Backup appliances are meant for data protection, especially for SMBs and for branch office use. These appliances generally have backup software preloaded onto a hardware device with built-in storage media like SSDs and Hard drives.
Conventionally, IT organizations often opt for backup solutions using a backup application, a server and a target media. In this method, greatest level of flexibility can be achieved. However, it requires staff members to have in-depth knowledge of hardware components and the backup software.
What are the backup appliance features?
Nowadays, most companies are offering backup appliances in their catalog, which are generally, simply disk storage arrays that integrate with common backup software. In this article, we will discuss about products which provide the hardware and the software as an integrated package.
A good example is StoneFly Z-Series of DR Backup Appliance. It supports data duplication, and is pre-packed with StoneFly 365 software and can support up to 1PB disk storage. The pre-packaging of StoneFly 365 removes the need for the customer to be concerned with the deployment, configuration, and ongoing management of an OS on the appliance
Things to be followed when selecting a data backup appliance product:
Vaulting – An effective backup appliance should encompass on-site and off-site backups, which is called vaulting. Most solutions use tape for off-site vaulting, however, you should be considering tape cartridge capacities to see how they fit with the volume of data to be backed up.
Security/Encryption – In every backup scenario, encryption will be key and that includes media vaulted off-site. Therefore, opt for backup appliances which offer such encryption features on-board.
Connectivity and Throughput – Network connectivity will be key while taking backups. Therefore, look for appliances that offer fast connectivity and multiple connections. When comparing the performance of appliances, look at throughput figures that are usually expressed in terabytes (TB) per hour.
Management – A key benefit to installing a backup appliance is simplified management. Thus, while shopping for a backup appliance look for Web-based management GUIs that remove the need to deploy software locally. StoneFly, for example, provides web based management GUI for its range of backup appliances.
Data Dedup – This feature is being offered in almost all backup products today. It helps in identifying and removing duplicates of identical pieces of information, within the backup stream and can shrink backups by almost 80%. Data deduplication works best with disk solutions and is well-suited to backup appliances.
Users should however keep in mind, that because of the data reduction available with data deduplication, it is possible to hold many more backups on the same physical media (disk or tape) than is otherwise possible and that a failure in that media could result in a loss of all backup copies.
Branch to core consolidation – Nowadays, organizations are establishing businesses with many branch offices. Some start up small and then expand their business to branch offices. Thus, with dedicated IT equipment, backups can be deployed effectively using an appliance. As an additional security measure, those backups can also be replicated to a main or core data center.
Such centralization of backups provides greater resiliency and security compared with off-site media vaulting. But high-speed network connectivity is truly essential, and so may not be suitable in all locations.
Virtual backup appliances and the cloud – Some vendors like StoneFly offer Z series of backup appliances which have embedded hypervisor and this allows backed up VMs to be spun up directly on to the appliance. This feature is quite useful for business continuity for your production environment if a physical server or workstation goes down and needs to be repaired. Replica Virtual Machines can also be used for any testing the user might choose including non-invasive compliance testing.
StoneFly DR365 consolidates all of your server, storage, and backup systems into one easy to manage appliance with central management console for handling all backup operations.
StoneFly DR365 Fusion Cluster DR Backup Appliance offers hyper-converged backup and disaster recovery high-availability appliance that provides you with a total backup solution for all of your physical and virtual servers and workstations in a single box.
StoneFly Z Series DR Backup Appliance provides you with a total backup solution for all of your physical and virtual servers and workstations in a single box. Manage all of your backup operations for your datacenter or office with a single central management console.
StoneFly M-Series DR Backup Appliance provides you with a total backup solution for all of your physical and virtual servers and workstations in a single affordable mini-tower.