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Many IT departments feel overtaxed and under the gun to do an effective job with backup and recovery. IntraDyn explains why their company aims to make the process a snap.

Companies of all sizes face a variety of challenges, from generating revenue to staying ahead of the competition. One thing they all have in common is the need to do effective data backup and recovery. Many IT departments feel overtaxed and under the gun to do an effective job, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Gary Doan, CEO of Eagan-based IntraDyn explains why his company aims to make the process a snap.

How did the company decide to focus on this area?

IntraDyn was started in 2001, and our initial product idea was to look at using Linux to make appliances. We wanted to have a number of different kinds, including security appliances, storage, and general ones. Then we found from talking to potential customers that the largest single problem was in backup and recovery. In numerous studies, it was shown that most companies just weren’t doing an adequate job. The ones that weren’t cited cost and complexity as the reasons. So, we came up with the idea to do a backup and archiving appliance.

What types of companies do you target?

We had originally anticipated bringing out a large device targeted at brokerage firms. But we found that the largest problem was in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Over half of them weren’t doing any kind of backup at all. Those that were doing it were using tape technology, and we’ve found that tape fails to restore between 50 and 60 percent of the time. It was a larger problem than we’d ever anticipated.

It’s going to become even more of a problem in the future, too, because many SMBs don’t realize how some of the old and new regulations affect them. For example, under the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, you have to retain e-mail resumes for a year. Also, some SMBs don’t know that e-mail is considered a legal contract that can be used in litigation. So, it’s possible that they could be sued and not have any kind of protection because they don’t have their data backed up.

How does the appliance work?

When you plug the device in, it discovers all the devices on the network and then sets up data management. It’s very flexible, because you can pick what kind of backup routine you want, and do it by department. For example, you can choose to have all the data in the marketing department backed up every night. For a more critical set of users, you can have their data backed up hourly.

It’s very simple, and it can be accessed from any device on the network. That’s something we really wanted, simplicity. We want to bring data protection to the masses, so it needs to be easy to use and affordable, and we’ve addressed both those issues.

What’s the company’s biggest challenge?

I think it’s perception. We’re doing something different, and any time you do something different, people automatically say, ‘Well, I’m fine with what I have.’ So, they keep using tape because it hasn’t failed them yet. They have false assurance in it.

Do you think that perception is beginning to change?

I think that’s changing rapidly. We’ve talked to a couple hundred SMBs, and you can sense the vulnerability that’s out there. Also, data protection is becoming seen as a pretty onerous task. There’s usually someone in the office who’s responsible for it, and he has to take all the tapes home and do the backups, and he doesn’t appreciate having to do all that busy work.

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