DCIG, LLC Announces Backup Appliance Buyer's Guide

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Growing Complexity of IT Infrastructures Highlight Value of Dedicated Backup Appliances to Handle Key Data Protection Functions

As the move to consolidate and virtualize IT infrastructures continues, the anticipated benefit that “less” promises is not always the case. In fact, as DCIG research continues to uncover, the need for solutions like dedicated appliances to offload growing complexities is increasing. That is true, especially with dedicated appliances for critical data protection processes, and in particular, to help with backup. Backup appliances that combine server and storage hardware with backup software continue to appeal to organizations as cost-efficient, “set and forget” solutions.

As noted in DCIG’s inaugural 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, as organizations look to reap the benefits of consolidation and virtualization, data protection continues to be one of the most difficult aspects to manage. Fewer organizations rely solely on dedicated IT support for backup, and IT staff is being asked to add backup to the myriad of additional applications they currently handle.

“It really is a Catch-22. In order to recognize the benefits that key consolidation and virtualization hold, you don’t want to increase costs in other areas to offset those benefits,” said Jerome Wendt, Principal and Lead Analyst, DCIG, LLC. “The results in our latest Buyer’s Guide really bear that out, and purpose built backup appliances have a lot to offer. As with all of our Buyer’s Guides, we provide detailed and extensive objective analysis of commercially available solutions within a particular technology category. The research speaks for itself, and I know these results will help end users shortlist the right solution for their data protection and backup needs.”

DCIG Buyer’s Guides are designed to help in the identification of appropriate solutions and be used as an aid in coming up with a list of competitive products that have comparable features that may meet an end users’ specific needs. DCIG firmly believes that end users supplement the selection of a Buyer’s Guide product with in-house testing to ensure a solution best meets an IT organization’s particular business processes.

For the DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, DCIG looked at more than 80 key features of more than 60 Backup Software products from more than 13 of the leading Backup software products providers, and then created a survey, which was shared with each provider included in the Buyer’s Guide. To ensure the information provided in the Buyer’s Guide was accurate and up-to-date, DCIG provided each vendor with a copy of their respective data sheets without the scores or rankings to validate what features their backup solution supported.

After the surveys and data sheets were completed and returned, each vendor’s responses and updates were checked against publicly available data. Features were then weighted, scored and ranked either “Enterprise,” “Recommended,” “Excellent,” “Good,” and “Basic.” The features were then compiled into individual product data sheets that reflect how each product supports these features.

“What makes backup appliances so attractive is many utilize a number of key storage technologies, with a growing number of them natively supporting deduplication, server virtualization and cloud connectivity,” added Wendt. “Additionally, the backup appliances that DCIG researched have little to no dependencies on any pre-existing backup and recovery processes. This makes them extremely attractive for IT staff as there is no need for any other backup software or hardware to make them work.”

For inclusion in the DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer’s Guide, each solution must have met the following criteria:

  •     Be available as a physical appliance that includes backup software as a combined bundle under one SKU (Stock-keeping Unit)
  •     Be able to store data on premise on Direct-attached Storage (DAS), Network-attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Network (SAN)-attached storage
  •     Have sufficient information available to DCIG to make meaningful decisions
  •     Be available and shipping as of July 1, 2012

The DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance ten products include (in alphabetical order): RackTop EBR-FE, Symantec NetBackup 5220 Backup Appliance, Symantec Backup Exec 3600 Appliance, STORServer Enterprise Backup Appliance 800, 1100, 2100 and 3100, and Unitrends Recovery-822, 823 and 833.

Of the evaluated Backup Appliance products, DCIG introduced a new ranking of “Enterprise” in addition to its usually high mark of “Recommended,” to highlight how one product clearly stood out above and beyond other competitive offerings. STORServer EBA 3100 achieved the mark of Enterprise by distinguishing itself from other models. Products also noted as Recommended include: Symantec NetBackup 5220 Backup Appliance, STORServer EBA 2100, 1100 and 800. Highlights of the “Enterprise” ranking included:

  •     Support for Active-Active controllers
  •     Large amounts of storage capacity
  •     Broadest choice of networking interfaces
  •     Highest levels of redundancy

“To garner four of the top five positions in such a prestigious analysis of backup appliances on the market today stands as the highest compliment of our efforts in providing best-in-class appliances,” said John Pearring, manager of sales and marketing for STORServer. “We are thrilled by the conclusions of DCIG’s comprehensive study.”

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG identified 20 plus companies that provide Backup Appliance products. Each provider was given the opportunity to complete a survey that examined how its solution delivered on the inclusion criteria. In every case every vendor had the opportunity to review and respond to the survey and the information regarding their product displayed on the data sheets included in this Buyer’s Guide.

DCIG also spoke to a number of end-users to get a sense of how they would weight their needs in various areas. DCIG then evaluated the vendors’ capabilities by applying weighting indicated from our conversations with these end-users. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer’s Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and other publicly available information.

The DCIG 2012 Backup Appliance Buyer's Guide is available immediately and may be downloaded for no charge with registration at the following link:


DCIG Blog: http://www.dcig.com

About DCIG
DCIG, LLC, is an analyst firm with headquarters in Texas, focusing on archive, backup, retrieval and storage systems. DCIG’s analysts blend analysis, journalism, advertising and marketing into compelling blog entries at http://www.dciginc.com as well as journalistic writings with leading trade and industry publications. DCIG’s goal is to provide evaluations and interview content on sponsoring and non-sponsoring companies to consumers, public relations firms, business analysts and other companies. DCIG distributes industry, company and product analysis by way of viral marketing and community building using the burgeoning BLOG infrastructures created worldwide.

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Jim Nash
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