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Appliances are increasingly popular as is integrated data protection. So it's no surprise that Veritas' NetBackup appliances are tightly integrated with the vendor's software.
Administrators looking to upgrade: Take note and proceed with caution. The NetBackup appliances and software are designed to work together to provide a resilient, complementary and expansive infrastructure that offers central management, therefore making the administrator's job and the managing much easier.
The services provided in NetBackup appliances are almost identical across the range, being powered by Linux under the hood. The major differences among appliances center around functionality, availability and capacity.
It is important to understand that the infrastructure of Veritas NetBackup (formerly Symantec NetBackup) as a whole can be split into two separate functions: master server and media server. The media servers are the storage infrastructure onto which the backup data is placed. The master servers provide the management capability over the storage infrastructure. In some circumstances, such as in the case of the virtual NetBackup appliance, the appliance can function in either capacity or both.
The current range of NetBackup appliances is the 5000 series. As you'd expect, each appliance is designed with a different market or operation in mind. For example, the entry level unit comes with four 1-gigabit network ports. The rest of the range comes with a pair of 10-gigabit ports, due to the increase in expected data throughput.
Here are details on a few specific NetBackup appliances:
Veritas NetBackup Virtual Appliance. This appliance is hosted on virtual infrastructure such as VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V. It's designed for remote office or branch office sites with little IT support or infrastructure.
One useful feature is that the integrated install wizard allows the user to configure the hardware and start backing up within minutes after appliance deployment. However, note that the virtual appliance is limited to a 2 TB maximum capacity. In addition, the backup performance is limited to the performance of the underlying hypervisor and the resources provided in hardware and the hypervisor.
This scenario is becoming an extremely competitive area within next-generation backup providers. Expect to see many new and innovative features appear in the virtual appliance market.
NetBackup 5240 Appliance. This appliance is designed as a bigger brother of the virtual appliance. It has many of the same features but with the key difference -- beyond being physical in nature -- of having a maximum 300 TB capacity. That total includes an expansion shelf. The functionality is designed around small offices and remote offices where standard backup scenarios would be difficult to manage and operate.
NetBackup 5240 CloudCatalyst Appliance. One of the major differences is that this box integrates support for well-known cloud platforms. There are also plans to support object storage platforms. This version of the NetBackup appliance caches the files locally before uploading the designated cloud provider, essentially providing multiple copies of the data. Additional built-in software functionality simplifies working with cloud environments.
NetBackup 5330/5340 Appliance. These two NetBackup appliances are designed for the enterprise data center. They come with a maximum capacity of almost 1.4 PB of useable space. Due to its enterprise nature, the appliances can be configured in a high-availability configuration, reducing backup and restore outages from hardware failure.
These machines represent the pinnacle of NetBackup appliances. They are designed to scale massively, be easy to add capacity to and manage without issue. These servers come with high-end CPUs and generous memory due to the huge amount of overhead the storage creates.
Veritas provides a range of NetBackup appliances to suit most circumstances, be it a small local office or the enterprise data center. While the various devices can cope with certain physical capacities, you should consider the network backup infrastructure as whole. It is also important to consider requirements such as data throughput and if a separate backup network is required and has enough capacity.
One of the major plus points of hardware like NetBackup appliances is that the vendor can provide professional services to ensure that they perform to the best of their capability without impacting existing infrastructure.