There has been a fair amount of discussion regarding the term bounded “appliance” in the IT industry as of late. I define the term appliance as a product built for a specific purpose and a specific use case. NetApp used the basic kitchen toaster as their example of an appliance.
Appliances have a lot of benefits. They are simple to use, predictable, and when your needs are straightforward, they are perfect for the job. Plug in your appliance, drop in your bread, and voila toast.
Appliances, however, by their nature, cannot accommodate growth or flexibility. Need more slices? Want to toast bagels? You can’t modify, scale or “fine tune” your toaster. You just keep buying new ones.
In the data protection space, bounded appliances work for the general market where most companies have a moderate volume of data and they just need to back it up.
Data protection in large enterprises is not nearly this straightforward. They need high-speed performance, scalability, simple manageability, and much more flexibility than a bounded appliance will ever provide. Trying to protect data in a large enterprise with a bounded appliance quickly becomes costly and unwieldy. Like the toaster, they will have to add new bounded appliances every time they need more performance or more capacity. They will need more appliances if they want to upgrade to new technologies or migrate to new environments such as NetBackup OST.
In these environments the idea of a scalable data protection platform is far more efficient and cost-effective. A single platform that can scale to address growth, that offers flexibility and provides the agility to adapt to changes in the environment. A platform that is easily managed with few IT resources. Compared to a scalable platform, bounded appliances are, well, toast.