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Five reasons why a VM backup software purchase can go wrong

Storage administrators must consider the needs of their entire environment when purchasing VM backup software or complications could ensue.

Organizations are deploying more virtual machines nowadays. Because of this, they must also understand how to provide

the appropriate level of virtual machine backup. This is usually accomplished by using a third-party backup product.

Important factors in purchasing virtual machine (VM) backup software products are multi-hypervisor support and the ability to protect both physical and virtual servers. But storage administrators can't select products only for their feature sets -- they need to consider their entire computing environment when making decisions. With that in mind, here are five reasons why a VM backup software purchase can go wrong:

1. Failure to understand business requirements. A surprising number of organizations have no formally defined recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives (related to application requirements). How can anyone determine if a product is the right one without knowing what it needs to accomplish?

2. Failure to perform a proof-of-concept. Even when a vendor is scrupulously honest, products may experience failures in specific environments that could never be reasonably anticipated. "Test twice, buy once."

3. Factoring in irrelevant features. VM backup software products may have cool features, but upon examination they may be irrelevant. Examples in this category may be deduplication and encryption. Yes, they're important to backup operations, but they may be better implemented with a target appliance.

For more information on virtual machine backup

Evaluating virtual server backup products

4. Ignoring practical implementation. Storage managers may get so focused on best-of-breed that they lose sight of the integration and operational implications of a one-off product. Best-of-breed may make sense, but only if the benefits outweigh the complications of adding another product in the data center.

5. Defaulting to the incumbent vendor. This is the corollary to No. 4. Sometimes, organizations dislike their current product but assume that all the others are just as bad. Buying based on "the devil you know" may result in a huge missed opportunity to alleviate a common IT headache. Take two proof-of-concepts as an antidote.

About the author:
Phil Goodwin is a storage consultant and freelance writer.

This was first published in June 2013

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Essential Guide

Best practices, tips and tools for VMware virtual recovery and backup

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