A Guide to Purpose-Built Backup Appliances

  • Updated on December 15, 2023
  • Tech

Purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) have been a valuable component of numerous data recovery and storage functions in organizations. They help in boosting the reliability and speed for seamless operations in businesses, institutions, and organizations. 

They are IT devices that are relevant in cloud environments because they play an on-site operation role, even in situations where businesses store information in other software. 

Despite the growing adoption of cloud storage, the demand for PBBAs continues to improve. In this article, we will delve into explaining its features, configurations, and factors to consider before buying a good backup device.  

What are Purpose-Built Backup Appliances?

The meaning of Purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) is an independent disk-based device that is designed and optimized to store all the data and content. 

It can be used to store information that’s derived from another application or be integrated directly into computer hardware using software. 

A business adopts the latter approach to develop what is known as an integrated purpose built backup appliance. Businesses use these appliances for data recovery and protection. 

Having devices that are solely focused on storage enables them to recover their files in the event of natural disasters, malware attacks, or hardware failures.  

Many manufacturing units utilize purpose-built backup appliances for large volumes of business-related data like product documentation, engineering drawings, product pricing, and costing. 

How Purpose-Built Backup Appliances Work

The way purpose-built storage equipment runs is on their workloads that do not affect other servers. They work as separate devices and do not utilize other resources that handle active applications or functions. 

Most PBBAs integrate well with existing IT infrastructures. They come with centralized consoles that streamline the backup process, even where multiple appliances are in use. 

PBBAs offer protection abilities that enhance information security and efficiency, which is in addition to storage purposes. 

They protect relevant files from breaches and generate copies that are already there or receive them from remote sites as part of data recovery. PBBAs also identify and remove duplicate or redundant files to save space. 

What Features Do PBBAs Have? 

Since PBBA devices are primarily used for data backup, they come with a range of features. These include: 

  1. Automated maintenance and setup: PBBAs come with interfaces that automate different aspects, making it easier for businesses to set them up and maintain them
  1. Redundant components: PBBAs have various expandable hardware components that help prevent the loss of files in the event the system fails. For instance, they have multiple power ports and various redundant NICs. 
  1. Deduplication function: PBBAs allow for the deduplication of stored information in-line and also at the source. Deduplication is relevant for the removal of redundant copies of stored data to reduce costs. 
  1. Data Encryption: This feature enables PBBAs to protect the data that is currently stored from any security breach. 

Configuration of Purpose-Built Backup Appliances 

Options and configuration are the two aspects that make backup appliances purpose-built. 

These aspects distinguish recovery equipment from others and other distinguishing aspects, which include:

  • Ability to keep information through the use of backup software formats. This aspect makes it impractical for companies to store files in PBBAs for any other purpose.
  • They support efficient replication of content through the deduplication feature. 
  • Facilitation of stored information becomes faster from remote offices. 
  • Implement rapid data deduplication to make it difficult to use stored files for any other purpose besides restoration. 
  • Provision of protocol translation to facilitate the transfer of data to cloud repositories. 

Their design capability means they can be used immediately as storage disk arrays. Their plug-and-play design makes them easy to integrate into existing IT architecture and configure. 

When a business sets PBBAs as targets for stored information, the software runs on the host server to automate restorations, schedule backups, and commence file transfers. But, unlike other backups, this software is built into the PBBA hardware.  

The graph below shows the purpose-built backup appliance market by region from 2017 to 2024. 

Purpose-Built Backup Appliance Market from 2017-2024.

Factors to Consider When Buying PBBAs

If you decide to purchase a PBBA system for your business or organization, there are various requirements you need to consider, to ensure it functions effectively. These are:


Preserving staff resources and saving IT time should be easy to manage. It should have a single, easy-to-use console with centralized reporting and management capabilities. 

Companies should opt for solutions that allow customers to integrate their software on multiple equipment. 

Functionality of Plug and Play

It comes with storage hardware and an already installed backup software that’s designed to handle specific workloads, to ensure that the device you buy is set to run immediately. 

Support Capabilities 

They should be able to support additional services when the need arises for growing demand from the organization. 

A good PBBA equipment should be able to support the management of varying features like data archiving and snapshot management from a central hub. 

Device Flexibility 

Purpose-built backup equipment should be flexible enough to expand and contract depending on the needs of the organization or business. 

It should work singly or can be clustered with other devices within your company’s IT infrastructure. It facilitates resource-sharing functions like encryption at rest or deduplication. This level of flexibility can expand the lifespan of your appliance. 


The device is designed to provide diverse usable capacity that can support the current and future requirements of a business or organization. 

Opt for PBBA equipment that increases your storage capacity and allows you to scale it in a user-friendly manner. 

Final Thoughts 

Disaster recovery and storage management are significant in all businesses and organizations, irrespective of size. Purpose-built backup appliances offer businesses the option of protecting and recovering data in a flexible, reliable, and scalable way. 

PBBAs utilize computing power from a single server to optimize data capabilities. These devices can be added easily to numerous recovery environments that already exist without making significant adjustments to their architecture. 

If you think PBBAs are a good fit for your company, consider the factors discussed above when making a purchase. 


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