software) point to the B2000, effectively removing tape from the primary backup path. Data backed up to the appliance can later be exported to tape as an archive copy using standard backup software.

The appliance comes with 2TB of Serial ATA disk capacity (eight 250GB drives) and scales to 8TB with additional modules. It has an aggregate bandwidth of 100MBps and can stream up to eight Window servers simultaneously. And because it uses Ethernet, it can be used for remote backup and recovery.

Overland's REO R2000 appliance, meanwhile, is designed to augment backup and recovery of less-critical Windows servers. The backup speeds of the R2000 can be upgraded later to those of the B2000 via a software load.

The B2000 is priced from $24,995 for a 2TB configuration. The R2000 is expected to be priced at about $20,000.

This article was originally published on September 01, 2003