Video Series on Data Protection Appliances – Part 1, Backup Appliances

In March 2015, ESG published its research report on the Shift toward Data Protection Appliances. In ESG’s taxonomy, there are four types of DPAs in market today.

For the next four Fridays, I’ll be releasing videos (about 4 minutes long each), detailing why each type of DPA is interesting, current and anticipated usage trends, etc. Why Fridays? Because Fridays deserve something easy, and DPAs offer all kinds of easy.

  • Backup Appliances make acquisition and deployment easy.
  • Deduplication Appliances make reducing backup/archive storage costs easy.
  • Cloud Gateway Appliances make adding cloud to your DP strategy easy.
  • Failover or BC/DR Appliances make resuming server functionality easy.

Here is part 1, looking closer at turnkey solutions, which many folks refer to as Purpose-built Backup Appliances (PBBAs):

Thanks for watching – and tune in next week for part 2 on Deduplication Storage Appliances.

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Jason Buffington. I’m the Senior Analyst at ESG covering data protection. We recently published a research report on the shift toward data protection appliances. As a reminder, data protection appliances, or DPAs, are more than just purpose-built backup appliances, PPBAs as some folks are used to calling them. In fact, PBBAs are just one of at least four DPA categories in use today, with the other categories being dedupe storage targets, cloud-gateways that are used for data protection, and BC/DR failover solutions. So, I recorded this series of videos to talk about each of the DPA types and what I found interesting in the research findings.

For this research, ESG defines a backup appliance as including both the backup software and storage capacity within the appliance for a turnkey solution. Backup appliances may or may not have dedupe disk, may or may not have cloud connectivity or some other distinguishing feature, but the key to the category is that the backup engine and some amount of storage is within the consolidated device. According to the research, 64% of organizations use backup appliances today with another 16% planning on using them and another 13% that are interested in them. That leaves only 8% of organizations that either don’t want PBBAs or don’t know. That also puts backup appliances as the predominant DPA type in market today, but even that isn’t the whole story.

To understand how pervasive backup appliances are, we asked those folks who are using backup appliances today as to their usage, specifically about the percentage of their backup jobs, the actual data protection work being done. What percentage of those backup jobs are being performed by backup appliances versus self-built backup servers today and how do they expect that to change over the next two years? Today, 53% of backup jobs are being performed by backup appliances. That’s over half, but usage is expected to rise to 67% within the next two years. Once an IT organization starts using backup appliances, they like them and will continue using them whenever possible. That last nugget actually comes from several interviews that I ran last year where I discovered that for most folks, once they start deploying those backup appliances, those devices have the bigger processors, the faster storage, the latest version of whatever backup engine they prefer, so they just keep adding more.

In fact, there seem to be only two reasons why those folks stop using an appliance after they start. One, the backup software engine stops being adequate, so it doesn’t protect this workload, doesn’t offer that recovery feature, whatever. And that makes sense because if the backup engine isn’t doing the job, putting it in an appliance won’t make it much better. Or reason number two, the backup appliance maxes out its disk space and can’t be expanded at which point the IT guy begrudgingly goes back to deploying their own backup server and using deduplicated storage appliances instead. In other words, as long as the backup vendor continues to innovate to ensure the engine’s relevance and deliver appliances that have room to grow as their customers grow, folks are going to keep discovering and loving backup appliances. But if those vendors don’t keep innovating or ensuring expansion, they are likely to see their market share erode as the other DPA categories continue gaining steam. And I’ll cover each of those DPAs in this video series as well. So stay tuned for more ESG coverage on data protection appliances and thanks for watching.

[Originally blogged via ESG’s Technical]

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