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Protect petabytes of data across diverse IT environments. Built-in scalability enables you to manage resources for a diverse and growing collection of physical and virtual platforms. Back up data to disk and tape or maximize storage efficiency with optional deduplication capabilities. By combining advanced functionality with exceptional ease of use, you get robust enterprise backup and recovery — not to mention reduced complexity.
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Out with the Old, In with the New
Is it easy for a company to throw out its old or existing backup and recovery infrastructure and bring in a new one? Some vendors are certainly pushing that as a viable option. In practice, however, it is not realistic for many reasons. In many organizations, backup and recovery infrastructure and operation have been built up over long periods of time. In today’s world, legacy products and solutions coexist with new, highly virtualized applications and widely distributed IT infrastructure.
Now companies must manage and safeguard their data across physical, virtual, and cloud. As a result, many firms find it very difficult, if not impossible, to modernize and optimize their backup and recovery environment. We see this time and time again. Exacerbating this trend is the difficultly to adequately predict expansive data growth at all levels of an organization. Much of the data growth that is created resides outside the confines of data centers and is unstructured.
Organizations have significant challenges managing existing practices and policies for data protection and recovery with new application deployment, increased virtualization, and the march to the cloud. The cloud (public, private, or hybrid) has been a transformative mechanism for data protection and recovery. Furthermore, the cloud can facilitate companies to build out business continuity or disaster recovery (DR) strategies at a much lower cost. Additionally, archiving to the cloud is now a viable option.
So, how do purpose-built backup appliances help organizations meld their old and new data protection and recovery strategies in the face of unabated data growth, expanding virtualized environments, and push to the cloud? First and foremost, we need to begin outlining why companies should buy an appliance solution rather than cobbling their own together from software, servers, and storage they currently own.
Why buy a backup appliance versus building one with backup software, a server, and storage array? Here’s some sound and prudent advice to take into account when considering a do it yourself (DIY) approach:
A backup appliance alleviates all of the challenges listed above and provides the following benefits:
There are currently a plethora of backup appliance choices in the marketplace today. Nevertheless, not all appliances are the same. In short, many of the current vendors building appliances in the market today are using proprietary software, hardware, and cloud components. In many cases, an organization will need to purchase additional SKUs or options to build out a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery strategy. Ironically, this opens the door for another set of challenges and can be more costly to support long-term. A company evaluating a backup appliance needs to consider if the vendor can deliver, support, and maintain the solution long-term. Not many vendors have the reach or resources to build out their own IP across software, hardware and storage technologies.
Riddle me this. Why would a movie franchise choose to pit one super hero against the other, instead of fighting the bad guys? I mean, Batman vs. Superman? Really?
No doubt I will have my detractors, but besides the gazillion dollars that no doubt the Battle of the Superheroes will make at the box office, it kinda bums me out to pit one of these good characters against the other, when there are so many ‘forces of darkness’ that need a taste of these guys’ super powers.
In fact, I rather like how Marvel, early on, went in another direction with The Avengers (maybe we should count X-Men too?). The idea of a group of superheroes who work together to defeat their common foe seems totally logical to me. Fighting together "the foes no single superhero can withstand," is well, totally cool. In our Avengers world, each character has his/her own super powers. Each has strengths that complement one of the others. The key thing for The Avengers is: what power is needed now and who has that power?
It’s not a big leap from the Ultron galaxy to our backup and disaster recovery universe. Instead of IT admins taking the second to ask, what’s the best tool for this particular job, so many people get into the drama of agent vs agentless backup. People in each camp SWEAR that their “Super Friend” has the super powers they need to get their backup and recovery job done, and they EQUALLY SWEAR that the other way of functioning is a piece of, well, you know what. The problem is, it’s the same old argument — who’s better: Batman or Superman?
The truth is, the dilemma here is a false one. The question isn’t, which is better, agent or agent-less backup; the REAL QUESTION is, what superpowers do I need to fight the evil of lost data + cripplingly slow recovery? That’s the essential question here, and THAT is what the Agent vs. Agentless e-book addresses.
Our evil foe stands in the way of accomplishing three essential goals in backup and recovery:
Agent-based and agentless backup solutions both offer awesome superpowers and distinct advantages in dealing with the goals, but don’t get caught up in the argument about which is better, without taking into consideration YOUR unique universe. It’s worth evaluating both as you work toward adopting the best backup and recovery approach that fits your needs. Learn more about the three must-knows about agent and agentless virtual machine backups.
You could go Superman. You could go Batman. Both are awesome, but really — they don’t need to fight each other. You could also go with The Avengers — the reliability and insights of an agent-based backup solution, alongside the cost reductions and flexibility of an agentless backup product, if needed. It’s your choice. You get to write this superpower sequel – just make sure you know what superpowers you need.
About Laureen Smith
Laureen is committed to customer and partner success. She works with the great Data Protection Product Marketing team at Dell Software.
View all posts by Laureen Smith
Ever have one of those days where you wake up and open your social media dashboard – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever your platform of choice – and it seems like every single person is making you choose between “their side” and “the wrong side”? Eat this, don’t eat that. Vote for this person, not that one. Subscribe to this way of thinking, not that one. Support this cause. If you are not with us, you are with them!
I don’t know about you, but it really aggravates me sometimes. So with Thanksgiving on the horizon I am making it a point to be thankful for choices where I can’t be wrong. Like choosing between an egg nog latte or a pumpkin spice latte.
In my work life, one of those choices is Agent vs. Agentless backup. If you have been in the industry for any amount of time, you can remember a time when agentless backup was a great step forward.
We were told ad nauseam for a good few years that agentless backup was the way to go because, naturally, backup and recovery environments without agents are easier to deploy, manage and operate. And because the supporters of agentless technologies spoke the loudest, we all became kind of dulled to questioning it.
But it’s not that cut and dried. The fact of the matter is the agent-based vs. agentless backup debate is a false dilemma. It all depends on your needs. And that choice is a good thing.
The Choice is Yours
Our white paper, The False Dilemma: Agentless vs. Agent-Based Backup, discusses the advantages for each backup method, and how to examine your own needs and plan for which method might be right for you, given your particular environment. But here is a small spoiler alert – most organizations would benefit from some combination of both.
On a high level, this is because most organizations operate in a combined environment, comprised of both virtual and physical aspects. Again, from a sweeping viewpoint, agentless backup performs very well in virtual environments, while agent-based solutions can still hold considerable benefit in physical and legacy environments.
So if you are in the process of evaluating and planning your backup and recovery environment and are debating using agentless or agent-based solutions, understand that you do not have to choose. But you do have to plan and decide which elements of your environment will benefit most from the strengths of each. Most major vendors offer versions of both, so do not go into an evaluation with an either/or mentality, but one that will get you the best solution for your environment.
And give thanks that it doesn’t have to be an exclusionary choice.