Tips for Backup Appliance Selection

By Drew Robb

6. Give Emphasis to Deduplication

There are many technologies rolled into the latest PBBAs. But deduplication should probably be given the most attention as it has a big impact on capacity requirements and the amount of time IT has to spend dealing with backup administration and other tasks. So pay attention to the actual dedupe rates you can get from a prospective appliance.

“Not all deduplication technology is created equal, and maximizing your dedupe rates means minimizing your cost,” said Gordon. “This requires a combination of: the right dedupe technology and the ability to consolidate as many protection workloads on a single platform as possible.”

7. Look for Simplicity

A data protection solution should make your life easier—not make more work for the people managing your environment. If it doesn’t simplify the process by providing all of the components necessary to complete the backup process, proceed with caution.

“Look to simplify whenever possible, especially by consolidating point products,” said Phil Wandrei, senior manager, product marketing at Veritas. “While point products can be great to address an immediate or short-term problem, over time they can become a time drain on your staff. Consider a backup solution that has the flexibility to consolidate point products when they are due to be refreshed (such as build-your-media servers, VTLs, dedupe storage, etc.).”

8. Validate for Enterprise Scale

Scalability is crucial. Maybe a candidate appliance can scale reasonably well. But what happens when storage demands increase by 10 times? This isn’t unrealistic when you look at trends such as Big Data, mobility, the Internet of Everything and more.

“We often hear customers lament that their solution does not scale when they need it to 12 to 18 months after purchase,” said Wandrei. “While they did a proof of concept, and it met their initial needs, it no longer is able to handle the data growth and backup and recovery performance suffers.”

9. Look at Licensing

Many take into account overall storage capacity growth and hardware needs. But licensing costs may sometimes be missed during the selection costs. Therefore, it is wise to ensure you understand your software and hardware licensing commitments, and forecast these expenses about five years ahead.

“While it is easy to do a three-year budget over the life of the product, the greater insight comes when it is time to refresh the hardware,” said Wandrei. “In addition, check if the software license is transferable, how retention rates or the number of copies may impact licensing, and if it is based on front-end or backup-end capacity.”

10. Remember the Applications and Where They Are Heading

It’s a good idea to understand where your business applications will be running a few years from the time you purchase a PBBA.

“Perhaps you have some applications in the cloud now and some on premises in both physical and virtual instances, which will most likely change over the next couple of years,” said Tony Liau, senior PMM, data protection solutions, Barracuda. Make sure your backup solution can protect all the legacy physical environments, the virtual servers you have deployed in the last three-to-five years, and the cloud infrastructure that is surely coming.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on April 28, 2016

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