Friday, 3 May 2013

Backups, a necessary evil?

It may be unfair of me to compare backups to car insurance, but here goes!
  • We all know we need it, but not everyone has it. 
  • We buy it, hoping to never have to use it.
  • We never know how effective it is until we have to use it.
  • We ignore the extra offerings, believing we can get it cheaper elsewhere.
  • Most people will buy on price, rather than looking at what it covers.
With most back up solutions there is a limitation with the platform on which the backup solutions runs.  Some are software only, some are appliance only, some only have agents and push to the internet, some only run in a virtual environment, and many vendors will only give one or two of these choices.

Looking at the agents and application support, some specialise with virtualised environments, some only with Windows servers, some have limited integration agents and therefore struggle to back up vital servers within your network.

Some have the ability to create bare metal backups in case of a disaster, but they can only restored on similar hardware.  Most people will struggle to find similar hardware, once it's over a year old, as the manufacturers are continuing to release new hardware.

Then there's the media it will back up to, some will only go to tape, disk, SAN, NAS, removable media, to the internet (cloud), or to a private network/cloud, but again some will only give limited choices.

We at e92plus, currently work with Unitrends, who can offer the following:
  • Choice of platform, supporting either a backup appliance or a virtual appliance for either Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere.
  • Backup a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Linus, Apple Mac OS X, AIX and Solaris.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware virtualisation environments, including instant recovery for VMware.
  • The ability to archive to Disk, tape, NAS and SAN.
  • The ability to replicate to another appliance, to another virtual appliance, to the Unitrends Cloud, or to a private cloud (hosted by either you or a trusted partner/supplier).
  • Utilising compression and de-duplication technologies to the reduce the size of the backups.
  • The ability to create bare metal backups, and restore to dissimilar hardware.
Unitrends sounds too good to be true, but a number of environments (have a look on Spiceworks) and I are currently using and very happy with the solution.

The pricing is very competitive as well, but you probably won't believe it until you try it, so have a look here to download your Free Edition, which will allow you to protect four virtual machines, forever, for free!

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