Two upstarts - Idealstore's Bantam and DHK's PopDrive - want to challenge ProStor, the king of removable hard drive storage with its RDX technology.
The RDX is a shock-proofed 2.5-inch hard drive which fits into a dock and has various capacity levels topping out at 1TB. Docks and drives are made by Tandberg Data and Imation, who supply Dell, HP, IBM, Quantum and others.
For customers the pitch is that RDX offers the removability of tape and the speed of disk. Tandberg offers sub-file-level deduplication, and automated RDX devices are coming as well, both from Imation, via a deal with BDT and from Tandberg.
Idealstore's Bantam resembles an RDX drive and dock overall, so what is the good news here? Spokesperson Ben Ginster said: "Bantam is USB 3.0 when RDX is USB 2.0 - much faster transfer rates. We've even tested USB 3.0 at faster speeds than eSATA for companies that are using the internal RDX system with eSATA.
"The Bamtam cartridge and dock are aluminium; the RDX is plastic. The Bantam has push-button eject while the RDX is mechanical eject with moving parts (ours broke in our test lab)."
"Bantam ships with IDM software - our disk management tool to manage the process of removing disks, drive lettering and data integrity. If you talk to users one of the issues they have with RDX is how the disk is recognised by Windows or the backup software. IDM takes care of this and makes backing up to disk a seamless process."
The Bantam has file-level deduplication with Idealstore's iBac software, which offers native format backup, drag and drop restore, and can back up servers and databases over network.
Ginster reckons Bantam has an advantage over RDX for the channel: "Our products are only sold through the channel. In the US we work with Avnet and in the UK we work with C-MI.
"Unlike RDX, we only sell our product through the channel. One of the challenges for a VAR with RDX is that Dell sells it direct and is very aggressive on price. This means that if the VAR is selling the Tandberg, HP, IBM... version of the RDX they lose on price selling the exact same technology."
DHK Storage is going to offer its PopDrive which, uniquely in this area, offers RAID 1 protection; there being two PopDrives in the dock. The device is a one pound (weight), manageable, tool-less, dual-hard drive backup solution, containing two 2.5-inch SATA hard drives with eSATA or USB 2.0 interfaces. To the host computer it appears as one device.
The firm's president, David Klein, says: "RDX is still a one hard drive solution. If the drive fails then your data is gone. The Bantam is just a mini-RDX. Same thing; if the drive fails then your data is gone. The PopDrive is small and redundant. We made it tool-less so that it is easily upgradeable as larger hard drives come out."
"Our target market is IT consultants that serve SMB (Small and Medium Business). The management software is the key. Our software that goes along with the PopDrive will send e-mail alerts on device events like: hard drive failure, PopDrive insertion and removal, and temperature events."
DHK says the software included with the PopDrive is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, 64-bit versions of all Windows operating systems, Macintosh, and Linux. The PopDrive is able to accept a 2.5-inch hard drive of any data capacity and will work with just about any software package.
Price and availability
The PopDrive will be available from December in two packages: one with two 500Gb hard drives for a $250 manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) and one with two 750Gb hard drives for $350 MSRP. The PopDrive will be demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2011.
Idealstore says the Bantam is sold by the dock itself for $199 MSRP or in bundles with a disk cartridge; capacities of 320GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB are currently available. The system is USB 3.0-capable, and for server or desktops that aren't USB 3.o-compatible there is a 2-port controller ($89) for sale to let users take advantage of USB 3.0 speed. ®