b‎ > ‎

backup appliance

A backup appliance (also known as a "data backup appliance") is an all-in-one product that provides all of the essential components of a backup system architecture that are required to build a complete backup solution, bundled into a single appliance. A backup appliance is usually designed for and sold to IT departments for small and medium-sized businesses. A backup appliance includes within it backup software (which provides the backup manager), and backup storage. A backup appliance usually includes (or provides) additional backup client software, which is for installation on the computers that are to be backed up (the backup clients ) and do not have backup agents pre-installed.

Backup appliance requirements

A backup appliance is a type of integrated backup appliance, specifically one where the backup software (which includes a backup manager) and the backup storage are included within a single appliance.

A backup appliance must include a backup manager to be considered an actual backup appliance. Without a backup manager, the appliance is limited to providing backup storage that must be put under the control of another backup manager or backup application. It is appropriate in that situation to refer to the appliance is a purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA).

Backup appliance deployments

A backup appliance is mostly commonly found to be a physical appliance. Some vendors of backup appliances offer a virtual distribution, where their backup appliance is instantiated as a virtual machine on a hypervisor.

The two illustrations below compare the use of a backup appliance with the multiple components found in a traditional enterprise backup solution. Note all of the functional components of backup system architecture are still present with each, but the complexity and physical footprint is significantly simpler when using a backup appliance.

Backup solution using a backup appliance

Backup solution built using traditional backup software. The backup server and storage node are separate appliances, as is the backup storage.  

Additional / optional features

Some backup appliances include the (optional) ability to attach to additional storage devices for increased backup storage, including direct-attached storage (DAS) or networked storage (NAS or SAN).


Examples of backup appliances are NetBackup 5240 and the NetBackup 5330, both available from Veritas.


"Backup appliance" vs. "BDR appliance"

A BDR appliance is similar to a backup appliance, but includes the additional capabilities to assist with disaster recovery. For that reason, BDR appliances are commonly found with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions. A backup appliance without DR capabilities does not provide all of the functionality necessary to be the starting point of a DRaaS solution.