Guest Column | March 19, 2014

The Insider's Guide to Evaluating Integrated Backup Appliance Solutions

Managed Services, Backup and Recovery, And Networking News From October 2014

By Jerome Wendt, president and lead analyst, DCIG, LLC

Integrated backup appliances have spent the last few years illustrating that they are another step in the evolution of data backup and recovery. Combining the reliability and familiarity of physical server hardware, the increased throughput that memory, SSDs and 10 gigabyte Ethernet and/or FC networks provide, plus throwing in virtualization and deduplication capabilities for good measure, integrated backup appliances make deploying and implementing backup in enterprise environments easier and faster than ever before.

Data protection is an essential, yet laborious and time-consuming task that every organiza­tion must perform. Organizations capture, store, and retain more types of data for longer periods of time than ever before. Identifying the right hardware and software, rounding up the manpower to implement it, and managing and supporting the solution over the long-term can tie up even the best IT teams. Integrated backup appliances address all of these challenges by providing a customizable, self-contained solution that are available in numer­ous form factors to give customers the many choices they now need for the various environments into which they are deployed.

By offering such a simple, effective solution, integrated backup appliances have placed their finger directly on a problem organizations have dealt with for years, and it shows. IDC recently released a study saying integrated backup appliances experienced 7 percent year-over-year growth in 2013.

As integrated backup appliances have gained in popularity, providers are stepping up their game, coupling greater storage capacity and increased appliance performance with deeper customer support and broader data recovery guarantees. The result is an all-in-one data protection service that eliminates the need for organizations to build their own backup solu­tions using a myriad of hardware, software, and providers. Yet as integrated backup appliances have become more robust, they have also become easier to use, too.

Integrated backup appliances may never be fully “plug and play,” but they are coming much closer to the “plug it in, turn it on, and it’s good to go” ideal that organizations want. These appliances bundle backup software with the needed hardware that come with the management capabilities to quickly deploy backup and restore policies in an enterprise environment.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the many backup appliance options available. To help prioritize the choices, resellers can assist prospective buyers in answering the following questions:

  • Are fast backups a necessity?
  • Does the organization have a highly virtualized environment?
  • Are multiple types of deduplication necessary?
  • How much data is there to back up?
  • Is this appliance going into a remote or branch office?
  • Is quick recovery time a high priority?
  • Is there a need to replicate data off-site to one or more locations?

Answers to these questions will influence which backup appliance is the best choice for their environment.

Jerome Wendt is president and lead analyst of DCIG LLC, an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. DCIG is a group of analysts with IT industry expertise who provide informed, insightful, third party analysis and commentary on IT technology. DCIG independently develops and licenses access to DCIG Buyer’s Guides and IBG. DCIG also develops sponsored content in the form of blog entries, case studies, head-to-head product reports, special reports and white papers.

“To download DCIG’s 2014-15 Integrated Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, visit”