Purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) – highly tuned, turnkey backup solutions that have preconfigured hardware, interconnects, interfaces, and software – are gaining popularity as the persistent growth of data continues to put pressure on protection and recovery processes. PBBAs, and especially integrated PBBAs, offer storage administrators some respite, with data deduplication capabilities to optimise capacity, the software to manage and move the data, and ease of configuration and use. The CapEx and OpEx savings, compared to using build-your-own or point solutions, are significant.
Global market forecasts seem to agree. According to IDC, the worldwide PBBA market is set to grow from revenues of $2,4 billion in 2011 to almost $6 billion in 2016, with target or open system PBBAs that offer deduplication but use third-party software for backup data management and software, being fast overtaken by sales of integrated PBBAs.
Data growth is being fuelled by use of new applications, the creation of electronic document stores, document sharing and regulation-driven preservation of digital records. In addition, the proliferation of virtualisation is impacting network resources for backup and adding to backup management complexity. This has seen the evolution of backup processes from tape to Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) and now PBBA systems. The big drivers for businesses in terms of adoption of PBBAs are the same as they were for uptake of previous iterations of storage technology and process advances, namely the need to improve backup window time, provide faster restore and recovery, and enable seamless integration with existing backup applications.
PBBAs can support multiple interfaces, including network attached storage (NAS), virtual tape library (VTL), open system and vendor specific interfaces. But there are choices to be made that directly impact CapEx and OpEx.
Target PBBAs can be used in heterogeneous environments but do not include backup software for data movement, scheduling, and/or media management. A typical backup solution would be built from component parts and would include a server, operating system (OS), backup software and storage. This could involve the integration of four or more different vendor or OEM solutions.
IDC expects the overall PBBA market to grow five times faster than the external disk market and four times faster than the total general-purpose disk and software markets used for data protection and recovery. PBBA solutions are proven, with many vendors into their second and third generation of PBBA offerings. For many organisations, and especially mid to large sized businesses, it may be time to investigate options.
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