HP has introduced disk-to-disk backup for small and medium businesses with wizard-level administration simplicity. Up to four servers can be automatically backed up to the StorageWorks D2D Backup System. HP says it is a self-managing device and complements its recent All In One networked storage product.

Installing it involves connecting its iSCSI interface to an Ethernet LAN connecting the servers to be backed up. According to HP. customers can then configure it in three steps and daily backups become automatic and don't rely on human intervention which can lead to errors. Lost files and folders can be restored from disk rather than tape, which is slower and may involve off-line cartridges. After the first full backup subsequent and smaller incremental backups run quickly.

HP's VP for StorageWorks nearline storage, Bob Wilson, said: "With the HP StorageWorks D2D Backup System, customers can virtually eliminate the main causes of failed backups and slow restores to protect their ... data." He is referring to human error and slow tape devices.

The appliance emulates an HP LTO-2 tape drive or LTO-2-based autoloaders. The backup software treats it exactly as it would a physical tape device,. An HP spokesperson said: "Customers should still use tape to ... protect data from risks that disk-based backup cannot, including site-wide disasters. Data can be migrated from the HP D2D Backup System to physical tape using the backup software. HP will continue to invest in current and next generation tape technologies, including LTO-4 tape drives, which are due out later this year."

However, the backup to tape from the HP D2D Backup System is not said to be either automatic or of wizard-level simplicity according to HP. The company also does not mention any replication capability from one D2D Backup System to another to provide disaster recovery. That function would be carried out by tape. What the appliance does is to reduce the amount of trained sysadm resource needed by an SME customer but it can't be dispensed with altogether unless the backup of the appliance to tape is ignored.

The appliance is managed via a browser interface over an Internet connection, either von the LAN or remotely. It is available on its own or in a package that includes HP Data Protector Express Software - actually Yosemite backup software.

The D2D Backup System is available now from HP's resellers. A 1TB version is available for $1,999 and a 2TB one for $2,999.

Coincidentally Fujitsu Siemens has also launched a fully-automated backup recovery system, but for five to 50 servers. It is for mid-size businesses seeking a relatively easy, inexpensive way to keep their servers running around the clock.

Designed as a simplified, lower-cost alternative to virtualisation or clustering, the x10sure offers an enhanced monitoring and protection system for companies running five to 50 Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based servers.

At its most basic configuration, the x10sure is priced starting at $12,000, including five monitored servers and 12 months of software patches and support. The system comprises three Fujitsu Siemens Primergy BX600 or RX rack servers: a single protected "production" server, a spare "failover" server and the x10sure control server.

The three servers are coupled by a storage area network switch using high-speed channel links to a single Fujitsu Siemens FibreCAT SX80 fibre channel storage subsystem. All disk-based storage is consolidated by the FibreCAT system.

The x10sure system is targeted at companies that require 24-hour system availability. The product also features automated server shutdown and reboot, and data protection.

(Original Fujitsu Siemens Computers reporting by IDG News Service.)