That bowl must be better!

This is my fifth excerpt from my Deduplication Devices Are Backup Appliances, the Check Is in the Mail and Other Lies whitepaper. Download the full whitepaper for instant gratification.

In previous postings, we’ve discussed that a backup appliance should have at the bare minimum: an integrated platform, integrated functionality, ease of installation, ease of use, and integrated support.  But if these are the bare basics, then what constitutes a better backup appliance?

The four features that make up a better backup appliance are:

  • Scalability
  • Obsessive focus on total cost of ownership
  • Heterogeneity
  • Resistance to attack

In this posting, we’re going to discuss just scalability and obsessive focus on total cost of ownership and save the last two features for next time.


A better backup appliance should be scalable.  Of course, all vendors note that their products are scalable – it’s kind of like saying “new and improved.”  So, you need to dig a little deeper and understand what they mean when they say “scalable.”  The primary attributes of backup appliance scalability are that these devices should allow you to scale your backup, both in terms of the amount of data that is protected as well as the retention of that data. You should also still be able to manage your backups via a single pane of glass web-based user interface.

You should also make sure that your scalability consists of not only your backup storage but your complete backup process.  Quite often, when you dig behind the covers of the quoted “ingest rate” of an appliance, you’ll find that backup appliance vendors are not talking about the complete backup process but only one aspect of it.  For example, deduplication device vendors talk about their ingest rates as if that were the backup ingest rate. However, the ingest rate of a storage device isn’t the same as the ingest rate of the full-stream backup itself since that backup must first go to the backup server before it goes to the storage device.

Obsessive Focus on Total Cost of Ownership

You should also make sure that the vendor of your backup appliance is just as focused on decreasing your capital and operational expenditure as you are.  Assuming that the backup appliance is properly designed and licensed, the existence and quality of the vendor’s integrated support is the primary factor here.

Remember, if you don’t want to wait until the next posting to read about the remaining two features, you can download my free whitepaper here.