Disk-based backup is unequivocally on the rise in small and midsized businesses (SMBs). But as they transition from tape as their primary backup target, they do not necessarily want to abandon the benefits of tape nor immediately store their backup data in the cloud. Instead they want a product that meets today’s backup requirements while acting as a bridge to get them where they want to be in the future. The new Imation DataGuard backup appliance bridges this chasm.
A 2011 IDC survey of 162 organizations found that purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) are having an impact on the use of tape among SMBs. Among those organizations surveyed with fewer than 1000 employees, less than 20% of them plan to continue using tape indefinitely. The other 80+% were already either not using tape or in the process of reducing their reliance on it.
However SMBs introducing PBBAs into their environment do not necessarily want to forego the benefits that tape offers or immediately store all of their data in “the cloud.” Their need to move data offsite persists even as their interest to someday store data in the cloud is already piqued. So they need a PBBA that addresses their local backup challenges while positioning them for cloud-based backup.
This is the gap that the new Imation DataGuard bridges. The features that distinguish it from other competitive solutions and make it particularly well-suited for local backup while positioning them for backup to the cloud include:
- Both fixed and removable disk media. Almost every PBBA that ships today includes hard disk drives (HDDs) as a means to expedite backup and recovery. DataGuard is no different in this respect. However where the DataGuard differentiates itself is that it gives SMBs the opportunity to use fixed HDDs as well as removable HDDs (RDX media) as backup targets.
For example, the DataGuard T5R includes five (5) 3.5″ SATA HDDs and one (1) RDX dock while the DataGuard R4 includes four (4) SATA HDDs and five USB ports so external RDX docks may be optionally added on.
The fixed HDDs provide them with disk’s increased speed and reliability during backups and restores. The RDX media gives them the portability and infinite capacity features of tape as they may eject RDX cartridges that are full, take them off-site and replace them with empty ones.
- A file-based NAS interface for the RDX media. Using a NAS interface as a backup target is now almost universally supported among backup software and is the preferred way to implement disk-based backup in SMBs as it is both simple and easy to setup and configure. However what makes the DataGuard unique is that SMBs may configure the DataGuard to backup any file share directory to RDX.
- Replication software. One of the intended use cases for the DataGuard R4 is deployment at remote and branch offices that need to do backups but who also want to get out of the business of handling any backup media, be it disk or tape. By including replication software, the DataGuard R4 can replicate data either to either another R4 or, more likely, to a central T5R where the backup data may then optionally be moved off to RDX media for long term data retention and/or archival.
- Connectivity to cloud storage providers. In many of today’s PBBAs, cloud storage connectivity is an afterthought. No so with the new DataGuard appliance. It provides backup functionality to the cloud in addition to, or in place of, RDX for offsite data protection. Offering built-in connectivity to Amazon, Dropbox, and others, those SMBs who are ready to start integrating cloud storage into the backup strategy can do so to whatever degree they desire.
These two new Imation DataGuard appliances represent an important evolution in PBBAs. For the first time, SMBs get in a backup appliance the features that they most want now – disk-based backup, portability, and cloud storage that may be seamless integrated into their existing backup environment. It is by providing this mix of the best available backup features that SMBs can have a high degree of assurance that for whatever backup requirement that they have now or in the future, they may configure the Imation DataGuard to meet their specific needs.