Fake news, fake backup appliances.  What do they have in common?  One is hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation delivered via e-mail campaigns, social media, and other techniques designed to mislead its readers.  The other is fake news.

I’ve recently seen a rash of software backup tool vendors sending IT professionals advertise that they  should use their software for “backup appliances.”  Multiple vendors seem to be doing it – in the last few weeks I’ve gotten assailed via e-mail, social media, and even telephone calls from legacy vendors such as Veeam and CommVault.  Titles such as  “Have IT Availability YOUR Way with Backup Appliances” and advertising with claims like “Our purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) simplify data protection and management by combining storage hardware with backup and recovery software in a single, integrated package” beckon.

Of course, it’s like saying you offer cars when what you’re selling are tires.  Tires designed for bicycles.

Backup appliances come in two flavors: physical backup appliances (integrated single vendor solutions) or virtual backup appliances (integrated single vendor solutions that operate on top of VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, and other hypervisors.)  The most important differentiators here are

  • Integrated.  A backup appliance is an integrated offering.  It’s a car, not a tire.
  • Single vendor.  A single vendor designs all of the component parts to integrate seamlessly together.  You don’t have to worry about whether the transmission and exhaust fit together.
  • Solution.  A solution is “a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.”  Slapping a Windows executable onto some version of Windows simply doesn’t have the scope of building a purpose-built backup appliance.  Steering wheels are great, but I don’t buy a steering wheel when I need transportation – I buy a car.

The acid test for any vendor purporting to sell you a backup appliance is “Who do I call if there’s an issue with the X?” – where “X”is

  • The second site or cloud infrastructure
  • The backup and disaster recovery software
  • The replication software
  • The bare metal software
  • The database software
  • The operating system software
  • The server hardware
  • The storage hardware
  • … and so on…

There’s a more concise way to put this – “Is there one throat to choke?”  If there isn’t, you’re being sold fake backup appliances.

Fake news can ruin your day.  Fake news can cause you to do believe stupid things.  Thus it’s important to try to validate anything you hear.  Fake backup appliances can ruin your career.  Fake backup appliances can cause you to spend time and energy building a total cost of ownership sinkhole.  Don’t believe fake news – and don’t buy fake backup appliances.  You’re better than that.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.


  1. I wish you named these companies that are pitching you their wares. I’m on lists as well and hardly pay them any mind so maybe their messages didn’t resonate with me at all.

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