I’ve been working on a quick list of pros and cons for each backup solution. Pricing, backup time, network traffic, hardware, and software are key differences between Avamar and Quantum.
- Client backup software is included in the “capacity license”. This means you are licensing by the amount of storage you are using and not per server. This means you only need to deal with a single vendor for supporting both the backup software and hardware. Avamar has the edge if you have several servers/workstations to backup. The capacity license is around $10,000 per TB. Source: http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?edc=1290159
Downsides: Cost is high if you have lots of non-redundant data (several TB worth) and can’t take advantage of the de-dupe.
- De-dupe is done at the client side. The main advantages to this are that it will reduce the backup time and lower the amount of traffic going through your network. This is especially useful if you have a file server with a lot of redundant data and your network is the bottleneck. Also, its a good solution for backing up clients in remote offices. Downsides: this is that it will increase the amount of CPU usage on the client end. De-dupe is not very effective for databases (or data centers)
- Integration with VMWARE. Support for VMWare Consolidated Backup. In a virtual environment with traditional Windows VMs (non database/Exchange boxes), VMCB is a good option to prevent virtual machines from taking up all the hardware resources during a backup.
- Faster backups (see de-dupe reason)
- Reduced network traffic (see de-dupe reason)
- Avamar hardware cost. The hardware cost is higher compared to other solutions. They highly recommend their RAIN setup, which means you will need to purchase at least 4 Avamar storage nodes. Three active data nodes are required with one spare/utility nodes. The advantage of the RAIN setup is that if a server node fails, the backups will continue to work. A lower cost setup is their single node configuration with 2 active data nodes. If high availability is important, the RAIN setup is probably one of the best out there.
- Scalability. Increasing the amount of space in an Avamar environment requires the purchase of additional Avamar storage node(s) and Avamar capacity licenses.
- Client software is not included. If you have an established backup environment and looking for more space or replacing a tape-based system, the Quantum is a good option. If you are starting from scratch, the client backup software agents such as Symantec NetBackup will considerably add to the cost. Avamar has the edge for pricing once you factor in the cost of licensing backup agents for 20-40 servers.
- Pricing. Quantum pricing is very competitive since you don’t have to purchase capacity licenses. Client backup software is not included (to keep the price down), so its a better solution for an established backup environment. Quantum has the pricing advantage if you need to backup large amounts of data that cannot be de-duplicated.
- De-dupe is done on the backup server end. The full data set is sent to the backup server first before de-duplication occurs. The data is stored in memory on the backup server before writing to disk (added in DXi 2.0). The CPU usage of the client systems are minimally affected since de-dupe is done on the server. Ideally, de-dupe should not be done on database servers since they usually have high CPU usage. Downside: This does not reduce the backup time/window and won’t reduce the amount of network traffic.
- Backup time is still limited by the amount of traffic going through the network and the speed of the backup device. The performance on Quantum devices are 1-2TB/hour.
- Network traffic is not reduced. Not ideal for remote locations with slow networks.
- Integration with VMWARE is a 3rd party product. Quantum supports VMCB for an additional cost. Source: http://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/news/1362208/Quantum-adds-VMware-data-backup-encryption-key-management-device
- Flexibility. You can utilize existing backup software, servers, tape drives. One can use specialized backup agents that are designed to work with Exchange, SQL server, or other data that changes often. The Quantum is marketed as a storage target.
- Hardware cost. The Quantum hardware cost is less than Avamar. One reason is that the Quantum storage device capacity is much larger than the Avamar 2TB or 3.3TB nodes, so fewer storage appliances are needed. Downside: If you only purchase 1 Quantum backup appliance and it goes down, you won’t have backups. They do offer Gold support with 24 hour, 7 days a week, 4 hour turnaround time. If you need high backup availability, then two Quantum backup appliances are needed — which ends up costing more than the Avamar.
In conclusion, there isn’t a solution that fits every need without some compromises such as cost or staffing. If you are considering using one of these appliances, expect to spend at least $30,000-$50,000 at the bare minimum and upwards of $100,000. The cost of running a backup appliance requires a hardware warranty contract, all necessary software (including backup agents if applicable), and setup.