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  • Many of us live happily in ignorance, believing that our company’s data is well protected, but not being sure how that protection is implemented.

    You should think about your data as if it was money (actually it is money; if in doubt, think about how much your competitors would pay for it): You put your money in a vault and stay calm; but you should check, once in a while, that your money is still there and that it will be available in case you need it fast.

    The same applies to data. Your enterprise data backups need to be as safe as in a vault, and you must be sure that, in case of disaster strikes, you will be able to recover your data in a short period, and your company will be back in business as if nothing has happened. That’s what a good backup strategy, paired with a good set of backup tools, must provide.

    To do that, you first need to define your backup strategy.

    • Where will you store your backups in a public cloud or a private network?
    • For how long will you keep them?
    • What kind of backups will you do?
    • Will you need to be able to recover to a particular point in time?

    These are only a few of the questions your backup strategy should answer. And the answers will determine which tools you should choose because not all tools satisfy every strategy.

    A part of your backup strategy will involve the backup and restore procedures: which of them can be done automatically and which require manual intervention. How much effort they require and what resources they take. These aspects, too, are closely related to the backup tools you choose. By reading the following product descriptions, you will get an overview of the tools available to meet different data backup needs.

    Rubrik

    Using the Cloud Data Management platform, Rubrik lets users go beyond backup and restore. It gives them a complete set of tools to take full control of their enterprise data by mobilizing applications, analyzing application data, recovering from ransomware, and delivering instant application availability.

    Rubrik hybrid-cloud users love the speed of its VM restores, as well as the additional use cases it allows, such as having a virtualized environment ready for the temporary testing or doing VM relocation via cluster replication between data centers. Other cool features include integration with vCenter and Powershell via the Rubrik API. Although it is considered a somewhat expensive solution, system administrators love the way it makes them look like heroes when they take only seconds to recover from big disasters.

    Veeam

    Users love Veeam‘s reliability and transparency since they rarely see failures, and they know exactly what is being backed up and where it is going to. The solution can easily be used to backup hundreds of virtual machines and physical devices, and the supporting media could be either a local NAS or a Veeam Cloud Connect repository.

    Veeam’s job run options offer a lot of customization in terms of backup settings, copies, and replication, letting you adapt the backup procedures to suit your business needs, regardless of its size. The notification and reporting tools available offer a lot of knowledge about the backup status, without the need to customize anything.

    Also, the user interface is also very informative and easy to navigate. One of the few aspects that could use improvement is the guidance for job creation. A friendly wizard would be very welcome.

    Cohesity

    If you are either looking for a hyper-convergence backup solution or cost-effective storage for cold data, then you should take a look at Cohesity. It integrates with many other systems, like AWS, Pure Storage, or VMware, offering a wide range of APIs directly available to the user. It is reported to be lightning-fast for indexing and restoring data, and for backing up virtual machines. It also provides robust engines for data compression and deduplication.

    Cohesity has a simple and easy to use user interface that allows for a slight and short learning curve. It offers different levels of restoration, including files and folders, for partial recovery. Also, for true disaster recovery, Cohesity provides sound planning and replication options. It is a preferred solution for replacing legacy backup solutions, such as tape libraries and integrating with public clouds.

    Commvault

    Commvault offers a solution that spans across the entire enterprise. Its special features include mail backup for Office365, a solution for moving entire sites between clouds, full system imaging, and point-in-time recovery for SQL databases. It provides for end-user self-service data restore, something that relieves IT personnel from assisting in that matter.

    It is intended mostly for large enterprises with consolidated data deployments, which is why it could hardly be considered cost-effective when compared to other less comprehensive, cloud-integrated solutions. If your company has abundant unstructured data located in separate data sources, it is possible that Commvault won’t be able to offer you a proper solution.

    Spectrum Protect Suite

    With its Spectrum Protect solution, IBM offers a single point of control for all enterprise backup and recovery procedures. It is capable of operating with cloud or physical backup environments of all sizes.

    Spectrum Protect manages user data through a hierarchy of storage media: raw devices, filesystem containers, streaming tape, and optical media. It provides for off-site backups with the ability to make duplicate copies on sequential media.

    For virtual environments, Spectrum interacts with VMware through its Virtual Storage API, which also interfaces with Microsoft Hyper-V. As a unique feature, IBM’s solution offers what-if analysis, which allows IT, people, to do simulations with actual performance figures, and then determine the best way to set up their virtual infrastructures.

    Acronis

    Acronis‘ backup solution offers a wide range of options, from simple file backup on workstations to application-based backup in servers. Its reports provide detailed information on failures and successes, facilitating issue detection and troubleshooting.

    The product is suitable for small to medium-sized companies looking for a hybrid cloud solution that provides a solid and reliable backup, and also offers a good level of tech support. In the case of larger systems and bigger networks, Acronis falls short, and a product for bigger companies should be taken into consideration.

    Besides protecting critical systems, Acronis also creates images for moving individual systems to new hardware and makes virtual hard disks for use in VMware or Hyper-V.

    Veritas Backup Exec

    Veritas Backup Exec stands out for supporting a wide range of storage devices, including legacy ones, and for achieving extremely high restore speeds. Through a user-friendly GUI, it offers high reliability and simple installation, configuration, and maintenance procedures. Veritas users usually complain about its high price, but also say that the quality of its features is sufficient justification for its cost.

    If in doubt, Veritas offers a 60-day trial to check if it suits your needs, which it will probably do since it’s an adequate backup solution for almost any type of business environment, including those with legacy hardware.

    Unitrends

    Here comes an appliance on the list of tools!

    Unitrends Recovery Series Backup Appliance aims to converge enterprise backup and ransomware detection into an all-in-one platform that’s also easy to install and manage. It offers proactive monitoring and support, together with recovery assurance and a deeply integrated cloud continuity, which contributes to shortening the time to value. It supports multiple backup types, including files, virtual machine infrastructures, applications, and operating systems. It also allows for multi-server scheduling and customized backup strategies.

    By providing a unified appliance with storage, the Unitrends Recovery Series solution simplifies backup and recovery operations, helping companies deal with growing data volumes and tight backup windows. It offers support for heterogeneous infrastructures, eliminating the need to expand staff time, money, and resources when the need to meet diverse workload demands arises.

    Barracuda Backup

    Barracuda offers backup appliances with a lot of options to adapt to diverse scenarios. For example, they can replicate data to the cloud or to another appliance at a remote site. This freedom to choose is a plus for service providers who need to adjust the infrastructures to their customers’ particular needs. In case a customer doesn’t want its data going off the network, for instance, he can opt for only local network replication options.

    Barracuda Backup version 6.0 includes Local Control, a new management option for organizations that manage data across their own facilities to address unique regulatory and business requirements. (PRNewsFoto/Barracuda Networks, Inc.)

    For sysadmins, Barracuda appliances represent a reduction in their workloads, thanks to its simple setup, configuration, and restore procedures. Users highlight the ability to automate otherwise time-consuming tasks, such as having a device restore an entire system to a virtualized cluster.

    Choose consciously

    We have carefully curated here a selection of backup tools that solve different necessities. You should pick the one that fits an environment as similar as possible to yours. Take into account that perhaps the one that is better for cloud storage doesn’t perform so well with legacy systems, or the one that provides application-level backups is not the ideal option when you just need to restore a bunch of files.

    Or maybe the one that does it all is too costly for your budget. We hope we have helped you clarify the picture, so you can make the best possible decision.