IT wisdom says that people fall into two categories: those who don’t back up and those who already do. In the corporate sector, the situation is roughly the same. Despite the obvious importance of regular backups as IBM Spectrum Protect , not all companies pay attention to it.
In this material, you will learn about the most popular tools for data backup and recovery and can compare them using a special table.
The importance of regular backups and keeping backups of critical data can be illustrated by a simple example. After last year’s attacks by the encryption viruses WannaCry and NotPetya, organizations that simply restored backups of their systems were the fastest to get back to work. And the most curious case was probably that of Maersk, a large international transport company. Within a few days, the employees at the head office had backed up almost all of their servers. But they had no backups of the main controllers that ran the entire network. The only copy survived in Ghana: on the day of the attack, the local office was without power and unaffected by the attack. The cherished hard drive with a copy of the controllers had to be flown to London via Nigeria, as it would have taken days to send it over the Internet due to its slow speed in Ghana.
Data can be lost not only because of viruses and hacker attacks, as in the case of Maersk. It can happen because of mistakes by users and network administrators, equipment failures, or force majeure circumstances (theft, fire, natural disasters). Backup and Recovery systems are designed to protect against this. They copy information specified by system administrators to backup media or the cloud at preset intervals. Backup can include specific files and folders as well as system and server images, database, and application contents. In the case of problems, such systems can restore the necessary data on the original devices. And it happens very quickly. Modern solutions allow you to continue working just a few minutes after the incident.
Various storage media are used to store backups. Often there are hard drives and solid state drives (HDD and SSD) as part of various specialized devices (NAS, RAID arrays, etc.). Cloud storage is not without attention. Of course, you can also use other storage media, such as Blu-ray, DVD, or tape-based storage devices. But they have significant drawbacks. Compact disks are too small in size (not suitable for large enterprises) and tape drives, while offering high reliability and durability, have a very low recovery rate. These methods are suitable for home backups and use in small firms, where the amount of data is not so large. But in large companies, they will be very inconvenient.
You should also pay attention to the operating model of the backup and recovery system. It can be a separate program, hardware, and software complex, or a SaaS (Software as a Service) service. Each of them has its features. A software solution is cheap, but in any case, requires storage space in the client’s IT infrastructure. Software-hardware suites provide such devices, but also cost much more. A SaaS solution eliminates the problem of space availability, but the IS policy of many companies prohibits storing certain types of data on third-party servers. So, when choosing a model, you need to start with your own needs and available hardware. Now let’s take a closer look at what solutions are on the market. When selecting them for our review, we proceeded with an expert opinion of Gartner and other leading resources.
Dell EMC Avamar
A leading IT company, Dell EMC, offers a hardware and software tool for data backup and recovery called Avamar. It is part of the Data Protection Suite Family, a suite of proprietary data protection solutions. Avamar works with all types of corporate devices (desktops, laptops, and servers), various virtual environments (including VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V), and enterprise applications (SAP, Oracle, MS SQL, etc.). Data deduplication is used for efficient use of disk space when storing backups, and traffic is optimized depending on the type of working networks. According to the developers’ statements, integration of this tool with Dell EMC Data Domain increases the speed of backups by 50% and reduces the load on the network by 99%.
The system allows centralized work not only with the main office but also with remote offices. Backups in them are performed according to the standard model. For example, to restore data in the remote office, the administrator has to do the same actions as when working on site. The recovery procedure itself is quite simple, often requiring only one step. Backups in Dell EMC Avamar can be encrypted, which provides an increased level of data security. And the Avamar Data Store storage system scales up to 124 TB. The solution also works with AWS and Azure cloud services. Backup to the cloud and disaster recovery are supported, and long-term cloud storage is available.
IBM Spectrum Protect
Recovering information with IBM Spectrum Protect is easy. Backup and recovery can be managed using both the proprietary Spectrum Protect Operations Center software and third-party software. IBM Spectrum Protect also has preset plans and configurations. They simplify deployment and configuration of the solution, as well as help in management: it is possible to immediately set necessary work scenarios for certain environments. So even administrators who have not previously encountered such tasks can easily understand and manage the system. The developer himself says that simplicity is one of the key features of the platform. IBM offers a hardware and software system Spectrum Protect for data backup and recovery with the ability to scale up to 4 Petabytes (petabytes). The system works with both physical servers and devices, as well as in Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtual environments. It also supports cloud services. IBM Spectrum Protect allows storing backups on a wide variety of media – individual hard disks, flash drives, tape drives, network, and cloud storage. And users can work with hybrid models and specify the optimal combination of different storage locations. Backing up objects themselves is quite fast. According to the developer’s information, five hundred VMware virtual machine images can be backed up in seven minutes using the IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot tool. Indeed, a good indicator.
Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery
Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery provides data backup and archiving from physical and virtual servers, cloud and hybrid environments, desktops and laptops, and even corporate mobile devices. The solution supports most operating systems, applications, and databases (Documentum, Oracle, MySQL, SAP, Microsoft), and virtual and cloud environments (AWS, Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat Virtualization, VMware, and many others). The product generates detailed reports and analytics on all procedures, which allows you to optimize its operation and the functioning of the entire enterprise. During the backup process, data is automatically deduplicated, both at the source and on backup servers. This approach significantly reduces the network load and saves storage space. The solution allows you to back up and “snapshot” applications and equipment without interruption and with minimal load on the system. All processes are managed through a single management console. The backup and recovery tool from Commvault is delivered as a software product and a cloud service on the SaaS model. The solution is modular, but at the same time, all of its parts are created based on a single code. This approach guarantees uninterrupted collaboration of different parts of the tool.
Veeam Backup Essentials
Veeam offers one of the most feature-rich software solutions for data backup and recovery. It consists of two tools: Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam ONE. As it is clear from the name, the first one can not only make backups but also replications – synchronization of the content of several object copies. This feature allows you to quickly and safely restore virtual machines, data, and applications after a failure. And they are restored to almost the same state they were in before the crash. Thus, you can be sure that the results of your work will not be lost. It also knows how to roll back replicas and allows you to simply switch to a replica if a VM fails and get back to it just as easily.
Veeam ONE is an infrastructure monitoring, reporting, and scheduling tool for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. It can alert you to potential problems with virtual machines, physical servers, and cloud resources before they affect users. That is, it allows you to fix problems before they occur and thus avoid data recovery procedures that are sure to cause outages.
In addition to these tools, Veeam Backup Essentials offers standard data backup and recovery capabilities. It works with popular business applications and databases and supports 19 common file systems. It has a convenient web portal that allows you to restore files and applications in one click. And not only administrators can do it, but also ordinary users, as long as they have data they’ve been working with and have access rights to.
Acronis backup and recovery products are well known to home users. But Acronis has a lot to offer even for the corporate segment. For example, Acronis Backup supports 21 platforms, including virtual environments (Red Hat, Citrix, VMware, and others), cloud services (Amazon, Microsoft), endpoints, and even mobile devices (Android, iPhone, and iPad). For business applications and virtual machines, replication is available (using special templates for Windows and Linux), as well as Acronis Cloud storage. Workstation and server images can be restored to hardware that is different from the one from which the backup was taken. You can also create restore points for any critical application or array of information that, if necessary (for example, due to a hardware failure or need to replace it), can be quickly deployed to the cloud and allow you to continue working with only a short interruption.
The platform itself is very easy to manage. It deploys quickly and, according to the developers, requires no special training to operate it. The system can be managed centrally through a single interface. In addition to the backup and recovery functions themselves, Acronis Backup has several useful additional tools. For example, Acronis Notary, a tool that uses blockchain technology to confirm the authenticity of information sent and received. And Acronis Active Protection tool is used to protect your data from ransomware viruses.
For data backup and recovery, HPE offers HPE StoreOnce, a line of devices that provide reliable data storage of up to 104PB and backup speeds of up to 139TB/hr. These devices are used for cloud and virtual environments, as well as hybrid models. Both HPE Recovery Manager Central and third-party solutions such as Veeam or Commvault are suitable for StoreOnce devices. StoreOnce model range is quite wide and scalable. It covers the needs of small remote offices as well as large corporate data centers. The devices use intelligent deduplication technology, which (according to the developers) can reduce the amount of data occupied by 95%.
This line also offers a software-defined backup storage system with a capacity of up to 500 TB called HPE StoreOnce VSA. Its capacity can be adjusted in 1TB increments. It runs in a virtual environment and can be tested free for 90 days. Also available to users as a separate solution is HPE Cloud Bank Storage, which is used as an extension to the core system and integrates with Amazon and Microsoft web services.
Arcserve is one of the old-timers in the backup and recovery market. The company has been in this business since 1990 and, of course, has tremendous experience. Today the company’s leading solution is the Arcserve Unified Data Protection platform. It offers software, hardware (up to 240TB), and cloud backup and recovery solutions with a single web-based management console that can be accessed from anywhere with Internet access. The system provides data deduplication, real-time replication, virtual (VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Xen) and physical environments, and recovery to different hypervisors. Disk arrays, tape storage, and cloud services can be used as storage for backups. Moreover, these methods can be combined, for example, cloud and local backups can be performed simultaneously. As for the Arcserve UDP Appliance 8000 Series, it offers 16 different storage configurations as well as a wide range of scalability options.
The Arcserve UDP platform allows backing up individual files and folders as well as full databases such as SQL or Exchange. To improve information security, data backups can be encrypted using SSL and AES. User access to the data is also protected by a two-factor authentication system when logging in requires not only entering your username and password but also confirming the login with your mobile device.
Unitrends is a well-known manufacturer of backup and recovery systems. Unitrends offers both software and hardware tools for these tasks. The Recovery Series Appliances are scalable solutions that offer users from two to 120TB of backup storage space. They run Unitrends Backup software (but this software can also work without tethering to them). The system supports working with physical and virtual environments, backs up databases and business applications, provides integration with cloud services and knows how to work with Windows and VMware replicas. It also has protection against ransomware viruses and data encryption with 256-bit AES protocol.
Unitrends also offers a free version of the product called Unitrends Free. There are some restrictions. For example, the amount of data to be backed up cannot exceed 1TB. But for small businesses (or just to familiarize yourself with the product) that volume is quite enough.
Veritas Backup Exec
Veritas offers a data backup and recovery tool called Backup Exec. This product has been on the market for quite some time. The developer constantly updates it and adds new features, as evidenced by the version number: the twentieth edition of this program is currently available. Backup Exec provides all the basic features required for this kind of solution. It works with physical and virtual environments, the most popular cloud services (Amazon S3, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and others), can deduplicate data, instantly create copies of virtual machines, and restore them very quickly. For example, with instant granular recovery technology, vSphere 2016-enabled virtual machines are back up and running in seconds. Many popular databases and business applications are also supported.
Veritas Backup Exec has a flexible licensing system. There are three editions of the program available to users: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, which differ in functionality. Thus, the Bronze edition is designed mainly for medium-sized and small businesses, while the Silver and Gold editions are for larger companies. Also, Veritas Backup Exec offers a convenient scaling system in 1TB increments. It is the number of working servers and ordered volume of backed-up information that determines the final price for the consumer. It allows you to use your resources efficiently and pay only for what you use.
Barracuda Backup is a unified, cost-effective data protection solution for physical, virtual, and cloud (SaaS) environments. It is a complete solution with remote storage that is easy to purchase, install and use. Barracuda Backup is a single solution for protecting physical servers and virtual machines (VMware and Hyper-V) with instant status reporting and selective file recovery – with unified management for replication and storage. Barracuda Backup is a comprehensive solution from a single vendor. It combines software, embedded deduplication, external cloud, or private replication with no server or application license fees.
Barracuda Backup is available as both a universal physical hardware appliance and a virtual appliance.
Policy administration is handled through central management via the Barracuda Cloud Control service, and a role-based administration model is implemented.
Barracuda Cloud Storage, Cloud Control, and Cloud LiveBoot recovery services enable simple remote replication, seamless distributed administration, and quick access to virtual machines during a disaster.
With Barracuda Backup solutions, customers benefit from a simple billing model with no license fees per application or per server, backup software, quick deployment (less than an hour) of local storage and remote storage, central cloud-based management for seamless distributed administration, rapid local or remote recovery, data loss prevention and minimized downtime, availability as a virtual appliance that can be bottom line.
As you can see, data backup and recovery systems offer a wide variety of options for users. Chief among these is support for a variety of environments and devices, integration with cloud services, speed of operation, economical storage, and user-friendliness. Despite common priorities and a similar set of features, each of these systems has its unique characteristics, which may be useful for some companies, but remain unclaimed by others. So when choosing such tools, first and foremost pay attention to the needs of your company. They are the ones that ultimately play a key role.