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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

The Benefits of a Backup Appliance Approach

Selection criteria must include interoperability across the operating system, tape drive, disk and backup restore software. Each of these also requires different warranties and support.
An effective and economical backup appliance must include all the hardware, software and integration of a backup solution in one appliance.
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By John Pearring

No question about it—electronic imaging generates massive sets of valuable data. Traditionally, companies needing complete data protection (that is, backup, archive and disaster recovery) purchased each component they needed separately. But purchasing these components separately can be expensive. They purchased the software and hardware to do the job, then had to integrate all of it.

As the amount of storage increases in imaging environments, so does the cost to manage the storage. According to one study by Strategic Research Corp., typical general-market organizations spend more than $350,000 annually on storage management. The same study found that the average cost grew by 27 percent in one year alone, principally for four reasons:

  • Lost user productivity—from time spent manually managing storage space, "out of disk space" conditions, and locating lost files,
  • Lost administrator productivity—from time spent dispatching user requests for restores and scheduling backups and recoveries,
  • Lost organizational productivity—from storage failures that prevent access to crucial data, and
  • Maintenance and repair expenses.

The cost components to storage management include managing file structures and assuring adequate storage capacity, lost productivity due to storage unavailability and corruption, and administrative tasks such as capacity management, backup, restore, archiving, installation, fault handling and reconfiguration. Each network user and administrator must spend time out of every week managing network storage data organization and computers.

Unfortunately, data stored on disk drives can be lost too easily. The National Archives & Records Administration in Washington reports that 93 percent of companies they surveyed that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. Fifty percent of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately.

Simplify Storage Needs

An all-in-one backup appliance, which includes everything from disks and tape libraries, to software, to the case it's all housed in, allows companies to retrieve both their backup and archived information within minutes. Backup copies of data are stored on disk and/or tape within the appliance, and archived data can be stored on local shelves, near-line storage, or also in the appliance. Disaster recovery capabilities in a backup appliance keep an off-site copy of both the backups and archives, allowing the backups and archives to remain on-site. Traditional backup and recovery products typically don't offer online data retrieval, making immediate access to saved information next to impossible.

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