A data storage product made by a Colorado Springs-based company is being dubbed the “storage beast” and earned accolades this month by industry analysts.

STORServer’s  Enterprise Backup Appliance 3100 was so well-reviewed by industry analysts for the DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide that the group  introduced an entirely new ranking called the “Enterprise” ranking. Each year, the DCIG analyzes software, hardware and services companies within the enterprise data storage and electronically stored information industries.

The STORServer EBA 3100 offers up to 1 petabyte of data storage, thereby earning the title “storage beast.”

“We included the EBA 3100 in this Buyer’s Guide because we haven’t come across any other backup appliances that come close to matching its software and hardware attributes, putting the model in a class of its own,” said Jerome Wendt, president and lead analyst for DCIG. “As such, we felt it would be doing the market a disservice by not informing them that this superior backup appliance existed and was generally available for purchase.”

The accolades are like music to the ears of Bill Smoldt, STORServer president and CEO. The company was born 11 years ago in the garages of several engineers who previously worked for Colorado Springs-based Digital Corp. They were a group of software engineers who worked on backup products.

“We had a really interesting start — we did the typical thing, we didn’t have money to start, we mortgaged our houses and worked out of our garages,” Smoldt said.

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But, they were on to something, he said. They had witnessed the difficulty clients were having with setting up and managing their storage servers.

“We took that knowledge and put it into our appliance, the hardware with all the software,” Smoldt said.

With their new appliance, the client just needed to plug in the machine and go. The company, which began with four employees, introduced that first turn-key product in 1998, about the time when such appliances were just debuting.

Since then, data storage has been a fast-growing industry. Every day, every person creates lots of data – on their computers and smart phones.

“And, that data is a lot larger with graphics and videos,” Smoldt said. “Those are huge files.”

STORServer specializes in disaster recovery and backup. Their products were put to the test when their own company was evacuated from its Elkton Drive location during the Waldo Canyon fire.

“We had no problem accessing our data during that time,” Smoldt said.

And, while STORServer is still a middle market company, now with 40 employees, industry analaysts are taking notice. STORServer had models in four of the top five positions in the Buyer’s Guide.

“To garner four of the top five positions in such a prestigious analysis of backup appliances on the market today stands as the highest compliment of our efforts in providing best-in-class appliances,” said John Pearring, STORServer manager of sales and marketing. “We are thrilled by the conclusions of DCIG’s comprehensive study.”

The company now is on the verge of expanding into Europe and other growth countries, Smoldt said.

“We have worked diligently with IBM to focus on the enterprise quality of our appliances,” he said. “Their excellence in product development has made possible STORServer’s presentation of our data backup appliance lines. They deserve our recognition and thanks for this honor as the only enterprise level backup appliance in the marketplace.”