Teneros e-mail appliance targets SMBs

By Ann Silverthorn

—Teneros this week introduced a small-business version of its Application Continuity Appliance (ACA), which provides failover and e-mail continuity in the event of planned or unplanned downtime of Microsoft Exchange. The small-business version scales the number of users supported down from 250 to 75 and reduces the base price from $15,000 to just under $10,000.

Steve Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Teneros, owned an IT services company prior to launching Teneros. He says that about 80% of his small to medium-sized business (SMB) customers were using e-mail as their primary method of communication, and more than two-thirds of their critical data was in Exchange databases.

"Many of them were using Cisco Unity phones for voice communication, which uses Exchange for unified messaging. So if Exchange wasn't available they couldn't access data to perform their job functions, and their phones were crippled as well," says Lewis.

Introduced last year, Teneros' original ACA is designed for up to 250 users, with appliance capacity ranging from 50GB to 500GB. The appliance plugs into a rack in front of the Exchange environment. Teneros claims that the appliance installs in 20 minutes and does not require software agents or configuration changes to the Exchange server.

Once the ACA is installed, it copies all committed objects from the Exchange database to the appliance, which runs Exchange on Windows Server 2003. Once the data set is copied, ACA goes into standby mode, copying new transactions and monitoring the health of the Exchange server.

User-determined parameters control when failover should occur—e.g., long queue length, unacceptable latency, or planned maintenance activities such as defragmentation. When failover occurs, the ACA inserts itself into the network and chokes off traffic flow to the Exchange server, handling all e-mail transactions itself. After the Exchange server is repaired or maintenance is completed, ACA copies all of the transactions it was handling back to the Exchange server and resumes its standby mode.

In addition to introducing the scaled-down appliance for SMBs, Teneros plans to introduce next week a 500-user model with capacities of 100GB, 250GB, or 500GB. Both new models will be available next month.

In the third quarter, Teneros plans to add outboard storage in a 2U configuration with 12 spindles. Support for Blackberry, Microsoft Mobile solutions, and Veritas KVS e-mail archiving are also on the roadmap.

This article was originally published on May 25, 2006