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Backup Appliances
Hardware Meets Software

What Are the Benefits of a Data Backup Appliance?

"Appliance": Many people will immediately think of kitchen devices when they hear the word, but appliances in terms of IT are certainly worthwhile and come with a whole array of benefits. To give you an impression of data backup appliances, our expert will use the example of “e-readers versus tablets” to demonstrate why it is a great idea to deploy software that focuses on specific areas of use.

The meaning and benefits of appliances

It’s not immediately apparent what the word “appliance” means in an IT context. It describes preconfigured, integrated systems comprising hardware and software. Usually they are designed and optimized for use in a particular scenario and do not reveal their true complexity to the user.

E-books are a handy example from everyday life. In this case, the defined scenario is to enable users to read print products, e.g. books or magazines, that are stored in an electronic form. Of course this would be possible with a standard tablet as well. But then the user would have to accept a couple of drawbacks: The surface reflection is high, it’s tough on the battery, the text is barely legible in sunlight and the background has too much glare in the dark. What’s more, people who are not exactly supremely confident digital natives are confused by the notifications, apps, settings and lots of other things … This is where optimization specifically for reading gets involved. Our reading appliance is now tailored to accommodate one specific purpose, while still remaining complex in regard to its content. It consists of hardware (server, storage and network components), a particular operating system and a limited number of applications (software). Our appliance is energy-efficient, easy on the eyes for reading, simple to operate and comes with a manageable range of features, all of which are intended to fulfil the designated purpose.

The IT landscape has all kinds of specialized appliances for any conceivable application and requirement. The following are just examples: Security, UTM, backup, archiving or data analysis. These preconfigured out-of-the-box systems come with a raft of benefits:

  • quick setup and maximum operating security
  • calculable costs
  • low service requirements
  • reduction to a single partner for support cases
  • certification for standard business applications

Backup and its challenges

The challenges associated with backup can be addressed in the same way as in our example of a reading appliance. The clearly defined business continuity policy demands the design of a backup strategy for the organization’s proprietary datacenter. The challenges quickly become complex. Among other things, it is necessary to configure – and possibly invest in – the hardware, optimize the network and select and then test the most suitable backup software. A compounding factor is that, unlike other processes that only impact certain areas, backup and recovery affect the entire IT environment. Things can soon get critical when components need to be combined in a continuously changing datacenter environment, without the people in charge being fully aware of the ramifications. The IT employees need time and specialized knowledge to implement backup – and above all to ensure successful recovery – in an environment that comprises a multitude of different applications and operating systems.

Appliances: A way out of the complexity trap

In an ideal world, all components will work together smoothly, installation and configuration will go without a hitch, and your IT employees are available and technically up to speed at all times. In reality, though, you are forced to struggle with economy drives, staff shortages, procurement strategies, restructuring and all kinds of other adversities.

So maybe you should make life easier on yourself for once, by buying an e-book reader instead of using a tablet?

An appliance that is designed for your specific requirements will combine simplification in deployment and workflows, as well as – ideally – easier and cost-optimized licensing.
 

Do you want to know more about Data Backup Appliances?

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