Drawbacks of integrated backup appliances

Independent backup expert Brien Posey offers insight on some drawbacks of integrated backup appliances in this Expert Answer.

At first glance, integrated backup appliances seem to be the easiest backup option to deploy and manage. What do people need to look out for with those devices?

Although integrated backup appliances are designed to be really easy to deploy and manage, that simplicity comes at a cost. The simplicity offered by integrated backup appliances also results in a lack of overall flexibility, as well as a few other problems.

One such problem is vendor lock-in. While this might not bother some people, integrated backup appliances are designed to run a specific vendor's backup software on hardware that has been optimized for that software. For example, if you buy an integrated backup appliance from Symantec, you probably won't be able to run backup software from vendors such as CommVault or Veeam on that machine.

Another aspect of integrated backup appliances that may prove to be problematic for some is their lack of scalability. Integrated backup appliances often include a self-contained, deduplicated storage pool. Such appliances typically lack the ability to make use of external pools. Furthermore, if an organization accumulates a large collection of integrated backup appliances, storage pool management can become burdensome. It is easier to manage a single large storage pool than many small ones.

This was first published in January 2014

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