Data Center and Critical Infrastructure

Symantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance Teardown

22 May 2013
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Teardown Overview

The Symantec NetBackup 5000 series server is a 4U rack data depulication server for cloud backup. This unit came loaded, as per literature - with 24 2TB hard drives (maximum raw capacity of 48TB). The maximum usable capacity is 32TB - but through of the miracle of deduplication algorithms - the logical capacity is 640 - 1600 TB for a single 4U node. This is double the capacity of the NetBackup 5000.

Per Symantec literature - Each NetBackup 5020 appliance node is a 4U device, dual Intel E5620 CPUs, 32 GB DDR2 memory, 24x 2 TB disks, systems disks configured in RAID 1, data disks in RAID 6, LSI disk management, 2 X GigE ports, 2 X 10 GigE ports, LC Optical connection, redundant power modules, redundant fan modules, hot-pluggable disk modules and power entry modules.

The NetBackup 5020 and 5200 are nearly identical systems, virtually the same chassis, motherboards, PCBs, etc. It is only the Optical (Qlogic) expansion cards that differ. The NetBackup 5020 features 2 QLE2562 cards, and the NetBackup 5200 features 1 QLE2462 card. Everything else, for the purposes of this analysis, would only differ at most by a handful of dollars between the two.

As with other deduplication servers - the real key to such systems lies in the software and IP which is unique to each vendor (whether it's Symantec, NetApp, EMC or others) - whereas the hardware itself is based on a lot of broadly available building blocks that anyone can kit out. Again - what makes these products sellable at prices many times the value of the hardware is the software and service aspect. The hardware costs are a relatively small portion of the price at retail of finished systems.

The hardware itself (the focus of our teardown analyses) is not 'special' per se, and is composed of building blocks at the subsystem level (motherboard, chassis, power supplies, expansion cards) that are likely all purchased as finished units from other vendors. This system appears to be integrated by Huawei for Symantec - though Huawei certainly have the capability to design and manufacture, from the ground up, items like the motherboard. But based on assumed purchasing volumes - Huawei could not justify designing and building to spec these systems - so we assume they are buying all of the elements as finished sub-assemblies from 3rd parties.

Symantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance Main ImageSymantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance Main Image

Target Market

Cloud / Data Center



Date code on system is 3/28/12

Symantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance - Disassembly View 1Symantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance - Disassembly View 1

Pricing and Availability


Business to business transactional pricing - will depend on exact configuration on other factors.


Availability assumed.

Volume Estimations

800 Annual Production Volume
3 Production Lifecycle in Years

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed an Annual Production Volume of 800 units and a Product Lifetime Volume of 3 year(s).

Teardown volume and production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Symantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance Cost AnalysisSymantec NetBackup 5020 Appliance Cost Analysis

Cost Notes

Because of the way such servers are built and sold - our normal methodology for compiling top cost drivers does not apply here, and we have produced roll ups that more closely emulate the modules and options that the brand OEM would be able to buy or negotiate from the source (in this case Huawei). In other words we are rolling up total costs in a way that rolls up with the modules that the OEM would source and buy such as NIC cards, or RAID controller cards, for example, instead of individual ICs. All the details of IC content and costs are in our analysis - but the rollups (see the Side by Side Cost Summary Tab for Details) should provide the right level of visibility for OEMs that are buying finished modules.

We do not normally account for logistics costs or 'other' costs Beyond basic electronic systems and EMS-Level Assembly, teardowns are hardware cost focused. But in order to better chart the cost links in the supply chain, we have also created a simplified supply chain (in the 'System Cost Analysis' Tab) with rough mark up assumptions (which also should account for logistics cost) between the parties to better account for where our BOM costs are in the grand scheme of 'total cost', or price to the end customer.

Not Included in Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

We do provide an Excel tab 'Overall Costs' where a user can enter their known pre and post production costs to build a per unit cost reflective of theirs actual expenditures.

Country of Origin

For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming the following country(ies) of origin for each level of assembly, based on a combination of 'Made In' markings, and/or assumptions based on our knowledge of such equipment.

Chassis - China
CPU - China
DIMM Modules - China
Drives - China
Expansion Cards - China
Motherboard - China

Design Complexity

Component counts by assembly and the number of assembly are indicators of design complexity and efficiency.

Component Qty: 24 - Drives
Component Qty: 1639 - Expansion Cards
Component Qty: 2 - CPU
Component Qty: 385 - Chassis
Component Qty: 8 - DIMM Modules
Component Qty: 2302 - Motherboard
Component Qty: 4360 - Grand Total

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