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Portal crossbreeds backups of earth and sky

'Cloud' storage puts feet on ground

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CTERA Networks - a fledgling storage outfit based in Israel - has introduced a platform for overseeing storage services that span the local office and the so-called cloud.

The CTERA Portal is meant for ISPs and other resellers who provide such storage services to small businesses and branch offices. The UK-based Optix Software, for instance, provides software tools for opticians, and it's using an early version of the portal to offer storage backup that bridges its data center and machines inside the opticians' local offices.

The idea is for the portal to behave like an online service while also tapping some local storage, and the provider can choose how much storage is local and how much is up in the cloud.

"We give you a consistent system for your entire storage, where some it is local and some of it is online," CTERA CEO Liran Eshel tells The Reg. "If you just do local, you get speed and cost efficiency. But you don't get the reliability of an online service or the ability to easily manage it. And if you buy one solution for local and a second for online, you get two separate systems, which is still difficult to manage. With our system, you bring everything together."

The portal itself is available as an online service, but alternatively, it can be installed inside the data center of the ISP offering the "hybrid" storage service. The portal is used by the ISP - not the small business at the end of the line.

"There's a lot of market for people who want to get rid of the hassle of on-site backup, of worrying about backing up to tapes or CDs. But at the same time, with online services, we've cases where, after a crash, the amount of time it takes to get the data back down to the user is horrendous," Trevor Rowley, managing director of Optix Software, tells The Reg.

"The attraction of [the CTERA Portal] is that with normal recover scenario - if you just have to restore one hard drive - you can do it on-site. But if there is a doomsday scenario, where an entire site is knocking out, you still have everything backed up off-site. So you have a balance."

The so-called cloud storage can be provided by the ISP itself, via direct-attached or SAN storage. But it can also be provided by a third-party online storage provider such as Amazon (S3) or Rackspace (Cloud Files).

Then, for the storage sitting inside the local business, CTERA offers its Cloud Attached Storage appliances, which, the company says, have just received a firmware upgrade. Both the new version 2.0 firmware and the CTERA Portal are available starting today. ®

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