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Veritas Flex appliance line extends out to the edge

Veritas makes an edge play with a smaller Flex appliance running NetBackup, designed for remote offices to deduplicate data at the source before it is migrated to a data center.

Veritas is taking its Flex backup appliance to the edge.

The Veritas Flex 5150 is the latest addition to the vendor's Flex line of "container-based" appliances running its flagship NetBackup data protection software. These appliances are designed to allow multiple Veritas NetBackup deployments on one machine. The 1u 5150 model launched this week is smaller than the earlier 5240 and 5340 models, and is designed to be deployed to places with limited IT resources such as branch or remote offices.

Veritas claims the 5150 appliance requires less initial configuration than the other Flex models, and is designed for non-IT personnel to set up the device at the remote site. Once the appliance is set up and communicating with machines in the main office, administrators can remotely customize configurations and settings from the data center.

Deploying a Veritas Flex appliance at the edge allows data deduplication to take place there, reducing the amount of data that goes over the network to the data center. It also lowers ingress charges for pushing data to the cloud. Flex customers can restore from on-premises backup copies, copies at the central site or backups in the cloud.

Veritas executive vice president Phil Brace said the Flex 5150 can serve as a standalone backup appliance for small businesses. However, he said the main purpose is to extend the backup capabilities of enterprises running NetBackup in their data center.

The edge is increasingly becoming an area backup vendors should be paying attention to, Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Christophe Bertrand said. IoT sensors and monitors can generate large amounts of data that is critical to the business, but the locations where this data is created may not even have IT staff.

"These are places where serious work is being done, where transactions are being completed," Bertrand said.

Companies do have other backup options at the edge. Bertrand pointed to vendors such as Unitrends, Arcserve and Veeam, with products that extend protection out to remote and branch offices.

render of Veritas Flex 5150 appliance
The Veritas Flex 5150 is the smallest of the Flex lineup, which includes the 5240 and 5340 models.

These are often lightweight on-premises appliances. Enterprises may also turn to backup as a service (BaaS) on the edge. For instance, newcomer Metallic, a SaaS-focused subsidiary of Commvault, advertises remote office backup as one of its use cases.

When comparing on-premises backup and BaaS for remote offices, it's important to understand the pros and cons of both, said Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC. BaaS is simpler in terms of deployment and billing, removing the need for on-premises infrastructure. A local backup appliance provides faster recovery and access to backup even if lines of communication go down. The recovery needs will be different for every customer, so it is never right to say one option is always better than the other.

Goodwin shared Bertrand's view that the need to protect data on the edge is increasing. Aside from sensors and monitors for gathering data for surveillance, research or diagnostics, one of the most important sources of data is point-of-sale (POS) systems. For many consumer-facing businesses, POS data is their only record of transaction with customers, and losing that data could be detrimental.

"This has been a problem that's been around a long time," Goodwin said. "One of the realities is there's less IT in organizations now."

Goodwin said Veritas's edge-focused Flex appliance really simplifies backup for remote environments. It means every retail store in a chain can have an appliance, but they don't also need IT staff at every site.

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