When Disaster Strikes

Elana Samuels has two lives. In one, she’s a value-added reseller coming to the rescue of clients with a lot of fires to put out. In the second, she’s a storage solution provider seeing clients extinguish the flames on their own.

Samuels, president of Toronto-based Storagepipe Solutions Inc.,

said she’s received positive feedback from a number of corporate executives she’s been able to assist in the two years she’s been running the IBM storage solution provider business.

“”We have saved some butts, so our customers love our service,”” Samuels said.

As founder of Questech Services Inc., which was sold to RAM Computer Group, she is familiar with panicked customers looking for someone to save them after a major crisis, and with other types of fires that resellers are often called upon to put out.

The data recovery market might not be for everyone, but it’s a relatively new and growing area. Computer vendors are hunting for partners, as small and medium-size Canadian companies finally recognize their valuable data is at risk just like any large financial conglomerate or government agency.

Samuels worked 12 years in the computer reseller community, and came up with the idea for Storagepipe because she saw backup issues constantly confronting herself and peers in the channel.

The backup of data became more complex over the years, with more platforms to support and an increase in quantity. In many cases, hard copy has also been eliminated, making digital property invaluable.

But it also causes management headaches.

With an infrastructure that’s based mainly on IBM equipment and software, Storagepipe, which was formed with the assistance of a venture capitalist and a team of individuals, works very closely with IBM to develop backup and archival services to ease the pressures.

“”Our software scans where (a customer has) told us to scan — servers or hard drives — and looks for any changes in the data, makes a copy of those changes, encrypts it, compresses it and, in a very reliable and secure manner, sends it to us,”” said Samuels, adding that there are no upfront costs to customers, who run software clients at their locations.

Customers “”sign on our system and see a directory tree of everything backed up. They click on what they want to restore and there’s a checkmark that appears beside it. They hit the restore button and within 30 seconds that file is reproduced on our side, and sent to them back on the Internet. It’s like sending out an e-mail.””

Storagepipe charges $35 per gigabyte per month. One of its largest customers backs up 700GB. The company’s smallest contract is one gigabyte, and some companies choose backup services for their notebooks.

The company, which prefers to focus on its backend solution and leave business continuity planning and disaster-recovery strategies to other companies, will also refer clients to channel partners.

“”We work with partners that do focus in that space and we’re

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