What Makes a Good Backup Appliance – Part 1 of 3

In general, I am a fan of data protection appliances (DPAs), noting that purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) are just one of four categories of DPAs that are in market today.  Read more about the four categories of DPAs in my earlier blog.


ESG is in fact just finishing up some research on the various DPAs in the market, along with their current and future usage trends, buying criteria, feature differentiation, etc. One of the more interesting points of data from that upcoming report has to do with increasing preference of PBBAs after initial adoption.  Of those respondents that use PBBAs (turnkey backup software plus storage within a single device), approximately 53% of backup jobs (the work itself) are currently done by PBBAs over self-built backup servers today; with 67% expected in the future.


In other words, once an IT organization starts using PBBAs, they like them even more. In fact, based on interviews that I conducted last year, there are only two reasons why IT professionals change from appliances after adoption:

  1. The backup software within the appliance is no longer suitable, which is another way of saying that it lacks the features or some other capability. If the software isn’t good on its own, putting it in an appliance doesn’t help.
  2. The appliance runs out of expanded capacity, after which the customer is forced to deploy self-built backup servers (physical or virtual) and then connect it to a dedicated storage array with deduplication.

Interestingly enough, both of these are merely vendor design considerations. If the appliance vendor wants to ensure the software stays relevant, invest in protecting those new workloads early. If the appliance vendor wants to maintain customer satisfaction with the form-factor, ensure it is easily expandable in both capacity and processing power.

Not only do 64% of organizations use PBBA’s somewhere in their environments today, but another 29% either “plan to” or “are interested” in doing so in the foreseeable future.

Later this week, I’ll continue this blog with my perspectives of “What makes a good PBBA?”

As always, thanks for reading.

[Originally blogged via ESG’s Technical Optimist.com]

Leave a Reply