Q

Is backup modernization the end of legacy backup?

Independent backup expert Brien Posey discusses whether backup modernization is vendor hype and whether it means the end of legacy backup.

Modernizing data protection is a hot topic right now, and yet Veeam now supports "direct out to tape" and has hinted at the possibility of physical server backup. So, is the idea that legacy backup will disappear utter hype?

In some ways, the case could be made that backup modernization is mostly vendor hype. Even so, study after study shows that data protection and business continuity are some of the fastest-growing areas of IT spending. If these reports are true, it stands to reason that a number of organizations are modernizing their backups.

The problem with the idea of backup modernization is that it is easy to assume that backup modernization implies abandoning legacy technologies, such as removable media backups or physical server backups. While moving away from legacy backup technologies might be part of the backup modernization process for some organizations, I think that backup modernization probably more often centers on improved service levels, near-real-time data protection and rapid recoverability.

In spite of what many backup vendors would lead you to believe, there are still plenty of organizations performing tape-based backups. It is becoming increasingly rare to use tape as a primary backup media, but tape is alive and well as an archival storage medium.

It is interesting that Veeam is considering supporting physical server backups. Veeam has based its entire business model on server virtualization. Even so, it might be prudent for Veeam to offer physical backup capabilities. After all, relatively few organizations are 100% virtualized and it might not make sense from a business standpoint to purchase a backup product that is unable to protect resources that are still running on physical servers.

If Veeam does choose to protect physical hardware, it won't really be a sign that the backup modernization trend is not real, but rather an acknowledgment of the fact that there are still physical servers running mission-critical resources that need to be protected.

Eventually, I'm sure, the day will come when everything will be virtualized. Until then, there is a very real need for legacy backup technologies to still be supported.

Next Steps

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This was first published in July 2014

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