Backup Appliances: 5 Considerations

Appliances in your backup infrastructure can help save you time and money. Weigh these issues to ensure you choose the right one for your business.

Robbie Wright

March 27, 2015

3 Min Read
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For centuries, humans have invented tools and appliances to simplify repetitive processes. For example, think of a kitchen -- appliances such as coffee makers, microwaves and stand mixers all save users from repeating unnecessary steps, therefore saving time.

When it comes to enterprise storage, IT is faced with a similar situation: Repetitive tasks often require a lot of time (and money) to complete. The role of IT is not a glamorous one -- long hours and complicated tasks are not for the weak of heart. In the modern enterprise, many IT managers find themselves caught between disparate pieces of software and hardware to balance the data tasks supported in their enterprise. In some cases, this really slows deployment time, which, in turn, increases time to value.

To solve this problem, many enterprises have considered appliances for their backup infrastructure. Appliances can blend certain IT tasks to save hours of operational time and significant dollars. Before making an investment, there are five issues to consider when evaluating backup appliances:

1. Fast turnaround requests

IT departments that are faced with finding a way to create greater efficiencies in deploying backup solutions should look to an appliance that can be deployed quickly with minimum issues. Businesses should look for a product that integrates the entire package, including both software and hardware, which will help with a speedy deployment.

2. Rapid data growth

The exponential growth of data is undeniable, which means scalable solutions are critical to keep up with the need to backup and store new critical files and other data. Companies experiencing rapid data growth should also consider data protection technologies that integrate global deduplication to reduce storage sprawl. Disaster recovery solutions are more critical than ever, and they are increasingly required for tier two and tier three workloads.

Flexible backup and recovery solutions can add value to the business by enabling multiple deployment models using appliances, existing hardware, or even cloud infrastructure. This provides organizations with the agility to respond quickly to data growth and meet data related IT demands as they occur.

3. Business growth 

Whether your enterprise has future growth plans or intends to maintain its size, you'll need the flexibility to configure backup, recovery and storage systems to support departmental needs. For enterprises looking to grow, consider an appliance that offers seamless scalability, but can also function as a cost-effective standalone unit in smaller environments.

Enterprises that are already of significant size and complexity require additional levels of flexibility as well, so look for appliances that can be combined in a scale-out architecture to support larger environments.

4. Paperwork, files and project plans give you a headache

We know that IT managers have enough on their plate related to managing software and hardware for the enterprise. Look for an enterprise-class appliance that offers centralized management, reporting and client software deployment that can save time and reduce complexity.

5. Bolt-on products

When it comes to determining if loosely integrated bolt-ons to existing software or hardware are worth the time spent to manage disparate point products, chances are that lack of deep integration is going to cause you some serious headaches (and probably waste a lot of money).

Team members who are satisfied with a particular piece of software or hardware typically tend to look at these bolt-on point products without taking into account the disruption and time needed to implement and manage them.In this case, consider a backup appliance that can be deployed in under an hour, and supports expanded functionality that enables the addition of options like snapshot management, email archiving, endpoint data protection or operational analytics.

Backup appliances might not be the right option for all enterprise IT departments, but it’s clear that the right appliance can provide multiple benefits. Before making a decision, evaluate the five considerations above to determine what type of appliance will best cater to your specific needs. 

About the Author(s)

Robbie Wright

Virtualization & Cloud Computing Strategist, Commvault

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