Different backup solutions offer different features at different prices. That’s an unavoidable fact. But does this mean that by combining different software solutions within your environment, you’re going to get better protection that if you just used an all in one backup solution? Well, spoiler alert – probably not.
In fact, wherever possible, you’re almost always going to be better off finding a single solution that handles all of your needs. By mixing and matching different types of backup software, you’re opening your data protection strategy up to some serious downsides.
The first problem you’re likely to run into when using multiple different backup solutions in one environment, is also one of the most serious. In a nutshell, different software often don’t play nicely together – particularly if they’re competing for the same resources.
One particularly pertinent example of this becomes clear when you look at coordinated media rotation and retention. In English, you ask?
Basically, a critical feature of backup solutions is the planned rotation of backups. These allow you you to maintain a backup history, which in turn allows you to restore data from different points in the past. However, to do so requires backup schedules that are used to manage the rotation of backup media; that way, you can retain not just daily backups but, for example, weekly, monthly and yearly backups.
Having two separate scheduling systems managing separate sets of media will lead to complications that could compromise your backup plan, and result in inconsistent restore points across different backup jobs.
Beyond that specific example, the fact remains that backup solutions may often utilize the same drivers, protocols and Windows Server features in order to perform certain functions. This particularly becomes an issue when running backups at the same time on two different types of software.
To be honest, it’s not just different backup software that can cause this trouble – you’ll also want to make sure other programs like Anti-Virus applications aren’t going to interfere with the operations your backup solution needs to run.
Time and manageability
The second downside to having multiple software doing the job of an all in one backup solution, is that it will take significantly more time to manage and monitor your backups and restores. Most comprehensive backup solutions will offer some form of remote management functionality, which will allow you to use a single pane to view all backup jobs across all servers.
When you’re juggling different solutions, to get the same functionality you’re going to have to view multiple UIs, receive and open multiple emails, read multiple reports, etc etc etc. It also means that if anything goes wrong with your backups, it’s a lot harder to determine which element of your mix n’ match solution caused it – plus you’re dealing with support from multiple vendors, many of whom will be only too quick to pass the buck onto their competitors.
At the end of the day – your time equals money for your company. It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Pricing and licensing complexity
Speaking of pricing, that’s another problem. While it may seem as though you’re saving money by using different solutions (particularly if some of them are free solutions) as opposed to forking out for a single more comprehensive one, this is often a false economy.
For a start, many vendors will charge you for tiered support services (not to brag, but BackupAssist isn’t one of those vendors!). When it comes to anything IT related, as any IT pro will tell you, good support is a must-have. That means that when using different software solutions, you could end up paying more in support fees than you would have done with an all in one backup solution (particularly if that solution offers free support!).
Then factor in the cost of data loss to your business if something goes wrong with your backups or a recovery process – this is often of particular concern with free solutions!
Want an all in one solution?
If you’re running a Windows environment, whether it be physical, Hyper-V, or a mix of the two, do yourself a favour and check out BackupAssist. We’re an all in one solution that won’t break your budget.