Remote backup Day Four: What hardware?

Your remote offices need storage hardware. But how to decide what hardware? Part four of our series offers some options.

Any remote backup solution will require software. But is dedicated hardware necessary too?

The answer generally seems to be that dedicated storage hardware is not assumed to be present on a remote site.

"So far as we are concerned there can be any appliance in the remote location," says Mark Heers, NetApp's Director of Marketing and Alliances for Australia. "Our software technology depends on the central backup device being one of our devices. And if there is NetApp at both ends we can do a bit more than we otherwise could."

Many other solutions, however, are entirely happy with heterogeneous hardware at either end.

Appliances such as Brocade's WAFS devices or Quantum's de-duplication machines are required to these vendors' solutions possible, but ultimately care little about the kind of disks or arrays they are being asked to work with at either end of the remote office backup equation.

Dedicated software vendors are also unfussed about exactly what hardware is on offer.

Remote backup is, however, made easier by the presence of a dedicated storage device on the remote site.

After all, almost any storage regime can be improved by consolidating storage away from C: drives and into the more robust environment of a NAS or other small-business-oriented storage device. Dedicated appliances are therefore favoured for remote sites where storage requirements are complex enough to make the move beyond server-attached storage sensible.

Of course remote backup solutions must also be able to deal with sever-attached storage and even individual PCs, just as they must also be able to cope with larger and more complex machines that go beyond the bounds of a simple NAS.

This means that developing a remote backup solution can, by and large, be done independently of the decision about the kind of storage equipment that will be a part of that solution.

It is of course sensible to make those decisions with an eye to optimal interoperation between the different components of a remote backup solution.

But if you have a diverse existing fleet of storage devices in your remote offices there is no particular need to plan a hardware refresh at the same time.

But as we will discover in the last instalment of this feature tomorrow, there is one element of your infrastructure that must be re-appraised before

Tomorrow: One last important ingredient!

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