In a coupe of days time I will have been looking after Backup Exec in some shape or form at Symantec for eleven years. Sales, pre-sales, regional technical leader and now as Subject Matter Expert. In that time I've known software and that's it, really. Certainly, like any pre-sales guy I could make the hardware do useful stuff but it was software driven.
So what's with backup appliances? Software and hardware in one go. Some time ago Symantec launched the first NetBackup appliance and with a series of appliances now available it seems that the business is going from strength to strength. But It's not like e-mailing a license key or buying boxed product software. There are incredibly slick processes being running in the background managing the logistics and I'm in awe of the people who make it happen. I'm lucky enough to call some of them friends. They do the hard work so you don't have to; but more of that later.
In the U.S., more recently, Symantec launched the first Backup Exec appliance. I wasn't sure to start with. You'll know by now that I'm all in favour of making life easier, better. Software is choice. Take what you want and leave the rest. But now as I look at the appliances I see another approach that sits side-by-side with software. You choose, but there's no need to leave the rest. You can have it all. Better still, we'll do it for you. Set it up. Configure it just right. Your job? Plug it in and turn it on.
Okay so there's a little more to it than that. You still have to tell it what you want to backup. I'm not a mind reader here. That's not my job. What you haven't got to do is set up the box itself. Its done for you by the people who build the thing - Symantec.
I'm a huge fan of "all in one place." Know why? Because it makes life easier (again). Who goes to three different supermarkets so they can make a sandwich? One for the bread, another for the bacon and another for the bag to put it in? Nobody. You buy it all in one place. If somebody else has made it and packaged it for you, even better. All you have to do is consume it.
So it comes down to this. It's software, but not as we know it. Maybe not as you know it today either. Take the software. When you buy it though, just decide do you want it to arrive in a box, or on a box?