Data Protection — 25 April 2014

DCIG

jerome wendt

Integrated Backup Appliance

Jerome Wendt, president and lead analyst with DCIG, LLC, says:

Data backup appliances continue to make huge strides forward in simplifying backup in today’s real-world IT environments. By providers integrating the core components needed to deliver backup in a single box, more of these appliances come closer to achieving the “plug and play” ideal that data center and IT managers seek.

Integrated backup appliances have already been proven successful. But as the latest generation of appliances illustrate in the new DCIG 2014-15 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, organizations can expect an even better experience from backup appliances going forward. New features that these appliances boast include more deduplication options, heightened support for virtual­ized environments, new alliances between hardware and software providers and increased emphasis on providing more tightly integrated support from a single provider.

Other areas where IT professionals will also see changes in backup appliances from our previous Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide include:

  • Backup appliances make better use of solid state drives (SSDs) which contribute to increases in throughput and performance.
  • Large providers like Dell have shed its alliances with traditional backup software providers such as CommVault and Symantec in favor of creating its own line integrated backup appliances that only use Dell hardware and software.
  • Shunned by Dell, Symantec and CommVault have adapted to this new world of backup appliances. Symantec now develops and markets its own line of appliances while in the last quarter of 2013 CommVault aligned with STORServer, the winner of the previous DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance, to create a compelling new line of backup appliances.

One key differentiator witnessed in the research for the Buyer’s Guide is that providers are strengthening their offerings with services. As organizational needs increase, provid­ers are bulking up their support and technology support teams to meet their heightened expectations for faster response times and quicker resolutions to the challenges they face. In a recent press release, research company IDC noted that “appliance-based protection and recovery has taken root in customers’ environments as a simplified approach to meet their backup and recovery challenges.”

Another intriguing shift in customer support is that a few providers, such as STORServer, are rolling out data recovery guarantees. A data recovery guarantee is a major commitment to make, but is important for those who purchase an appliance. Depending on the appliance, data may be able to be retrieved from the cloud, from the appliance itself, or may simply mean the appliance can perform data recovery in a certain amount of time. Based on the highly competitive nature of this market, it is logical to conclude that other providers will soon feel the pressure to offer a feature like this in the not too distant future.

Looking from top to bottom at the products included in the Buyer’s Guide, they share relatively similar software configurations between larger and smaller systems. Differentiation comes more in how the appliances scale their hardware components and what hardware features are included on each model. However, it is safe to conclude that the highest scoring and ranking models tend to have more robust features in all areas from hardware capabilities to support for virtualized environments to the backup software features they offer.

Below is a list of the top 10 overall scores and rankings in the 2014-15 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide:

To download the full Buyer’s Guide, visit http://www.backupapplianceguide.com

Jerome Wendt is president and lead analyst of DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. DCIG is a group of analysts with IT industry expertise who provide informed, insightful, third party analysis and commentary on IT technology. DCIG independently develops and licenses access to DCIG Buyer’s Guides and IBG. DCIG also develops sponsored content in the form of blog entries, case studies, head-to-head product reports, special reports and white papers. More information is available at www.dcig.com.

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