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April 09, 2012

Appliances a Valuable Option for Protecting SMBs

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Utilizing an appliance  is one top way for businesses and other organizations to gain access to data protection and quick recovery with all of the threats now lurking out there. At a time where you hear about cyber attacks on a daily basis, an appliance solution can help prevent lost productivity, time and money if something goes wrong.

In addition to deploying purpose-built storage appliances, new approaches to data protection and recovery include software, a cloud-related service, or a hybrid solution that uses at least two of these alternatives, according to a recent white paper, “Cloud, Appliance, or Software? How to Decide Which Backup Solution Is Best for Your Small or Midsize Organization.”

A backup appliance integrates storage hardware and backup software and is installed easily and quickly. It does not require the maintenance typical of servers and software. Organizations that need new storage hardware and do not want to integrate new hardware and software may be very interested in backup appliances.

Appliance solutions also provide much lower risks than multiple options currently available on the market and are simple to use. Due to the fact that software comes already pre-configured on appliances, there is a single point of contact for technical support, which helps to lower costs.

Backup appliances are particularly useful when organizations expect to purchase new storage hardware, and will buy both hardware and software together. They also are appropriate if the organization needs speedy recovery of files and applications. An added plus is that an appliance does not require a specific hardware to run efficiently.

In addition, appliances are well-suited if the organization has an IT staff of only one or two members. It is also ideal for small- or mid-sized businesses with no local IT staff. It could be administered by an employee working remotely or by a partner firm.

Also, appliances let organizations keep hardware on site, back-up locally, and then allow for a copy for another office or for the cloud.

Another option which lets organizations backup and recover is the cloud, via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS (News - Alert)). The cloud approach may work well for organizations that have one or two servers on a site and roaming users. Backups can be completely automated through the cloud option.

There is also backup and recovery via software, which runs on a designated server. This option makes sense if an organization has its own customized backup system and server management skills. It also seems perfect when an organization has already invested in storage or hardware, has a preferred hardware vendor in place, or has large data sets.

Still another option is a combination of two or three of the alternatives. In such a hybrid approach, backup applications and storage can be run in the cloud. Or, backups can be run locally (via an appliance and software), and disaster recovery implemented with cloud storage. Or, remote offices are backed up to the cloud and the data center or central office is run with traditional backup software or an integrated appliance.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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