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Data Center Backup Appliances-What to Look For

You won’t see an infomercial about them on late-night T.V., but data center backup appliances are nevertheless selling like hotcakes. As there is more and more data to manage, backing up that data efficiently is more and more important. While tape backups are still common and are popular in certain sectors because of their low cost, more and more organizations are realizing that their competitive advantage lies in their data. We expect 100% uptime in our own organizations and in those we deal with. Effective backup and recovery is essential for that to occur.

Security factors are important, like at-rest and in-flight encryption. More people are asking themselves “Are my backups really working? Will I actually be able to restore from them? Does the current state of my backup and recovery process mean that if I ever have to use them my job is on the line?” In addition, in certain industries there are more regulations about archiving files for extended time periods and a need for compliance reporting about electronic data storage.

If you are reviewing backup appliance solutions, here are some factors to consider:

Speed — Backup appliances have to be able to keep up with the speed at which data is being created.

Scalability – Will the solution grow along with your data? Multi-use—Can the appliance be used for or integrated with solutions for long-term backups/archives?

Flexibility — If anything is constant in the IT business, it’s change. Consider how the solution will fit into your current environment and how it might adapt to changing connectivity standards and the like.

Encryption — It seems there is a story in the news every day about a serious data breach involving a well-known organization. Most backup appliances offer encryption options for data in flight and data at rest to keep backups secure.

Deduplication — Most backup appliances use some form of deduplication to reduce the size of the data before it is backed up. Most backup appliance vendors publish a deduplication stat or two. A caveat – different types of data respond better to the deduplication process than others, so comparing these numbers can be like comparing persimmons and kumquats. Your experience may vary.

Data integrity — After your data is sliced, diced, smooshed and then re-fluffed, is it the same data? Different appliance manufacturers employ different techniques to ensure physical integrity of the data throughout its life cycle.

EMC’s Data Domain appliance is the market-share leader selling over 60% of PBBA’s by revenue in Q4 2014, according to IDC. Symantec and IBM are in the number two and number three. If you are considering PBBA solutions, contact us. We can help you find the right one for your organization.

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