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A Modern Day Twist on Backup Appliances

July 3, 2012

Summary

Symantec's end-to-end, integrated approach to backup appliances reduces complexity, decreases data protection costs, and helps enterprises keep pace with the information explosion.
With big data, virtualization, and 24/7 business environments knocking on the door of IT, organizations are looking at more sophisticated backup and recovery requirements, yet they are often armed with a set of tools and practices that are too costly, complex and cumbersome to meet emerging needs.
According to a Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) report, "The Modernization of Data Protection," existing data footprints, coupled with steadily increasing data volumes is challenging existing backup and recovery strategies, prompting IT organizations to consider changes to streamline operations and rein in costs. The survey, of 330 IT professionals familiar with or responsible for data protection solutions, highlighted a range of issues around backup, the principal ones being cost (14%), the need to reduce backup times (9%), keeping pace with the capacity of data to protect (8%), and backup hardware costs (7%).¹
One increasingly sought after solution to the problem is a dedicated backup appliance. In much the same way virtualization is sweeping through the data center as a means of consolidating server and storages resources, combining backup hardware and software in an integrated appliance can simplify management as well as promote faster provisioning of resources—key benefits that can aid both large and mid-size enterprises in driving costs out of backup processes and achieving consistency in meeting Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The ESG study also confirmed rising interest in integrated computing platforms. Thirty-seven percent of the 611 respondents said they were interested or very interested in integrated platforms driven by perceived benefits around simplified management, faster deployment, better TCO, improved interoperability and performance, and streamlined service and support.

Too many tools breeds complexity

Traditionally, companies have taken a very different path. A recent Symantec survey of more than 1,400 IT professionals revealed that the majority of companies employ as many as seven different data protection solutions, typically four used to protect physical systems and three to back up virtual systems. This mix of tools is creating quite a management headache for IT organizations, with one-third of respondents reporting that backup and recovery takes too long and they are understaffed to handle the complexity around systems.
As part of its strategy to drive out 80% of the operating costs associated with backup, Symantec is offering a different take on the enterprise backup appliance. Most offerings in this category are deduplication appliances, which means their principal focus is to reduce storage needs by eliminating redundant data through special intelligent compression techniques and applying those techniques solely at the target. The offerings typically serve as the behind-the-scenes player to the actual backup server, which orchestrates the logistics of backup and recovery. More often than not, the two solutions are provided by different vendors, which compounds the management and support headache for IT.
In contrast, Symantec's approach is to deliver an end-to-end backup appliance, integrating the backup software and intelligent end-to-end deduplication into a single offering provided by and supported by one point of contact. Symantec's approach to deduplication is also different. It delivers deduplication "everywhere" as needed, at the source, media server, or target, helping to decrease storage requirements while bolstering backup performance.
The newest member of Symantec's integrated backup appliance lineup is the NetBackup 5220, which comes in a 2U rack-mountable form factor, is built around Symantec's leading NetBackup 7.5 backup software, and comes standard with 4TB of capacity in a RAID-6 configuration. Its counterpart, the NetBackup 5020, is a more traditional, global deduplication appliance, designed specifically to work with NetBackup and Backup Exec software, and delivering a scalable, global deduplication pool from 32TB up to 192TB of useable capacity.

The NetBackup Value Proposition

The NetBackup 5220's end-to-end approach to integrated backup appliances delivers a range of benefits, including:
  • Reduces the cost of data protection. By combining the OS, backup, deduplication, and storage into a single appliance, enterprises have less hardware and software to purchase and administer and only one vendor to call on for support. In addition, the fully integrated approach expedites installation and deployment of the solution for both virtual and physical environments, ensures easy system management using the existing NetBackup administration console, and streamlines patches and firmware updates.
  • Manages the information explosion. The Symantec Intelligent End-to-End Deduplication feature automatically selects the optimal deduplication algorithm, resulting in storage savings for backups as high as 99.4%. Moreover, deduplication is performed at the source and/or the target, depending on need, and enterprises can change the configuration on-the-fly. With scalability another key requirement for enterprises with growing information management needs, the NetBackup 5220 can scale to 72TB of usable capacity and if a larger global deduplication pool is necessary, it can scale to 192TB through the implementation of up to six NetBackup 5020 Deduplication Appliances. Symantec also offers a flexible licensing program for the NetBackup 5220, which allows for predictable budgeting and control over costs as data volumes surge. With transferable software licensing, the NetBackup appliance is ideal for refreshing existing media servers.
  • Modernizes backup architecture. Symantec's integrated backup appliances deliver the essential building blocks for data protection and help address today's dynamic storage and backup requirements. Via capabilities like V-Ray technology for visibility into virtual environments and VMware backup without proxy servers, the Symantec NetBackup appliances deliver efficiencies for backing up remote offices or the data center, protect both virtual and physical environments, deliver support for heterogeneous clouds, and facilitate a move from tape-dependent backups to disk backup.
To learn more about Symantec's strategy for driving 80% of the costs out of backup, download this white paper, Key Considerations in Modernizing Your Backup and Deduplication Solutions. Check out these videos to discover the business value of the NetBackup end-to-end solutions, and hear what customers are saying about Symantec's modern take on integrated backup appliances.
  • ¹Enterprise Strategy Group Research Brief, Integrated Computing Trends, March 2011

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