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When is it time to upgrade your backup software platform?

What are the top five signs your backup software platform is outdated?

All backup software eventually becomes outdated. While there is nothing wrong with using older software if it meets your needs, there are some sure signs that it is time to update your backup software platform.

No deduplication capabilities

In light of rampant data growth, deduplication has become a critical feature for modern backup applications. If your backup software platform does not offer any sort of data deduplication capabilities, you are wasting money by consuming unnecessary backup storage space. In this type of situation, the storage cost savings could very well justify the price of the update.

Lack of support for modern standards

Another reason to abandon your backup software platform in favor of something newer is a lack of support for modern standards. In the not-too-distant past, some backup applications had a maximum file size limit of 4 GB. Today, it is extremely common for virtual hard disk files, video files and other data to exceed 4 GB in size. The bottom line is that as your data grows, your backup software needs to be able to keep up.

Limited virtualization support

A few short years ago, server virtualization really wasn't very well supported by the backup vendors. Many of them required a two-pass backup for protecting virtual machines. Administrators had to run a hypervisor-level backup to enable the restoration of an entire virtual machine, but also had to do a guest-level backup to support granular restoration within a virtual machine. Modern backup applications make this completely unnecessary. If you are running an older backup platform, you can make the backup process a lot more efficient by adopting a product that has good virtualization support.

Lack of support for modern applications

Just as new operating systems are periodically released, new versions of applications also come along every few years. It's fine if your backup application does not currently support the latest application so long as the backup vendor has committed to eventually releasing an update that will allow the application to be backed up. However, when the vendor stops adding support for new business applications, it's time to move on.

Outdated logo certification

Software providers often use logo certification as a way of guaranteeing compatibility with software or operating systems. If the packaging for your backup application proudly supports the Designed for Windows Server 2003 logo, it is probably time to update.

Next Steps

Things to consider when purchasing a backup software platform

Weighing remote data backup and recovery choices

Discussing data growth and cloud backups with W. Curtis Preston

This was last published in October 2014

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