By Charley McMaster and Jerome Wendt
Introduction The DCIG 2014-15 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide provides organizations the unique opportunity to review and evaluate the large number of backup appliances that represent more steps forward in the continuing effort to simplify 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 enterprises seek.
Integrated backup appliances have already been proven successful. But as this latest generation of appliances illustrate, organizations can expect an even better experience from backup appliances going forward. 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 are just some of the new features that these appliances boast.
Other areas where organizations will also see changes in backup appliances from the previous
DCIG 2012 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 this 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, 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.