A refresh needed for Disk Backup Appliances

Backup has seen a lot change over the years. Disk has became the primary backup target instead of tape because of its speed and simplicity. And when vendors added deduplication it became even more cost effective. More recently, we’ve seen the rise of purpose built backup appliances (PBBAs) that leveraged different types of data reduction, including dedupe, and further simplified the backup infrastructure over dedicated backup servers and storage systems.

Now PBBAs are as popular as ever but they’re feeling the effects of changes in data sets being backed up and changes in the way companies are using those backups.

Mixed Use Cases

Companies are using backups like archives, keeping data sets for longer periods of time and expecting PBBAs to provide fast access to individual files. This kind of data retention is creating the need for much larger and more scalable storage systems than the traditional backup appliance was designed for.

In addition to archive, many backup systems are essentially providing a DR function as well by managing the replication of those files to a remote location. In this role, the backup system needs to provide data resiliency and better overall system uptime as well.

Pseudo-Primary Storage

This requirement to support multiple use cases has prompted a rethinking of enterprise disk backup system design. Moving forward, disk backup systems will need to scale much larger and maintain their economics as they grow, like primary storage. This may preclude the use of traditional RAID data protection, in favor of object storage and erasure coding technologies.

They’ll also need to provide better throughput, especially on file restores, and be designed for zero downtime, similar to the way primary storage is designed. As a long-term repository for data, these systems will also need to support capacity and performance upgrades without disrupting current operations.

Disk backup appliances need a design refresh. If they’re going to stay ahead of new demands being placed on them they may need to incorporate some of the characteristics of primary storage systems.

Sponsored by NEC

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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One comment on “A refresh needed for Disk Backup Appliances
  1. […] need from the backup storage appliance, often involving tape, to the primary storage device. Tape gave way to disk-based backup devices, improving the time to find the data to restore, but still had the […]

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