When you think of making breakfast in the morning one appliance stands out from the rest-- the coffee maker. Purpose-built, it’s clearly what you need to brew your own cup of java and get you started in the morning (other than a trip to your nearest coffee shop – which often takes more time and effort). The same is true for backup data – having a purpose built solution like a backup to disk appliance may be the best tool for the job of keeping and managing backup workloads.
When thinking through changes or ways to simplify the task of backing up data, specifically, and building a smarter backup in general, know what to look for in a deduplication backup appliance and consider the following five signs that your environment would benefit from the use of a backup appliance.
One – Your tape management and costs are getting out of control. If your organization finds it’s spending more time with each month and money to manage backup tapes, it may be time to reconsider that strategy. Backup to disk is faster, more convenient, and less prone to mechanical or human error. Tapes can still play a part in your overall strategy as archives, since many backup software products and appliances can write older data out to tape for long-term retention.
Two - Data growth is creating a crimp in your staff’s schedules. Imagine the possibilities of getting all the backups done and safely tucked away within the available time windows, thus allowing you and your staff more time to perform other tasks – and less stress. Using appliances that can handle backup workloads using performance accelerators that speed ingest of data can certainly help accomplish the jobs faster. The use of deduplication may decrease the amount of storage needed to hold the data by a factor of up to 15x.
Three - Backup is getting more complex by the minute. Managing backup streams coming from multiple servers, databases, applications and virtual machines on a constant basis can be a daunting task. A single backup appliance solution can be the target for all these backup jobs, safely managing the network bandwidth speed used to deliver data to the appliance and taking over the task of actually placing data on the appliance without manual intervention.
Four - Budgets are tight and getting tighter. While there is an initial capital outlay for dedupe appliances, in the long run such solutions can save money by dramatically decreasing the amount of storage capacity needed to protect data and recover as needed. Most customers see data reduction levels in the range of 10:1 or 15:1 as they store daily, incremental and full backups. For applications such as Exchange or Oracle databases, savings can mount up considerably over time. Scalable backup to disk appliances can start small and then be added to as needs demand to house hundreds of Terabytes of deduplicated and compressed data.
Five – Your organization is happy with their backup application but is feeling the pinch of data growth when it comes to backup storage. The good news is that most backup appliances on the market today can work with the backup application you’re using by communicating with the backup server/media server and acting as a target for the backup workloads. The appliance takes over the task of actually performing the deduplication and accommodates the data markers established by the backup application in use. The backup application actually controls the jobs while the appliance controls the data integrity by verifying data has been successfully ingested, deduped, and written to disk. Most appliances on the market also have performance accelerators integrated for use with the network protocols (OST, CIFS, NFS) utilized by the backup applications so that jobs can be accomplished faster – making your life easier.
So all in all, specialized backup to disk appliances should certainly be considered as a caffeinated way to perk up your organizations’ disaster recovery strategy (pun intended!). Of course the issues about planning changes to your disaster recovery strategy and the risks of not doing so can seem overwhelming. For more information about building a smarter backup without disrupting existing processes, read the whitepaper “Upset the Backup and Recovery Apple Cart Without Spilling the Apples.”