Talk all you want about the different features and functions found in backup software. If an IT administrator in a small and midsize enterprise (SME) thinks about backup at all it is in the context of “How easy is it to get it to work?” and “How much does it cost?” However, calculating any backup software’s ease of configuration and price is tricky at best. That’s why backup appliances such as the Revinetix Sentio, that includes all needed backup software features and only charges based upon the amount of capacity purchased, simplifies this buying decision for many SMEs.
The attitude that IT administrators within SMEs exhibit towards backups is simple to understand: they do NOT want to think about it. I recently had a conversation with one such IT administrator who is responsible for four data centers, numerous remote sites, 15 VMware ESX servers, about 200 VMs running Windows, a virtual desktop deployment, his company’s disaster recovery (DR) plan and backup.
So when I asked him questions such as “What his deduplication ratios were?” and “How much backup data he was moving over his WAN on a nightly basis?” he paused and said, “I don’t know and, to a certain degree, I don’t really care. All I know is that using disk as a backup target makes my backups work and I don’t have to think about them anymore plus I now have a handle on my costs.”
He went on to explain that when he selected his solution there were four criteria that it had to satisfy:
- Make it easy to implement
- Keep it easy to manage
- Stop my backup pain
- Don’t blow my budget
But what was interesting is that when I asked him which one was the single biggest feature that he prioritized above the rest, it was the last one: cost. Yes, he wanted all of the features that everyone reads and hears about – deduplication, disk-based backup, replication, support for multiple operating systems (Linux and Windows) and support for Microsoft applications and features such as Active Directory (AD), Exchange, SQL Server and Windows File Server. But if the backup software’s upfront and ongoing costs were too much, there was no way he could deploy it no matter how much money it saved him.
Further, his situation is representative of the difficulty that most SME IT administrators encounter. They do not have time to learn all of the intricacies associated with managing any one specific technology.
So, trying to arrive at the exact return on investment (ROI) that a specific technology will provide to their business is a bit like trying to read a crystal ball. They often do not have sufficient in-depth information (such as what type or how much data they have, how well their applications are performing, or the success rates of their applications backups) to make an informed decision.
Since they have no way to accurately quantify their current environment, they cannot document what financial benefits a specific new technology will provide to their business. So when they hear that they can achieve a 20:1 deduplication ratio or replicate all of their data offsite, it is interesting but secondary to what they are seeking to accomplish first. Many, if not most, are looking to end their backup pain (which usually entails replacing tape with disk as their primary backup target) and then keeping the upfront and ongoing costs of the solution within budget.
This is where turnkey solutions like Revinetix Sentio come into play. It provides the key technologies that will have the immediate positive impact that SME IT administrators want and which their management will understand. The Revinetix Sentio backup appliance includes:
- Backup software. SMEs often suffer from having a myriad of backup software products as well as applications that go unprotected for a lack of funds. The Revinetix Sentio comes with its own backup software, RevOS, that can be used on as many application servers and desktop clients as the SME may have without incurring additional cost. This allows SMEs to standardize on it and eliminate the licensing costs of other backup software products that they may own.
- Disk-based backup. If there is any one ingredient that has become a key to successfully completing backups and recoveries, it is the use of disk as the primary target for both backup and recovery. Revinetix Sentio natively supports disk with storage capacity on its models ranging from configurations with as little as 500 GB of storage to as high as 70 TBs.
- Microsoft application support. Sentio natively includes backup agents for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server as well as offers AD and Windows file server support.
- Deduplication. Storing data to disk only remains affordable and practical over time if data is deduplicated. The Sentio appliance includes this feature that is critical to disk-based backup.
- Replication. SMEs are tired of DR plans that entail moving tapes in the backseats of their cars. Storing backup data on disk opens the door for them to automatically replicate data offsite. Using Revinetix’ byte-level replication, SMEs can replicate data to another offsite Revinetix appliance or, if they do not have a secondary site, copy data to an external hard drive or even a USB thumb drive.
But what makes the Revinetix solution so valuable is that SMEs get all of these features when they acquire the Sentio appliance. Since Revinetix licenses by capacity and not by the features that are utilized, users are not forced to guess which features they might most benefit from and then pay for them. Instead, Revinetix provides them with all of the features that they need up front and then only charges them based upon the actual amount of capacity that they use, which its deduplication feature helps to minimize.
IT administrators in SMEs are excited as anyone else about the recent enhancements in backup technologies. But, at the end of the day, they do not have time to build a business case for individual technologies as they can only afford to implement the technologies that they can afford, which are easy to implement and manage and solve their immediate backup pain.
This is what the Revinetix Sentio is designed to do. It delivers the simplicity and ease of use that SMEs need in order to solve their immediate backup pain, it keeps backups from again becoming a pain after its deployment and is licensed in such a way that they have access to all of the features that they need without it blowing their budget.