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Backup storage keeps copies of data actively in use, providing redundancy in case of hardware failure or data loss. Unlike long-term, archive or cold storage, backup storage must enable the rapid retrieval and restoration of backup data. Backup storage devices are disk-based hardware appliances bundled with specialized software that manages encryption, network connectivity, data deduplication and compression. A remote backup appliance (outside of a corporate data center) helps provide business continuity and disaster recovery. Backup storage often uses both disk-to-disk (d2d) and magnetic tape systems as storage media.

In an enterprise, backup storage may include multi-disk storage systems such as a redundant array of independent disks (RAID); network-attached storage (NAS); storage area networks (SAN); virtual server backup; or cloud backup. NAS devices provide file-level storage via a standard Ethernet connection. SANs provide block-level storage, typically via a Fibre Channel connection. Virtual server backup copies data from a physical machine to a virtual machine. A backup application is installed on each virtual machine, pointing backups to the target physical storage device. Cloud backup transmits data copies via a network to a remote location, where backup storage is hosted on servers owned by third-party cloud service providers. Some enterprises host internal, private-cloud storage using a proprietary network to back up data to locally managed servers. Private-cloud storage may be combined with internal backup storage in a hybrid solution.

To reduce backup storage costs for large amounts of unstructured data, businesses may use a software-defined backup storage solution. For example, with SUSE Enterprise Storage, an organization can use non-proprietary hardware and open source software to scale their backup storage as needed. SUSE offers node-based rather than capacity-based pricing, further lowering the cost of enterprise storage backup.

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