With flat backup, storage snapshots are copied to another location. The storage snapshots still exist in their original location and native format, but the replicas serve as a backup in the event that the originals get lost or damaged.
The primary advantages to a flat backup are its low cost and simplicity. Unlike a traditional backup, a flat backup does not require a backup server or a media server, which means it may be less expensive for storage administrators to implement. Flat backup simplifies the environment, reduces license fees, and improves recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives.
But flat backups are proprietary, and not all storage vendors support them. If a workload cannot be protected by a storage snapshot, it cannot be protected by a flat backup.
Bandwidth can become an issue if snapshots are replicated to a remote data center over a wide area network connection. To avoid a backlog, the flat backup mechanism must keep pace with snapshot creation.
Flat backup can also protect an application server if the storage hardware supports application-consistent snapshots.