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Symform Introduces Intriguing Backup Pricing Plan

If your budget is tight, but you have extra hard disk space that’s not being used, Symform has a backup plan with an attractive price.

The company announced today that it will now accept bucks or bytes when paying for its service. Not only can this cut costs, but it’s infinitely simpler than many competitors’ complex licensing plans that boggle the mind and make it more difficult to figure out what your monthly or annual charges are going to be.

In a nutshell, Symform uses a decentralized cloud model to protect and store your data. You tell the system what files and/or folders you want to back up, and it splits those files into small chunks, adds information to facilitate redundancy, encrypts the data, and distributes the fragments to others using the Symform service -- literally around the world.

Because no other Symform user has a copy of any complete file (and even if they did, it’s protected with AES-256 encryption), your data is safe. If you need to recover a file or folder, Symform retrieves all the fragments it needs, no matter where they’re stored. In a meeting last week at the company’s headquarters, Tim Helming, director of product management, told me that it would take 32 systems (all with at least one of your file fragments) to be unavailable simultaneously for your data to be unrecoverable, a highly unlikely event.

All users get the first 10 GB for free. After that, Symform used to charge extra. No more. Now, as long as you keep a 2:1 ratio of “contributed” space (storage others can use on your hardware for their files) to space used for your own files, the backup/recovery service is free. So, for example, if you tell the system where it can store 50 GB of other enterprises’ file (in fragments) on your system, you can store an additional 25 GB (above the initial 10 GB) of your own files (in fragments as well) at no additional charge.

For users who can’t maintain that 2:1 ratio, Symform also let you pay for storage in the old-fashioned way -- with money. If you start to exceed your ratio, you’ll get a warning message so you can contribute more space or more money. You can also pay for support with additional contributed space or money.

Set up is incredibly easy. During initial installation, you pick the files you want to back up and specify which devices or folders you want to make available to the system for the file fragments of others. You specify your current bandwith and how much of it Symform can use (including specifying when your peak usage hours are so Symform doesn’t interfere with bandwidth needed for every day production). In the background, Symform is uploading your files and placing data fragments into your “contributed” space without interrupting your other applications.

The split-and-store approach to data protection is ingenious in and of itself. With the cost of storage remaining relatively stable (and much of your enterprise’s hard drive space unused), the new pricing policy is a smart choice for cash-strapped budgets.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 09/10/2012

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