10 Best Backup Software & Solutions

Data backup may not be glamorous, but it is an area of continual innovation in data storage and data protection. The advent of virtualization, the cloud, containers, and more has meant that backup vendors have had to move fast to keep up.

That has given rise to a steady stream of new and updated backup tools. Here are some of the highlights.

Cobalt Iron

Cobalt Iron’s Compass solution deploys automation to greatly improve the efficiency of managing data backup – clearly one of the most pressing loads on enterprise IT infrastructure today. With the rapid increase in data from IoT, analytics, and other emerging technologies, this kind of automated solution has become increasingly important.

To create an improved system for backup, Cobalt’s solutions include a single pane of glass: a single, multi-tool dashboard to oversee and monitor backup. This console can manage the many enterprise backup tasks at any level, including global policy administration – this is important for compliance issues, among other advantages. Furthermore, this sole console provides managers with the data they need to more easily troubleshoot problems in the infrastructure. To its credit, Compass can be found in many top global data centers, including IBM Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Alibaba.

The use cases for Cobalt Iron solutions include replacing complex backup, simplifying NAS backup, and replacing expensive data domain appliances. Additionally, Cobalt has extended its Compass platform with advanced support for Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS).


HYCU (formerly Comtrade HYCU) is purpose-built backup and recovery software for Nutanix. It is hypervisor agnostic, and supports AHV and ESX. It leverages Nutanix Storage level snapshots to implement incrementals, automates compliance and can utilize a variety of backup targets using protocols like NFS, SMB & iSCSI. It also supports cloud storage from AWS and Azure.

By tightly integrating with Nutanix systems, HYCU backup data can be transferred through the Nutanix scale-out storage protocol (ABS) and backup traffic can be load balanced from the Nutanix production system to the target nodes. This shortens the backup window. On the S3 front, it has added support for Cloudian and Scality. Automated discovery and consistent backup and recovery of Microsoft Active Directory is another new feature. Additionally, HYCU supports Oracle databases.

Additionally, the company has added end-to-end software encryption for NFS, SMB and iSCSI/ABS targets. When customers choose this encryption, the data will be encrypted all the way from source to target and for data at rest.

“While the data protection market continues to mature, solutions like HYCU that are purpose-built for Nutanix platform users are well-suited to drive value as the role of the traditional backup administrator evolves and the cloud and virtual admin continues to gain prominence. For organizations looking at data protection solutions for Nutanix, they should seriously consider HYCU,” said George Crump, lead analyst, Storage Switzerland.

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Acronis Backup 12.5

Acronis Backup software provides protection for on-premises, remote systems, private and public clouds, and mobile devices. It is said to provide a 15-second Recovery Time Objective (RTOs). Features include virtual server protection for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Red Hat Virtualization, Linux KVM, and Oracle VM Server. Replication is provided via VMware vSphere Replication with WAN optimization. It can also backup Oracle databases with disk-imaging backup and bare-metal recovery. SAN storage snapshots can reduce the impact of backup processes by offloading VMware VM backup snapshots to NetApp SAN storage.

Acronis has also taken steps to improve backup security. It watches files for behaviors indicative of ransomware and stops attacks. It also Acronis restores damaged files so the user sees no impact from any attack.  

“Since recovering from your backups is your last line of defense in a ransomware attack, Acronis provides a verification mechanism using blockchain technology to prove that your backup has not been modified from its original state when it was created,” said Frank Jablonksi, Vice President of Global Marketing at Acronis. At any time in the future, you can compare your current copy of that backup with the blockchain to verify that the backup has not been changed and is safe to recover from.”

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As part of Arcserve’s flagship backup and availability solution suite, Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP), Arcserve UDP Cloud Direct is cloud-first backup and recovery for data and applications – virtual and physical, Windows and Linux. This cloud backup service is targeted at businesses that need a simple cloud on-ramp without on-premise hardware requirements. This includes branch or small offices where on-premise may not be desired or practical. It also may work well for those who wish to securely move large volumes of data over networks to data centers worldwide.

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Data Dynamics StorageX

Data Dynamics StorageX software is a file management and file replication tool that makes copies NAS file shares as a means of data protection. The latest release, StorageX 8.0, adds support for S3 object storage as well as replication. 

“Our customers have very large and growing volumes of unstructured data and are looking for means of storing millions of files at low cost with good protection,” said Cuong Le, Senior Vice President of Field Operations, Data Dynamics. “While they use cloud storage for long-term retention of unstructured files, they continue to use traditional backup for on premises database backup.”

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BackupAssist sdevelops Windows Server backup and recovery software for small and medium businesses. As such, it focuses on ease of use, but includes more advanced features for the expert.   

Additional features include disaster recovery, file restore, instant VM recovery, cloud and onsite backup.

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Commvault HyperScale

Commvault HyperScale is available either as an appliance or as software. It adds scale-out infrastructure to the Commvault Data Platform. It can integrate with storage arrays, hypervisors, applications and cloud providers. It takes advantage of a built-in operating environment, virtualization, and storage technologies from Red Hat.

It is primarily aimed at the secondary storage market, which Commvault believes accounts for 70% of customer data. The appliance version integrates compute, storage, networking, virtualization, backup and recovery, lifecycle data management and analytics into a single platform. It has a useable capacity of 32 to 80 TB but can scale out into the multi-PB range. Those preferring the software option can choose hardware configuration sizes and models from:  Fujitsu, Cisco, Lenovo, HPE, Super Micro Computer, Huawei and Dell-EMC.

Commvault brings a holistic platform approach to data management, which includes backup and recovery,” said David King, Director of Solutions Marketing, Commvault. “The platform follows these best practices to provide full lifecycle data protection.”

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Veritas NetBackup 8.1

Veritas NetBackup software provides unified data protection for multi-cloud, virtual and physical environments that can be globally managed from a single console. It can store data on disk, tape or the cloud. Version 8.1 includes new deduplication technology known as —Veritas NetBackup CloudCatalyst. This can be licensed as software or in the NetBackup Cloud Catalyst 5240 Appliance.

Another new feature is NetBackup Parallel Streaming. It offers rapid data protection of in-demand, cloud-based, scale-out workloads and applications, such as NoSQL, Hadoop and Cassandra. The idea is to streamline the lengthy process often associated with these applications.

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Spectra Logic BlackPearl

Spectra Logic’s latest release is aimed at mid-tier enterprise-grade data storage. Spectra BlackPearl Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a disk platform that can provide an affordable storage location. It is useful in offloading inactive tier one data, landing ingested media, or backup storage. It scales from 48 TB to 7.1 PB per unit. It can be upgraded to a full BlackPearl Converged Storage System. Doing so provides access to multiple local and remote storage targets including tape, disk and the cloud.

BlackPearl NAS appears to the network like any other NAS. It connects to tape and archive disk locally, and offers replication to alternate private or public cloud sites for redundancy and disaster recovery.

“Spectra’s backup and archive products are low cost, scalable and flexible,” said Eric Polet, emerging markets manager, Spectra Logic. “Spectra’s partner ecosystem includes integrations with Komprise, Veeam and other major backup and data mover packages helps to create a solid platform that is built to fit into any workflow.

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IBM Cloud Object Storage System

IBM Cloud Object Storage System has new features such as compliance-enabled vaults. This is particularly valuable in meeting regulatory retention requirements (like those in SEC 17a-4(f)), where companies must store some data immutably, preventing it from being deleted or modified during a specified retention period. These new data vaults protect object data from deletion or modification.

Another new feature is a concentrated dispersal mode capability. It enables smaller footprint systems to scale easily to larger configurations. Those new to object storage can reduce their initial deployment commitment and still grow to petabyte scale and beyond.

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Data Domain Virtual Edition

Dell EMC’s Data Protection Division is rolling out virtual editions of its portfolio. Not everyone wants an appliance or a traditional software package so these new offerings provide backup capabilities to suit a wider range of needs and use cases. Beyond back-up, this also extends to snapshots, continuous replication, disaster recovery, analytics and search for on-premise and in-cloud environments.

“We also recently announced industry-leading automation capabilities that bring self-service to application owners for data protection under IT governance and compliant with service level objectives,” said Alex Almeida, Consultant, Data Protection Product Marketing, Dell EMC. “As software-defined data centers get built out and cloud plays an integral role in IT strategy, our offerings have rapidly evolved to provide software-based versions of our offers e.g. protection storage (Data Domain Virtual Edition) and other software defined versions of offerings (Virtual Editions of our software portfolio) for software-defined and cloud environments.”

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Honorable Mention


Veeam has support for different types of enterprise applications and data stores, across multiple backup product offerings in its portfolio. Veeam’s backup technology supports both on-premises, virtual and cloud based data.

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been a full-time professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. He currently works freelance for a number of IT publications, including eSecurity Planet and CIO Insight. He is also the editor-in-chief of an international engineering magazine.

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