As DCIG prepares to release a number of Buyer’s Guides on Midrange Deduplication Backup Appliances in the next few weeks, we thought we would share some of our observations that came out of our evaluation of these products. Like all Buyer’s Guides that DCIG prepares, it did a comprehensive review of available deduplicating backup appliances in anticipation of releasing these Guides. As it did so, it uncovered that deduplication itself has moved well beyond the breakthrough technology that it was a decade or so ago to provide an assortment of features there leaves plenty for organizations to consider when buying one of these appliances.
It can sound so easy to back up to the cloud. Just plug in a backup appliance and it does all of the work. While there is an element of truth to that, there are certain steps organizations should take to ensure they are getting the results they expect when implementing a backup appliance that backs up to the cloud. In this third and final segment of my interview series with STORServer’s Jarrett Potts, we discuss best practices for backing up to the cloud and recommend some steps that organizations should take to maximize backup and recovery times while minimizing costs.
Backup and the cloud are becoming increasingly linked as they solve two issues that have plagued organizations for years: automating the movement of data offsite and providing a cost-effective means to store it there. But just because one can back up to the cloud does not mean all solutions do so equally well. In this first part of an interview series with STORServer’s Jarrett Potts, we examine what specific features a solution needs to offer to effectively back up to the cloud as well as how the solution needs to be constructed.
The good news from an organizational perspective is that when looking for a backup appliance there is a wide range of them from which to choose. That is also the bad news. Having so many choices behooves organizations to first understand their particular needs before selecting a backup appliance.
Over the last few years backup appliances have emerged as one of the hottest trends in data protection. Yet with these appliances coming to prominence so quickly and so many of them now available from which organizations may choose, it is easy for us who have been in the storage industry to forget that many are learning about backup appliances for the first time. So today I’d thought I would dedicate a blog entry to explaining just exactly what problems backup appliances solve and then some factors to consider when selecting one.
Mention the year 2008 or 2009 to almost any person and it almost inevitably elicits a negative reaction in terms of how those years were from a business perspective. However as DCIG renews its annual tradition of reflecting back on what blog entries were most read on its website during the course of 2012, 2008 and 2009 emerged as very good years in terms of DCIG providing content that is still relevant and frequently read in 2012. Today and over the next four (4) business days, I will share what blog entries garnered the most attention on DCIG’s website in 2012.
This past week I received an email from someone asking for my help in their process of buying a backup appliance. This individual had just downloaded the DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide but, due to the number of models included in the Buyer’s Guide (over 60), was looking for some recommendations from me as to which one to buy. While I sent this individual a list of backup appliances to look at more closely, it brought to my attention that there are five questions every organization should ask and answer before buying a backup appliance.
DCIG has been producing Buyer’s Guides since 2010 and every time it produces one, new information comes to its attention. This information sometimes forces DCIG to adjust how it prepares a particular Buyer’s Guide to include how it scores and ranks products in it to properly and accurately reflect our findings. In preparing the 165-page DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, DCIG encountered such an anomaly in that it felt compelled for the first time to introduce and assign an “Enterprise” ranking to one of the backup appliances covered in the Buyer’s Guide.
DCIG is pleased to announce the availability of its inaugural 160+ page DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks over 80 features on more than 60 different backup appliances from 13 different storage providers. This Buyer’s Guide addresses the growing demand that organizations of all sizes have for purpose built backup appliances that are specifically designed and tuned to protect consolidated physical and virtual IT infrastructures.
Recently I have had number of engaging conversations regarding how backup management is evolving. On the upside, many of the challenges associated with managing backup are definitely on the decline. But there are aspects of managing backup that are probably never going away and which every size organization needs to be prepared to manage indefinitely.
A little over two (2) years ago I did an interview with ExaGrid System’s CEO Bill Andrews about the same time that EMC and NetApp were engaged in a bidding war over Data Domain. In that interview Andrews expressed concern about EMC winning the battle for Data Domain and how that might negatively impact ExaGrid. But as EMC and ExaGrid both respectively announced overwhelmingly positive numbers this week, it turns out that EMC’s acquisition of Data Domain has served both companies well.
About a month ago I started to put some thought and research into what might emerge as the top trends of 2012 by keeping a notebook next to my keyboard so as ideas struck me I could jot them down. Now as I look at the four trends that made today’s short list, they ended up being on the surface ones that I hear, write and talk about every day.
Using the “cloud” for backup is the primary context in which people think about the cloud when asked about it. Yet if forced to list what features an “enterprise cloud-based backup provider” offers, it is questionable if one could do so. So as DCIG prepares to release its inaugural Buyer’s Guide in 2012 on Enterprise Cloud-based Backup products, one of its first tasks was to define what constitutes an “enterprise cloud-based backup” offering.
Today DCIG and SMB Research are pleased to jointly announce the availability of a new, comprehensive DCIG 2011 Midrange Deduplication Appliance Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks over 30 deduplication appliances with starting prices that range from $20,000 to $100,000. This Buyer’s Guide gives small, medium and large enterprises the resources they need to assist them in making what is becoming a critical buying decision: selecting a disk-based solution that deduplicates their backup data.
A couple of weeks ago I was getting a briefing on Atempo Live Navigator regarding its deduplication and near-CDP features that are specifically targeted for desktops, laptops and file servers. But since that conversation, it struck me that CDP and near-CDP technologies have been around for years which got me to thinking. Why is it that traditional approaches to backup persist even as arguably better approaches to data protection such as CDP and near-CDP struggle to get traction?
Regardless of whose numbers or what percentages you believe, it is clear that the adoption rate of server virtualization is accelerating with more organizations virtualizing their production application servers than ever before. But as this occurs, new demands are being placed on data protection solutions to more efficiently and quickly complete VMware virtual machine (VM) backups. To meet this emerging end-user requirement, EMC Avamar 6.0 has enhanced its virtual proxy server pooling capabilities to better automate and simplify the scheduling and management of VM backups.
Over the last few months I have been talking to a number of end-users about their implementations of deduplication technology. In the process of doing so, they have provided me with valuable insight into how they are implementing deduplication when using disk-based targets that deduplicate data. Based upon that feedback it appears that most are adhering to the following five guidelines as they implement deduplication in their environments.
Over the last few months I have been doing a series of interviews with end users and then preparing more formalized DCIG case studies based upon these interviews. In these particular instances, all of the end users have been EMC Data Domain users but what I have found particularly intriguing in my conversations with these end users is that while “data deduplicaton” initially grabs their attention, after EMC Data Domain gets implemented, it simply becomes the icing on the backup to disk cake.
In the last few years more backup software vendors have abandoned traditional methods of software licensing that is based upon the total numbers of applications, CPUs, servers or some combination thereof. Instead they switching to a capacity based software licensing model where users get all of their product’s software features and then only pay a monthly or annual fee based upon the total amount of storage capacity consumed.
The combination of cloud computing, cloud storage, inexpensive hardware, virtualization and heightened user demands for near real time backup and recovery are creating a crisis in traditional backup methodologies. It is a crisis in the sense that there is no way any emerging virtualized data center is going to find that how these backups work and are managed even slightly acceptable in the very near future. This suggests that in 2011 the transformation in backup that many have predicted will occur and it will go well beyond just deduplicating backup data stored to disk.