Last june I met an interesting company and his management team: i365, a company owned by Seagate (hard disks worldwide leader manufacturer), focused in cloud backup solutions and products under the eVault brand.

Cloud happening now!

Terry Cunningham, president and General Manager, was very clear in his presentation and showed us a great commitment in displacing traditional backup solutions.
Actually, i365 numbers are very good: more than 32000 customers worldwide, rock solid infrastructure (since 1997, 11 DCs in North America and Europe, 45 PB managed), a world class customer service (10K recoveries per month, 98% customer satisfaction) and new head quarters in EMEA too (Netherlands).
i365 is seeing a significant increase in the volume of data for customers and, at the same time, cloud storage is growing faster than any other cloud service (5x between 2008 and 2012).
The “cloud first” approach is gaining a lot of traction, especially in the SMB market, and i365 is proposing its solutions for a cloud-connected storage to provide protection and access to business data everywhere.

How it works

i365 has three different deploy models: traditional (LAN backup and recovery), Cloud (all the backup and recovery via internet) and hybrid (a local appliance for backups connected to the internet).
It is clear to me that the preferred way to work is to provide the hybrid solution because it has the advantage of local backup speed coupled with the easy of use and cloud storage cost savings.

DR on the cloud

i365 also offers a sort of backup based cloud Disaster Recovery services. The easiest way to access these services is to ask a data restore on portable hard disks and you will receive your restored data in a couple of days via an express courier. 
On the other side you can ask a full disaster recovery service to i365 and they’ll deploy a complete virtual infrastructure in their datacenter for you to accommodate recovered data and applications. They talked about 24 hours to deliver you all (they talked about 24 hours RPO and the RTO is related to the last backup: presumably 24 hours maximum but it depends on your backup policy).
The informations I gathered about this kind of Disaster Recovery Service are very scarce and I’m not convinced that it can fit the requests of many customers in terms network configurations and external access to the servers, only to name the firsts those come to my mind, but they have some consulting services and shown up some interesting case histories.

Regulations Drawback

Backup (and DR) in the cloud is a great thing but, here in Europe, there are some very restricting regulations on how and where manage the data: many EU countries don’t allow to move legal and financial data outside their borders!
i365, at the moment, has two data centers in EU and it was not clear if they’ll expand their presence soon so, if you are thinking about cloud backup, you probably need to think about a local i365 partner or you’ll need to differentiate your “backup placing policy” for each kind of data.

The Channel

i365 has an interesting partnership program (CCSP: Cloud Connected Service Provider) that includes few options for MSPs (managed service providers), VARs (business partners) and small local partners. 
The agreements range from simple reselling to full partnerships. In case of a full partnership (MSP), the partner could provide backup services directly on its own infrastructure while i365 backups the VAR! This is an interesting model because the reseller could begin small and then grow with its business.

Bottom line

If you are thinking about renewing your backup infrastructure I suggest you to take a look at cloud based backup and, especially if you are an SMB, i365 could be included in the list of the products to evaluate.

Disclaimer: I was invited at this meeting by Condor Consulting Group and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any other person than the Juku’s team.