Although disk-to-disk backup methodologies have become incredibly popular over the past few years, the vast majority of enterprises -- large and small -- still use the same tape backups they implemented years ago. As time goes on, however, more and more old-school backup implementations will reach a breaking point where either capacity or performance can't get the job done.
When you realize that tape can't cut it any longer, you'll likely consider using a disk-based backup appliance, which you can get from many vendors, such as EMC Data Domain, Exagrid, and Quantum. But when choosing the right appliance, be careful: Most buyers focus on the most efficient deduplication engine, but that's only one difference to explore.
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The deduplication engine gets IT's attention because the whole point of implementing dedupe is to shrink the amount of storage you need to hold your backups -- to save both on physical storage costs and to gain longer on-disk retention times. But capacity efficiency is a relatively small issue in practice. Most of the significant operational differences are based on when in the backup cycle that deduplication takes place and how crucially important scalability is achieved.
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