Jordan Divine

Michael White

Ross Schneider


Proposal for Internet Backup Service

April 12, 2005

Executive Summary

Currently, our backup system is not adequate for our company. We are running seven servers and backing them up with a portable device that an IT person uses during non-peak hours. This involves our IT employee to go from server to server and backup each one. This costs us time and money. The space required is 2 TB, but our tapes only hold 150 GB each. We are looking towards either an Internet backup company, installing a new tape backup device, or doing nothing.

The two Internet backup companies are Digitiliti and Data Protection Services. Digitiliti is able to provide 36 months of service at a cost of $2,940, plus they will backup home PCs and laptops, if needed. Meanwhile, Data Protection Services will give us a free 30-day trial, so as to give us a firm quote on what we need, based on usage of backing up information. Their installation will take 15 to 20 minutes, and they will be able to burn CDs and DVDs of our information, if requested. The tape backup device we are looking at is a Sun StorEdge L25, which is twice as fast as our current backup device. It also uses new Super DLT magnetic tapes, which can hold much more than the DLT tapes we are currently using.

We chose Digitiliti because of their cheaper price, decrease of needed IT personnel, and ability to connect with our backed-up information from any location in the U.S. Along with their flexibility, they will give us free software to install on our home PCs for the backing up that they offer. As for implementation, it will take between two and three months to be fully in effect, after training our IT personnel and installing all of the software.

Getting to the problem

We work fora small architectural firm that specializes in schools and churches. We have all of our drawing and documentation scattered across numerous hard drives on 7 data file servers that are currently on the company network. We want to sell you the idea of backing up the drawing and selected documentation by an Internet backup service on a once a week basis. There are approximately 2 terabytes of data. Our current backup system consists of one person from the IT support staff with a portable tape device capable of backing up 150 GB at a time. The architects and marketing people spend about 50% of their time traveling around the U.S. presenting proposals to prospective customers.

Change is needed for a few reasons. One, if the data was ever lost in a disaster, there will be no possible way of bringing it back. Second, the current process is too slow. Third and finally, the current process uses too much money for IT personnel and supplies needed for backing up the data.

Expected Benefits

With converting to an Internet backup, we will be increasing our benefits significantly by: 1) storing data in a secure place, where fire and theft can be deterred. 2) The information can be backed up at a faster rate than with magnetic tapes. Magnetic tapes, at their fastest, will only backup at a rate of 70 megabytes per second, where as an Internet backup can backup at the rate of the Internet connection (T3 = 100Mb/sec). 3) The Internet backup requires only a connection to the Internet and remembering where the file is and what it’s called, whereas a tape backup requires searching the whole tape to find the information. 4) Internet backup doesn’t require an IT professional to stand around, waiting for the backup to be finished.

Backup Providers – other access services

The two Internet backup services providers we have researched are Digitiliti and Data Protection Services (DPS). DPS is able to send information that clients request for a small fee via DVD or CD-ROM. This could be incredibly helpful for our company. It will reduce costs such as labor hours, shipping costs, and materials. For volumes below 50 GB, DVD is usually the recommended media. For larger volumes, data is transferred to a mobile vault, verified, and then shipped to the client in a custom shipping case. Compared to Digitiliti, they aren’t as good with security. Digitiliti will compress your data and encrypt it when it arrives at their headquarters. Along with encryption, they will also use delta blocking, common file elimination and a digital signature, which will relieve some space that is usually taken up by duplicate files, and will secure the information until you sign off on it and retrieve it.


The main stakeholders that will be affected by the switch to Internet backup will be our IT employees, management, and architects. Since this is mainly a transition in the Information Technology department, it will be the IT employees that will be affected the most. In the process of changing from tape drives to Internet backup, the manual work load will decrease. It may be efficient to cut back on IT employees or try and allocate their expertise to a different department. For Management, there is less management of physical space because they do not have to deal with the tape drives. Last, if we choose option 1, architects will be able to backup information from anywhere. This is very convenient do to the fact that our architects spend 50% of their time traveling around the United States.

Culture and Flow of Work

There will be several affects on the culture and flow of work if the company uses an Internet-based backup service. Besides the obvious changes to the IT department, all the workers of the company that alter documentation that needs to be backed up will have their daily work life affected. For example, if option 1 is selected, all the workers will be able to maintain their own backup and recovery operations through Digitiliti. This will be a change for those workers who have to deal directly with the IT departmenthaving their files backed up and recovering those files if the files on the server were lost or corrupted. Another change in the flow of work will be not having to maintain updated files on the main servers. These files can be backed up from the laptops or home PCs that they might use more regularly than the files on the servers. This will allow workers to spend less time transferring files from their laptops and home PCs than they currently do.

Option 1 – Digitiliti

Digitiliti uses an appliance called StorForward which scans the computer for files that need to be backed up, and when each back up needs to be completed. Some of the benefits that come with StorForward are the compression and encryption of data, digital signatures, common file elimination, and Delta Blocking which minimizes backup window and maximizes bandwidth. Also, it makes backing up home computers and laptops cheaper because the software for PC’s is free. The system is continuously monitored, which eliminates bottlenecks as well. This will cost us $2,940 per month for 36 months.

With regards to our Return on Investment, our operating expenses will be lower do to a decrease in IT department activity which will increase our operating income, therefore increasing our ROI. There are also risks involved with every decision. First, if the connection is ever down and we have a system crash, we lose a great deal of information. Second, there is always the chance that Digitiliti could go bankrupt, leaving us exposed to a dangerous loss of information in the event of a crash.

To get the new system up and running the only resource we need to use is the Internet. Not only do our resources change, but our employee roles do as well. The people’s roles that will be involved in the change will be Management and the IT department. Management will be overseeing the payment and interaction with Digitiliti while the IT department will have to learn how to upkeep a new type of information service provider.

This leads us into the training and implementation issues. Aside from the IT department needs to be trained on the use of the Internet service, the general staff needs to have a basic understanding of the service because they will be able to access it from their homes and on the road. As far as installation, there is no charge because it can all be done online and over the phone.

Option 2 – Data Protection Services

Data Protection Services (DPS) specializes in protecting business servers. They offer a 30 day free trial in which they will give us a firm quote based on our actual usage as well as our needs. They offer discounts for service, yearly pre-payments, and off peak back-ups. To save us time and money, they can burn DVD’s and CD-ROM’s of our information and send them to our clients. In case of a major crash, there is a Mobile Vault Restores for large volumes of data. Another advantage to this company is that they give free tech support. The pricing options range from $1,600 to $4,000 per month. There is such a wide range because of their different options for discounts (service, yearly pre-payments, and off-peak backups). With regards to our Return on Investment, our operating expenses will be lower do to a decrease in IT department activity which will increase our operating income, therefore increasing our ROI.

The risks for this company remain the same as the other Internet service provider, possible down connections and bankruptcy. If we ever crash when the Internet connection is down, we will be losing a lot of information. Once again, the only resource that will be needed will be an Internet connection. Also the roles involved in the change will be the same as well, Management and the IT department. The training and implementation includes training the IT department on the new backup service. In order to setup up the service all we need to do is call them and go through a 15-20 startup process.

Option 3 – New Tape Drives

For those that would prefer our storage of files to remain at the location it is currently at, the Sun StorEdge L25 is what we need the most. It is more than twice as fast as our current tape backup machines, at 72 megabytes per second. The magnetic tapes that can be used will be Super DLT 600, which can store up to ten tapes. Space-wise, it will take up 4 U on a rack. Pertaining to software, it will run on Solaris 8 and 9, and there is support for Solaris 10, RedHat 3.0, and various versions of Windows. This backup device will not need to be portable, since all of the servers will connect to it via SCSI or Ethernet cable.

The price of the tape library will run around $7400, while the cost of the tapes themselves will be close to $1000, which will bring the total price to nearly $8500. This amount can decrease if we choose not to buy all of the tapes necessary for the StorEdge L25 right away. It is possible to use SDLT 300s and LTO 2 tapes, which will not allow for as much space, but keep current tapes in use, until they are not needed anymore.

Risks that might pertain to a new tape drive are natural disasters, such as fire, tornadoes, and floods. Unless the backup device is in an enclosed room, that is the most important thing to worry about. Other risks are power outages during backup, and full tapes, which shouldn’t be an immediate problem, since the current amount of data is one-third of what this new device can handle.

The only resources required are power for the unit itself, and tapes for the library. Using this new library will free up resources, by requiring an IT person to only be around for half as long as previous backups. Also, it will free up space on the racks for more libraries (up to 7 can be stored together).

Those who would be involved in the change are the IT personnel, because they would have to install the new library, and switch the tapes when necessary. As for training and implementation, there might be some software that will need to be installed and IT personnel trained on. Then, whoever has to change the tapes will need to know when to do it, and where to store them, if the current place of storage changes.

Option 4 – Do Nothing

If we stick with the current system, we will continue with the current costs and difficulties. This will include continuing long hours for the IT support staff, continuing to have a member of the IT support staff carry around portable tape device to the seven data file servers, the continued costs of maintaining tapes and the portable tape device, as well as the current back up times. Under this system, the costs and ROI will remain the same. The risks will also remain the same. The current risks include not all of the information is being backed up in a timely fashion. If this information is lost, the time that it took to create those documents will have to be reinvested to recreate them. This will also require that the resources currently being tied up, remain tied up. This includes the current IT support staff being used to handle the backup, the space used to hold the tapes and the portable tape device, and the money needed to maintain both the tapes and the portable tape device. There will be no training or implementation issues with the current system, since this system has already been implemented and the staff has already been trained.

Analysis and Recommendation

After reviewing and comparing our options, we have come to the conclusion that Digitiliti’s offer is the best way to go. Digitiliti’s price is $2,940 per month, which is cheaper than the Data Protection Services of a possible payment of $4,000 per month. We also decided against the new tape drives for a few reasons. One, it still requires IT personnel to manage the system compared to the Internet Service where the system does not need to be monitored by our IT people. Two, if we had chose DPS, our employees would not be able to have access to our data on the road, like we will be able to with Digitiliti. Which brings us to the main reason we chose Digitiliti over DPS: access to information outside the workplace. Digitiliti offers backup for home computers and laptops, which will be useful for employees who spend 50% of their time traveling around the U.S. presenting proposals to prospective customers. Also, as an added benefit, Digitiliti offers free software for our PC’s.

Schedule for Completion of the Project

April 15 – Contact Digitiliti

May 1 - Installation of Internet Service

May 8 - First complete system backup

June 1 - Staff fully trained for use of Internet Service

Works Cited