REVIEWER: Mike Dunn, technical infrastructure manager for X-Dimensional Technologies, Inc.

BACKGROUND: X-Dimensional Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Brea, California, focuses on providing products and consulting services that reduce friction and transaction costs associated with the distribution of insurance products. X-Dimensional Technologies has continued to expand as carriers, other intermediaries and insurance industry associations have sought its expertise in resolving automation and operations issues common to all segments of the industry.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS:  x86-based servers, Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As a custom software provider for the insurance industry, we have a responsibility to guard not only our own data, but also our clients'. In order to ensure the livelihood of our business, we began shopping for an efficient storage solution to back up our data. Reliability was the biggest factor in making our selection. Additionally, we needed an easy-to-use, automated style of data management to make navigating and retrieving specific data instantaneous. We needed a solution that automated all daily backup processes and would allow us to perform all data retrieval processes remotely.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We implemented the STORServer disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) appliance in February 2006. By staging backups to disk initially, STORServer decouples tape drives from backup streams without the need for expensive and complicated virtual tape library technology. The STORServer Appliance is a platform-neutral, LAN-friendly, all-in-one storage appliance that houses the server, software, disk, tape, integration and support - everything needed for a complete storage solution.

STRENGTHS: We were extremely impressed by the ease of installing the STORServer D2D2T Appliance. STORServer configured the server, tape library and TSM software before shipping the units to our data center and was on site to set up the entire system to our specifications, including the installation of the client software and the initial backups for our systems. We quickly learned the value of the appliance, when within just weeks of its installation we were forced to attempt a critical restore. Our team of technicians was modifying a SQL database for one of our clients when the entire application corrupted. Because our database administrator had backed up the original database to the STORServer appliance, we found a copy readily available. I restored the data in a matter of minutes.

WEAKNESSES: Users can outgrow the specifications for their appliance once they choose it due to its capabilities. Decision-makers need to work with their IT departments and storage consultant experts to specify the system and library they need for the duration they need it before deciding which solution fits them best.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our primary reasoning for selecting STORServer's D2D2T Appliance was its advanced capabilities and the amount of time it saved. With our previous solution, the backup window was 16 hours a night. Using the D2D2T Appliance, the same amount of data can be backed up in less than six hours. Encryption is a major security point for our insurance industry clients. In the past, we could not have told our clients that their backed up data was 100 percent safe. With STORServer's D2D2T Appliance we now can.

DELIVERABLES: Our backup window has been reduced by more than 10 hours. If needed, we only have to call one vendor for support. The automated library management features are much more efficient than managing a tape. The biggest cost savings the appliance has provided for us is one that cannot be summed up with a dollar figure. For a company charged with keeping other businesses' sensitive data under lock and key in order to do their jobs, the data encryption is a critical feature.

VENDOR SUPPORT: STORServer and the technical geniuses at Re-Store have done an excellent job of supporting and educating us. Because of the thorough and complete installation process, we have not had many support questions, but as our work environment has become more complex recently, Re-Store and STORServer have been really good at giving us options that work within our solution. They do a great job of thinking in the long term for us, which saves us money.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand.

STORServer D2D2T Backup Appliance
STORServer, Inc.
485-B Elkton Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
(719) 266-8777

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