Why is the PBBA Market in Decline?
The purpose built backup appliance (PBBA) has been loudly trumpeted for many years as the solution to backup woes. The PBBA emerged a few years ago when backup and deduplication technology converged. Since then, the machines have enjoyed significant sales success. Yet the latest report from International Data Corp. (IDC) indicates that revenue is now in decline. So why is it that these popular backup devices have lost their luster?
IDC numbers show that PBBA open systems factory revenue decreased 1.9% in 2Q15. "The worldwide Purpose built backup appliance market experienced a year-over-year decline in the second quarter of 2015 as the market continues to evolve," said Liz Conner, Research Manager, Storage Systems. "Focus continues to shift away from hardware-centric, on-premise PBBA systems …”
Where is the focus shifting to? The short answer is the cloud. A few years ago, those using the cloud for backup experienced various performance problems. Backups took too long and tied up bandwidth while they were being conducted. If a disaster occurred, it took too long to retrieve data in order to restore operations.
In many ways, this fact gave impetus to the PBBA market. Purpose built backup appliances provided an intermediary point between enterprise systems and the cloud. Companies could backup to the appliance and then take their time moving data from there to the cloud.
But times have changed and the cloud is now enterprise ready. In fact, it is faster to backup directly to enterprise-class cloud-based backup providers that it is to an appliance. This was been verified by independent test company Mediatronics. It compared the performance of enterprise-class cloud backup against a well-known backup appliance. In this benchmark, backing up 490 GB of data took less than 3 hours to the Zetta cloud compared to almost eight hours to conduct an on-premise local backup to a disk-based appliance.
Such statistics are causing companies to wonder why they have to incur the cost of an appliance and the expense of supporting it. If this additional infrastructure is slower and less unreliable than direct-to-cloud backup services, why include them in the backup architecture. In the Mediatronics tests, Zetta came out 13x faster than backing up to an appliance and then transmitting that data to the cloud. Backing up to directly to the cloud using Zetta was 2.5x faster than backups performed locally to backup appliances.
What this means is that the cloud can now be relied upon for rapid cloud backup and restore for systems. As a result, it is expected that PBBA revenue will continue to fall as more companies realize that they can skip the middleman and backup straight to the cloud.