All Hail the Lowly Backup Appliance

Backup appliances are doing quite well

Backup appliances are doing quite well

Here’s a curiosity: While much of the buzz around backup and recovery of late has centered on hosted and cloud-based services, sales of the lowly but functional on-prem backup appliance continue to outpace the market.

Market researchers at International Data Corp. this week revealed that revenues for the Purpose-Built Backup Appliance (PBBA) jumped almost 17 percent last quarter from a year ago to nearly $690 million in sales worldwide. In all, the top vendors in the space shipped 361,289 TBs of backup appliance storage capacity, a 45 percent increase year over year.

The numbers represent a significant turnaround for a backup appliance market that appeared to be on the wane just six months ago. It’s also surprising considering the space appeared to be losing traction and mindshare — particularly in the channel — to the cloud backup space, which is expected to grow to nearly $47 million market by 2018.

The news was particularly good for EMC Corp., far and away the market leader. EMC grew its PBBA revenues 8.4 percent to just under $400 million and the vendor now commands a whopping 60 percent of the PBBA market, off just slightly from a year ago. Symantec Corp. also fared well, realizing a stellar 149-percent leap in PBBA revenues to $102 million and moving the needle on market share up from 7 percent a year ago to 15 percent today.

Much of that success came at the expense of IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. which both saw PBBA revenues and market share slip significantly in Q1. IBM sales of backup appliances fell nearly 31 percent to $48 million, knocking Big Blue’s market share down from 12 percent to 7 percent in a year. HP meanwhile saw PBBA revenues slip 6.3 percent and market share skid from 5.3 percent to 4.2 percent in the same period.

Rounding out the top five was Quantum, which grew revenues a modest 2.5 percent over Q1 of 2012 to $18.5 million, good enough to capture 3 percent of the market. All other PBBA vendors combined accounted for 12 percent market share and brought in revenues of $81.6 million, a 48-percent increase over last year’s quarter.

Backup Appliance Market on the Mend

“The total worldwide PBBA market outpaced the external disk storage system and data protection and recovery markets by a wide margin in the first quarter of 2013,” said Robert Amatruda, research director for data protection and recovery at IDC. “The worldwide PBBA market continues to experience strong growth in revenue, capacity, and shipments.

“Long-term, we expect the worldwide PBBA will continue to outpace the overall data protection and recovery software and hardware markets as customers continue to embrace turnkey systems to alleviate their backup and recovery challenges,” Amatruda said.

IDC defines a PBBA as a standalone, disk-based solution that uses software, disk arrays, server engines, or nodes used as a target data from a backup application such as NetWorker, NetBackup, TSM, or Backup Exec.