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Flat backup has recently begun to gain popularity, although the concept has existed for quite some time. Here are three major misconceptions regarding how a flat backup works.
1. A flat backup can be used with all types of snapshots. Flat backups are based around the use of storage snapshots. Although hypervisor snapshots function in a manner similar to storage snapshots, they won't work for flat backups. Flat backups are intended specifically for use with storage snapshots.
2. A flat backup can protect all of an organization's resources. As previously mentioned, a flat backup is based around the use of storage snapshots. Consequently, flat backups can only protect those resources for which storage snapshots are created. Furthermore, flat backups are vendor proprietary, so not every storage vendor supports their use. Those vendors that support the technology only allow them for specific storage products. So a flat backup will not typically be an option for organizations that use heterogeneous storage hardware.
3. A flat backup provides continuous data protection. In reality, a flat backup is subject to the rate at which snapshots can be created and replicated. While most continuous data protection offerings do not truly provide continuous protection -- they actually perform very frequent, scheduled backups -- they tend to allow for more frequent data protection than a flat backup. The primary advantage to a flat backup offering isn't the frequency of its protection, but its low cost and simplicity.
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