A Toronto-based online backup service provider is revamping its data centre architecture using Dell servers to enhance its ability to provide secure information storage to its customers.

The overhaul at Data Deposit Box, announced Tuesday, is also intended to support the company’s growing customer base.

The company said 165 Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers will provide up to 4.5TB of internal storage at its data centre in Toronto. The company is owned and operated by Toronto-based Acpana Business Systems Inc.

Basically, the online backup service targets consumers and small business owners who may not have the time, or the 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’s 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,” said 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,” said 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 – therefore, it was crucial that the company deploy technology that was scalable.

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

Data Deposit Box, he said, was 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, said 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, said the CTO.

Post deployment, the new setup’s storage performance is “substantially better”, said Carroll. “And the manageability of it and the financial ease of doing it is so much easier.”

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,” he said.

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,” said Carroll. Now, he said, it’s an integrated package.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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