Data Protection: Scale-Out Data Protection Research Now Available

By Steve Scully, Tuesday, June 26th 2018

Analyst Blogs

Back in March, we published a blog about the research we were doing around scale-out data protection appliances.  I’m happy to report that we have now published this information and it’s available as a new research area on our website.  The documents include an Evaluation Guide, standard and interactive Comparison Matrix, and new or updated Product Briefs for the six vendors initially included in the matrix – Cohesity, Commvault, ExaGrid, Igneous Systems, NEC and Rubrik.

Scale-out Data Protection systems are one of the more exciting developments in data protection in many years and they are one of the reasons that many IT organizations are re-evaluating their data protection strategies.  The scale-out architecture of these systems creates clusters of nodes built on commodity hardware loaded with software-defined storage capabilities and built-in cloud connectivity.  Some of the vendors embed data protection software in each node of the cluster, which they may call hyperconverged data protection or hyperconverged secondary storage appliances.

There are a number of components that go into these systems and I encourage you to read the Evaluation Guide for more details.  It also includes a list of the more important characteristics we look for when evaluating the offerings in the market.  Overall, IT organizations can achieve a number of benefits using scale-out data protection systems including:

  • Faster deployment. The combination of hardware preloaded and configured with software can significantly speed up the deployment process compared to traditional backup infrastructures.
  • Simplified IT infrastructure. Scale-out solutions tend to be easier to deploy, manage and upgrade over time and can consolidate multiple secondary storage systems into one.  Embedded software simplifies the management of software licenses.
  • Lower infrastructure costs. Leveraging commodity hardware, buying appropriately sized nodes only as needed, maximizing the efficacity of data reduction techniques like deduplication and potentially reducing software licensing costs all result in lower costs.
  • Improved data management. Having as much data as possible located in a single system improves the ability to inventory and manage it, even if that data has been tiered to multiple public and private clouds.
  • Long system life. Scale-out systems can last for many years as the system continuously evolves and refreshes and new nodes are added, and older nodes are retired.

The initial vendors in the matrix approach this market from different backgrounds.  ExaGrid and NEC are established data protection vendors that offer scale-out systems which operate as targets for backup and archive applications from their software partners.  Cohesity, Igenous and Rubrik are well funded startups that provide scale-out systems available with their own embedded backup and archive capabilities.  Commvault approaches the market as an established backup and archive application vendor whose customers have asked for the convenience of having an integrated appliance. Because of the success (or at least the buzz) in the market around many of these vendors, we expect to see additional scale-out data protection solutions in the near future from a variety of vendors.

We’re interested in your thoughts on scale-out data protection solutions.  Are you considering, or have you implemented this approach?  Would it augment or replace an existing data protection solution?  Check out our new research and let us know what you’re thinking.

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