Overland in Overdrive

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Content Copyright © 2005 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

In the world of technology, few solutions offered to important business issues remain static for very long. Even fewer are the number of successful solution vendors that can afford the luxury of standing still. However, whilst it may be relatively straight forward to create (and occasionally even sell) new IT solutions, it can be much more of a challenge to modify established work procedures and skills, never mind instilling new skills or altering any ingrained habits or comfort zones. Overland Storage has successfully managed to build new technological solutions to address some of the problems of data backup and recovery whilst neatly avoiding many of the requirements to modify established policy, process or people issues.

Overland has undergone significant changes in the last couple of years. Until recently the organisation was best known for its comprehensive range of tape drive solutions. Indeed, it would be quite easy to argue that the company has never been as widely recognised as it deserves due to the fact that a majority of its sales occur in solutions delivered by its extensive OEM (Original End Manufacturer) channel.

Overland’s NEO SERIES tape solutions range from entry level Tape Automation systems, such as LoaderExpress, utilising 10 or 11 tape cartridges (depending on whether SDLT or LTO tapes are employed), to its top of the range NEO 8000 tape library. The NEO 8000 can handle between 85 to 2000 cartridges operating between 2 to 48 tape drives. The range of tape protection offerings allows customers in Overland’s target markets to build solution capacities scaling from an entry level 4.8 Terabytes up to around 1.6 Petabytes.

Today, Overland still has a very large OEM community selling data protection solutions, but the range of its offerings now includes sophisticated disk-based systems in addition to its traditional tape offerings. The company’s disk-based backup and recovery solutions are offered as the REO SERIES.

The market for disk-based data protection systems is growing rapidly as organisations struggle to address business and technology issues, including shortage of available backup windows and the need to restore information within very short timescales. Disk-based protection is also proving to be very valuable with its ability to minimise the need for human intervention that is necessary in most tape handling scenarios. There are few, if any, organisations that do not experience procedural issues around tape handling—a matter of concern especially when untrained non-IT staff are regularly employed in tape handling operations; a scenario common, for example, in remote offices.

Whilst many disk-based data protection solutions have become available in recent times, Overland has invested significant time and effort to address the challenge encountered by many organisations that seek to utilise disk-based backup and recovery solutions, namely, the need for staff to learn new tools and for new data protection processes to be developed. The software available for the REO systems allows administrators to use the same commands/interface that are familiar from the NEO tape systems. Of greater importance, the same backup/restore policies utilised on the existing tape systems can also be deployed on the disk-based solutions, thereby allowing very quick adoption of the technology whilst allowing considerable room for said policies to be improved to meet new business service requirements.

REO SERIES disk-based backup and recovery solutions are available with usable data protection capacities ranging from 480 Gigabytes up to 8 Terabytes. Management software supplies a range of advanced capabilities such as Virtual Tape and Dynamic Virtual Tape capabilities. It is readily apparent that the REO SERIES is suitable for the use of very many organisations ranging from small ventures to small and mid-scale enterprises.

It is interesting to note that Overland is now much more forward in reaching out to users with its extensive partner community. For example, Overland is currently marketing total protection bundles based on the REO SERIES disk-based systems and the Symantec (formerly VERITAS) Backup Exec data protection software.

It is clear that Overland Storage and its partners will continue to deliver foundation products and software for the protection of data for today’s challenging businesses. Watch out for further developments in the coming months as Overland makes significant efforts to raise its profile and to help organisations do the right things when it comes to data protection.