Your Options with Migrate to a New backup Product

StoneAgeComputer_Big.gifWhat are your options should you wish to switch from one backup product to another? Is there an easy way to make the switch; or, are you stuck with your underperforming backup product forever? On this post, let’s examine the options you might have, and the journey you might take.

Many customers ask these questions when they become aware that their Data Centre landscape has changed dramatically, and their backup product is now legacy, not performing, or not keeping up with the new technologies available and necessary to protect the modern large scale data centre.

One of the reasons to keep an old backup solution in service is one you probably thought of when you started reading this article; if I get a new backup solution, how do I read and restore the old backup data?

If have been using your current backup product for many years to protect your infrastructure, your challenge to find a suitable new backup product or solution is going to be harder, as you must find a way to recover data from your old backup product and incorporate its restoration through your new backup product or solution. This reason is what holds back many companies from replacing their legacy backup products with new products. One of the reasons to press on with your new backup solution is that modern backup products come with options aligned with the requirements of the demanding modern datacentres.

This diagram shows the relationship between the costs and the complexity of switching from a legacy backup product to a new backup product.


Why you need the historical backup data and for how long?

Well, each industry has its own legislation with respect to the retention period of historical data; for example, many companies must keep their historical data for seven years, and some others must retain it indefinitely. This is one of the reasons some companies are so cautious.

Switching between backup products is not an easy or cheap exercise. One of the surprising facts about migration between backup solution is the lack of a comprehensive tool that can migrate old backup data between products or backup vendors.

Is there an easy and cheap way to switch between backup products?

The answer to this depends upon how much time you have for your transition, and how much money you have available. Through my time dealing with backup products, I can identify two options that customers choose between when deciding to switch to a new backup product:

  • Cut-Start Day
  • Old backup Migration

Let’s take a moment to expand and discuss each of the options, starting with:

Cut-Start Day:

From my experience, and in my opinion, this is the cheapest, and the fastest, option to switch to a new backup product. With this option, the customer acquires the new backup product, a day is nominated when the backups with the old backup product stop, and the new product is set running making the new product backups.

To restore from the old backups, the customer must keep one licence, or maintenance license, for the legacy backup software to read and restore from the old backups. The license or maintenance must be paid for and kept current for the life of the legacy backups.

  • Advantage: Fast switch, One daily backup product to manage.
  • Disadvantage: Additional licensing costs, and legacy backups must be restored with the legacy backup software.

Old Backup Migration:

The second option that I see customers adopt is more time and budget consuming; but, the customer ends up with the expense of one product, and one product to manage. This second option requires the restoration of all the historical backup data from the legacy backup repository to a landing zone. From this landing zone, the new software can import the legacy data as a backup in the new backup product, and in the new backup format.

  • Advantage: One backup product to manage for new backups and the restoration of legacy data
  • Disadvantage: Time consuming, and temporary storage is required.


Each backup vendor will try to keep you tied to their backup product for as long as possible. One way of doing this is by not sharing their APIs to easily switch between backup vendors. This is understandable; but that must not hold you to an ageing backup product.

In this article, I shared with you the options most used by customers to switch between backup products. I didn’t consider the built-in migration tools that some backup vendors offer to assist with switching to their software. In my experience, these options require managed services, and many do not always work as expected.

Please add your comments below to keep this discussion open; and, please share your experience with us if you are already thinking about switching backup products.

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