Video Series on Data Protection Appliances – Part 3, Cloud Gateway Appliances

Data_Protection_AppliancesContinuing our four-Friday video series, based on the recent ESG research report on the Shift toward Data Protection Appliances,   

This installment covers cloud gateway appliances that are designed to be part of a data protection strategy. Early DP cloud gateways have a similar value-proposition as mainstream deduplication storage appliances in that they can be added to existing (or new) backup and archival infrastructures and automagically and radically reduce storage consumption through optimized protection storage. Typically, these gateways utilize a combination of fast local storage for immediate restores that then offloads previous versions and older copies to cloud-storage. 

So far, we’ve covered both “mainstream” DPA categories:

Here is part 3 in our series -- a 4m video on why If your DP strategy includes the cloud, gateways might be your easiest way to get there

Thanks for watching – and tune in next week for part 4 on BC/DR Failover appliances. I do hope that this series has been helpful for you. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Jason Buffington. I'm the senior analyst at ESG covering data protection.

We recently published a research report on the shift toward data protection appliances. As a reminder, data protection appliances, or DPAs, are more than just purpose-built backup appliances, PBBAs, as some folks are used to calling them. In fact, PBBAs are just one of at least four DPA categories in use today, with the other categories being dedupe storage targets, cloud gateways that are used for data protection, and BCDR failover solutions.

ESG define cloud gateway appliances as providing local access for remote plus cloud storage only. They do not include the backup software technology. A cloud gateway's primary function in data protection is to provide cloud extended storage. Similar to dedupe appliances, cloud gateways can be virtual or physical, and they are built to optimize an existing or new backup and archive solution, by simply providing a better alternative than simple storage. The built-in disk storage capacity may or may not be deduplicated or otherwise optimized, and it is used for fast local restores. But the key to this DPA category is that the gateways are primarily designed to get the secondary storage into the cloud.

According to our research only 10% of organizations currently use cloud gateways as part of their data protection solution today, and that's reasonable considering there aren't a large number of alternatives in market, and of those that are haven't been pervasive for very long. But a whopping 42% were planning on using cloud gateways as part of their data protection strategy, and another 30% were interested. That leaves only 17% of organizations that aren't at least looking at cloud gateways as part of their data protection strategy, or they haven't decided yet.

It's really hard to have an IT transformation conversation without talking about the cloud. And in fact, when asked about the importance of cloud as part of a data protection appliance strategy, 88% said that it was at least important, if not very important or critical. Cloud gateways have a lot of the same merits as the more mainstream deduplications storage target appliances. Both categories are designed again to drop into your existing or new backup environment, and provide a more economical secondary storage pool for your backup and archiving needs. There are some deduplication targets that can be cloud hosted, but most legacy approaches to deduplication presume that if you want a tertiary copy of your data in the clouds, your backup software should send it instead. Instead, cloud gateways optimize that process by providing the most recent data on local disk, but then transparently replicating most of the data and the older versions to a cloud provider, including either vendor specific clouds, or generic public cloud storage.

If you believe that the cloud should be part of your data protection strategy, gateway appliances are probably the easiest way to get you there. Most gateways look just like another disk, so your existing or new backup software can happily write to it. But the data auto-magically gets to the cloud, which is for many exactly what you're hoping for. The trick is whether those cloud gateways can prove their economic benefits, while still providing better than good enough deduplication, ensure security, and assure backup and restore performance. If they do, 2015 will be a big year for them. If not, the deduplication vendors don't want to lose to the gateways, and a growing percentage of backup software is trying to figure out how to use the cloud, with varying degrees of success or elegance. And I'll cover all of those categories from ESG around data protection appliances. Thanks for watching.

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Topics: Storage Data Protection