Mac Attack: Storage Vendors Take Aim at Apple

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This week’s Macworld show hasn’t been all about iPhones, Macs and iTunes. Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) growing popularity among enterprise users has made the show a destination for storage vendors too.

EMC (NYSE: EMC), HP (NYSE: HPQ), Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), Promise Technology and ATTO are just some of the companies out with storage offerings aimed at Apple users this week.

“The number of enterprise Mac users is on the rise and companies are in need of the same high-level data backup and protection available for PCs to protect vital corporate data,” stated Ciaran Cosgrave, head of managed services at 2e2, an Iron Mountain Digital channel partner.

Technology Business Research (TBR) analyst Ezra Gottheil said “the presence of the Apple Mac in enterprises is increasing, although its share of that market is still very small.”

Apple’s adoption of the x86 platform two years ago allowed Windows to be run on Mac hardware and jumpstarted enterprise Mac adoption, he said.

Gottheil said the Leopard operating system “incorporates a strong automated backup component, Time Machine, that effectively removes the need for users to think about files, naming, versioning, etc. It works with Apple’s own Time Capsule peripheral, with USB drives, and with Apple’s server software, which is where enterprise storage would come into play.”

Also, he noted that a strong enterprise Apple market — so-called “creative professionals” — has a strong need for storage, particularly for video, where Apple’s video editing software is catching on. Mac use in scientific applications is also contributing to storage demand, Gottheil said.

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO, said the integration of iPhones into enterprise and small business messaging and information systems led to the adoption of “additional Apple Mac products into business environments beyond the traditional Apple Mac sweet spots centered around marketing and creative content generation.”

The popularity of Apple products in “Web 2.0 and social networking circles” is also leading to greater enterprise adoption, Schulz said.

Among the offerings unveiled this week, Iron Mountain Digital said its Connected Backup online data protection solution will be available for Mac users in March.

EMC, which already offers online backup for Macs through its Mozy offering, announced a new version of its Retrospect backup and recovery software for Macs. Positioned between Apple’s Time Machine and enterprise-level backup applications, Retrospect 8.0 “provides the features, ease of use, flexibility and reliability required by professional users and small to medium-sized businesses,” EMC said.

HP, meanwhile, launched a home server designed for use with both Windows and Mac computers. The HP MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 is “a central repository for automatically backing up and accessing digital music, videos, photos and documents from multiple computers on a home network,” the company said.

And Promise Technology, which took over Apple’s storage hardware business last year, said its Promise VTrak E-Class RAID subsystem models sold by Apple now include 1TB hard drives and Bonjour support, among other features.

ATTO Technology demonstrated its FastStream SC 8500 RAID storage controller with 8Gb Fibre Channel connectivity to 3Gb SAS/SATAstorage and its ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter for direct attached storage (DAS) environments.

Active Storage, a provider of high-availability RAID storage systems for Apple users, announced a partner solution program for its Active Storage XRAID systems, and Other World Computing (OWC) also unveiled high-performance RAID offerings for Mac users.

And Soonr unveiled a new iPhone service that makes it easy to access PC or Mac files from the cloud. Released at Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, Soonr automatically backs up PC or Mac files to a “personal cloud” of online storage. Soonr said its service supports a wide range of document formats, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These files can be rendered on the iPhone even though the related applications aren’t active on the device.

David Needle of contributed to this report.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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