Backup bonanza – Toronto provider boosts storage services with Dell


A Toronto-based online backup service provider, Data Deposit Box, is using Dell servers to enhance its ability to provide secure information storage to customers.

The rollout – part of a data centre architecture overhaul – will help the company to better support its growing customer base.

A total of 165 Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers will provide up to 4.5 terabytes of internal storage at Data Deposit Box’s data centre in Toronto.

The company is owned and operated by Toronto-based Acpana Business Systems Inc.

The online backup service targets consumers and small business owners, who may not have the time or technical know how to backup their PCs or laptops.

The downloadable software continuously monitors selected folders looking for changes. When a change is detected, it is extracted, compressed, encrypted, and then transferred to the data centre, whenever the user is online.

“[The software] automatically knows where your My Documents folder and Outlook e-mail is,” says Peter Carroll, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) at Data Deposit Box.

“So if anything horrible happened like getting your laptop stolen at an airport,” says Carroll, “your data would have been backed up the last time you were on the Internet.”

Data Deposit Box is expanding at a rate of 25 per cent per quarter and is currently a “couple of hundred terabytes of storage and growing”, according to the CTO.

This growth, he said, made it imperative that the company deploy scalable technology.

An aspect of Dell’s technology strategy is to help customers build business value by letting them pay as they grow, says Kevin Smith, server product manager with Dell Canada.

Data Deposit Box, he says, is an ideal example of such a customer. “[As a business owner,] they have to be able to figure out, ‘Okay, based on my customer demand today, I need to buy the right technology but be able to grow it very quickly when I need to.'”

Cost was another driver behind the data centre overhaul, says Carroll, especially given the company is a relatively small business that depends on being able to provide an affordable service to customers.

The company charges $2 per gigabyte of storage space; the majority of their customers pay between $2 and $10 in charges per month.

Data Deposit Box did scout other vendors, however, they chose Dell because its proposal was based on Microsoft Windows and commodity hardware that’s cheap and easy to use, says the CTO.

Post deployment, the new setup’s storage performance is “substantially better”, says Carroll. He said it is also far more manageable and reasonable from a financial perspective.

According to Carroll, manageability is key for any small business – such as Data Deposit Box – given they often lack IT support staff required to maintain the infrastructure. “Basically, we wanted to install servers in our data centre and leave them alone.”

The prior process was one that involved “middle men”, according to Carroll, which meant dealing with a system integrator that assembled the myriad system components from different manufacturers.

In addition, Data Deposit Box made the purchase of servers and future technology purchases through leasing arrangements courtesy of Dell Financial Services Canada Ltd, a financial services provider, to help curb the initial budgeting strains caused by purchasing cycles.

“Before, we got a system integrator to assemble a quote and then we would shop it around to a dozen different leasing companies,” says the CTO. Now, he says, it’s an integrated package.


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