Storage and backup solutions are a growing focus for some of the country's largest hosting providers. An example is SoftLayer, which has rolled out three new storage and disaster recovery offerings in recent weeks. Last week the Dallas company unveiled EVault, an enterprise-class backup solution from Seagate Technology that provides automated, disk-to-disk backup.
EVault will be integrated into StorageLayer, a storage and backup service launched Oct. 15 that features File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Network Attached Storage (NAS) and iSCSI technologies. SoftLayer says all three services are fully automated and can be provisioned at-will through SoftLayer's customer portal and API. While FTP and NAS provide fast, reliable and cost-effective storage for maximum data retention, iSCSI offers a low-cost alternative to traditional fiber-channel storage solutions. It allows access to enterprise-grade Storage Area Network (SAN) storage over Ethernet, and is easily provisioned and highly scalable. One sign of interest in iSCSI is today's announcement that Dell will acquire EqualLogic for $1.4 billion. IDC projects that the iSCSI SAN market is expected to grow from about $600 million in 2006 to $6 billion in the next five years.
StorageLayer resides inside SoftLayer's private network, with gigabit connectivity between servers and the storage array. Each server rack features 10-gigabit uplinks to the array, utilizing jumbo frames for maximum performance at near-zero latency. All data transferred is fully secure within a customer's private VLAN.
In September SoftLayer announced RescueLayer, an automated system for restoring and repairing servers after crashes or failures. SoftLayer customers can use RescueLayer to reboot a failed server into a RAM-disk Unix, Linux or Windows PE rescue kernel. The rescue system is launched through SoftLayer's management portal.
"With this level of access, RescueLayer lets you quickly and easily do just about anything you need to restore a system," said Andrew Maten, SoftLayer Director of IT Systems. "RescueLayer lets administrators run a wide range of tools, including disk recovery utilities, PassMark tests, OS-specific repair utilities, and up-to-date antivirus, spyware and root kit scan utilities. They can directly recover deleted system files, replace corrupt system files, search, manage and backup data, remove malicious programs, and even independently reset system passwords."