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Purpose-Built Backup Appliances (PBBA) — Features and Market Potential

Imagine a box roughly the size of a carry-on suitcase. It fits terabytes of data, boasts a bandwidth of gigabytes per second, comes with a built-in & pre-configured OS, and is ready to work in less than fifteen minutes.

What you just pictured is a PBBA, or purpose-built backup appliance. Take note, because these babies will only grow in popularity, their market value is expected to rise from 7 to 13 billion dollars by 2030.

These small but fierce fellows keep backups secure, instantly available, and tamper-proof. What’s more, they require minimal effort to operate and pass muster as both on-prem and cloud-complementary solutions.

What Is a Purpose-Built Backup Appliance?

A purpose-built backup appliance is a self-sufficient portable storage device designed from the ground up with the singular purpose of performing and managing data backup and restoration.

To fulfill its role, a PBBA relies on a disk array plus additional hardware and software components—a dedicated OS disk, intelligent platform management interface, cache, network interface, and more.

These extra components make PBBAs more than just storage boxes. In fact, PBBAs are semi-autonomous devices capable of running backup operations on their own, without borrowing resources from elsewhere.

But even if a company already has an external backup application and doesn’t need the bells and whistles of a self-contained appliance, it can still use PBBAs as plain, no-frills backup targets.

Consider what a business might be missing if it downgrades a PBBA to a mere storage medium. A full-blown PBBA—called an integrated backup appliance—is a standalone backup powerhouse that:

  • Integrates seamlessly with any infrastructure;
  • Uses its own computing resources;
  • Natively supports data deduplication, compression, encryption, setup, and maintenance.

And if that wasn’t enough, integrated backup appliances are plug-and-play devices. That’s right—just like monitors, PBBAs take care of themselves once connected and powered on.

What makes a backup appliance purpose-based? It must use a backup-specific data format, perform data deduplication and rapid data replication, and support cloud backup protocols such as OpenStack or S3.

Why Is PBBA Used?

Companies choose purpose-built backup appliances for ransomware data protection and disaster recovery because PBBAs are fast, reliable, and robust strongholds that ensure data security and service continuity.

Continuity of operation is essential for every business, but no company enjoys it all the time. Take manufacturers. They suffer up to 800 hours of downtime annually, racking up thousands of dollars in losses.

Luckily, PBBAs can drastically shrink the window between failure and recovery—because of their vast bandwidths, physical proximity, and the ability to run failed workloads directly off the backups.

So, whatever the threat to a company’s data—be it malware, hardware failure, internet outage, or something else—PBBAs are the perfect vaccine.

Let us count the reasons why:

  • They work out-of-the-box — PBBAs have pre-installed software that takes care of everything, so the company doesn’t have to.
  • They save storage and costs- — depending on the case, data deduplication built into PBBAs reduces backup sizes by over 90%.
  • They outperform tapes — LTO tapes are sluggish, clocking in at 1GB/s at most. In contrast, PBBAs can reach the speed of 4GB/s.
  • They back up other backups — companies use PBBAs as contingencies for tape or cloud backups—strategies known as D2D2T and D2D2C, respectively.
  • They safeguard data — should a disaster strike, PBBAs provide direct access to failed workloads and ultrafast recovery.
  • They keep criminals at bay — PBBA’s built-in encryption prevents hackers from laying their hands on sensitive data.

What Is the Appeal Behind PBBAs?

A single PBBA jams everything a company needs for backups in several dozen pounds of hardware and shares one thing other than weight with a bag of cement—it packs a punch.

In short, an organization might lean towards using a PBBA because these all-in-one, Swiss-knife backup appliances are:

  • Instantly operational — in most cases, getting a PBBA up and running involves plugging it in and doing a quick setup.
  • Versatile — PBBAs make the cut both as separate backup devices and as part of a cluster with other appliances.
  • Independent — no need for external software—PBBAs support centralized management via a central console.
  • Feature-rich — apart from regular backup functionalities, PBBAs often enable archiving, snapshot management, and eDiscovery.

Key Features of Purpose-built Backup Appliance

PBBAs are ideal for small and mid-sized enterprises because such organizations often lack the resources to create and maintain their own backup systems.

But no matter their size, companies of all types will appreciate PBBAs because of the following features:

  • Ease of use — PBBAs streamline setup and management through automated interfaces.
  • Spare elements — backup-oriented to a fault, PBBAs even include backups for their own hardware components, like extra NICs.
  • Data deduplication — PBBAs can compress backups by as much as 90%.
  • Data encryption — data in PBBAs can get scrambled so that outsiders won’t read and abuse them.

Future of the PBBA Market

Market analyses give ample reason for optimism about the future of PBBAs:

  • PBBAs provide an unrivaled experience in data protection and recovery.
  • Demand for PBBAs has been growing steadily since 2018, driven by ransomware attacks, IoT growth, and GDPR considerations.
  • Hardware-based solutions like PBBAs beat SaaS due to their ease of repair and replacement.
  • Small and mid-size enterprises have been springing up like mushrooms and see a lot of value in PBBAs.
  • Manufacturers will become heavy users of PBBAs to keep up with government regulations.
  • Increasingly, computing platforms run on open systems, which lend themselves well to PBBAs.

Purpose-built backup appliance limitations

Although this article sang nothing but praise for PBBAs, everything has flaws—and PBBAs are no exception. Ironically, though, many of their advantages double as disadvantages:

  • Limited use case — yes, PBBAs are tailor-made for backup and recovery but suitable for little else.
  • Proprietary backup format — PBBA data format is optimized for backups but useless in other cases—e.g. analytics.
  • Slower recovery—  PBBA backups are fragmented by default; recovery entails defragmentation, which takes time.

Note, however, that some vendors offset the impact of defragmentation by adding flash storage to their appliances.

PBBA in a Nutshell

Purpose-built backup appliances are disk arrays with the hardware and software that transform them into standalone backup devices.

As far as backup solutions go, PBBAs have little to no competition. They surpass the cloud and tape with speed, availability, flexibility, ease of configuration, and no-hassle automated management.

Businesses are fond of PBBAs because they provide the most comprehensive backup experience and protection against data failures, theft, breaches, ransomware, and more.

Ootbi — the only PBBA tailor-made for Veeam

Got Veeam and want a PBBA?

Consider Ootbi, which stands for out-of-the-box-immutability. Ootbi from Object First is the only PBBA on the market singularly designed for Veeam and backed by Veeam founders. Get all the perks of a regular PBBA and then some:

  • Veeam data management layer optimization,
  • Veeam B&R and Veeam API support,
  • superb speed and capacity,
  • hardened OS and intuitive UI,
  • out-of-the-box-immutability with S3 Object Lock,
  • ransomware-proof data protection.

When you think about Veeam, think about Ootbi.

See what it can do and book a demo today.

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