Enterprise backup software is an area of continual innovation in data storage and data protection. The advent of virtualization, the cloud, containers, and workloads has required backup vendors to keep up with the enormous amounts of important business data. Data protection demands that enterprises have multiple methods of keeping data safe and replicating it in case of disaster or loss.
This need has given rise to a steady stream of new and updated data backup tools. In this software analysis, we’ve highlighted eleven of the best backup and recovery solutions. They help businesses better manage their data protection and provide additional security in case of natural or technical disaster. We also list considerations for purchasing backup software so that your enterprise can find the right vendor.
How to buy enterprise backup software
Choosing the right backup solution requires knowing exactly what data you have and what data protection you need. The following questions are a few of the most important to ask when searching for backup software:
- Is disaster recovery an essential feature for your business? If you have any important data, the answer to this is certainly yes, but if you’re debating, then choose a solution that offers good DR. This also includes looking at recovery times and the number of locations in which the data will be stored.
- Does the company that offers the software have good customer support, availability, and an easy way to get in touch with representatives? If you run into problems with the software, you’ll want the ability to contact customer service quickly.
- How much do you want to manage your own backup? Do you want a user panel or interface through which you control much of the data and processes, or would you prefer a more hands-off approach? Many backup and recovery software providers offer self-management solutions, but the level of oversight you’re looking for will affect which solutions are a better fit.
- Does the solution include any AI or machine learning? Intelligent backup software leaves a bit more room for IT teams to attack other manual tasks.
- Is the solution compliant with data standards and regulations? If your business is in healthcare, finance, or law, you will have to meet certain retention requirements. Backup software should also have multiple copies of data stored in multiple locations so that customers are more able to keep old data per retention stipulations.
- Is the software straightforward and relatively easy to work with? Many backup solutions have a single dashboard or interface that allows customers to manage all of their stores and backups from one location. A single simplifying portal isn’t a requirement for software to be straightforward, but the ability to easily access all of your backups and data is helpful.
- Cobalt Iron
- Acronis Backup 12.5
- Data Dynamics StorageX
- Commvault HyperScale
- Veritas NetBackup
- Spectra Logic BlackPearl
- IBM Cloud Object Storage System
- Data Domain Virtual Edition
- Honorable Mention: Veeam
Value proposition for potential buyers: Cobalt’s NAS Agent, a solution for backing up network attached storage, replicates NAS data to cloud environments. Most older methods for backing up NAS are neither fast nor effective, so Cobalt is a good choice for businesses that still rely heavily on NAS arrays.
Cobalt Iron’s Compass solution deploys automation to greatly improve the efficiency of managing data backup—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. Furthermore, this sole console provides managers with the data they need to more easily troubleshoot problems in the infrastructure. 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).
Value proposition for potential buyers: Businesses that use Nutanix or VMWare clusters will benefit from backup and recovery solutions designed for the two platforms.
HYCU (formerly Comtrade HYCU) is purpose-built backup and recovery software for Nutanix and VMWare. 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 feature. Additionally, HYCU supports Oracle databases.
HYCU 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. The same is true for VMWare customers, since HYCU has also added support for the virtualization software.
Acronis Backup 12.5
Value proposition for potential buyers: For businesses using Microsoft 365, Acronis offers a cloud backup and disaster recovery option specifically designed to back up Microsoft’s business software, including emails, team channels, and file folders.
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 (RTO). 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 back up 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. 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.”
Value proposition for potential buyers: Arcserve supports over 300 platforms and systems, with the goal of offering a more unified protective architecture. Arcserve also uses Sophos as its cybersecurity platform, including for on-premises data and servers.
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.
Data Dynamics StorageX
Value proposition for potential buyers: StorageX is built to free customers from lock-in. Customers can manage and control their data, moving files to the environment that’s most effective for them.
Data Dynamics StorageX software is a file management and file replication tool that makes copies of NAS file shares as a means of data protection. One of its recent releases, 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.”
Value proposition for potential buyers: Businesses that use entirely Windows hardware and Office 365 software will benefit from on-premises, cloud, and virtual server backups, restoration, and version histories.
BackupAssist develops Windows Server backup and recovery software for small and medium businesses. It focuses on ease of use, but includes more advanced features for the expert. With BackupAssist, users can encrypt long-term archive data backups.
Additional features include disaster recovery, file restore, instant VM recovery, cloud and onsite backup. BackupAssist also encrypts data and sends alerts when it notices a potential security threat. Through BackupAssist, users can create data containers, which are pictured as a local disk on a computer. Data containers store backed up data for disk drives, external drives, and network locations.
Value proposition for potential buyers: Businesses that plan to grow their stored data significantly or shift data between cloud environments should consider HyperScale—the company permits scaling up to five petabytes for just one storage pool.
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 usable 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.”
Value proposition for potential buyers: Version 9 of NetBackup added features for Microsoft Azure archive storage, including longer data retention periods, which can help businesses that need to store long-term data to comply with regulations.
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 introduced deduplication technology known as Veritas NetBackup CloudCatalyst. This can be licensed as software or in the NetBackup Cloud Catalyst 5240 Appliance.
Another 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.
Spectra Logic BlackPearl
Value proposition for potential buyers: For businesses that still rely on older forms of storage, BlackPearl offers many choices for storage locations, including tape, disk, and object.
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 that help to create a solid platform that is built to fit into any workflow.”
IBM Cloud Object Storage System
Value proposition for potential buyers: IBM is one of the top enterprise object storage solutions and is championed by its customers. It’s ideal for businesses that need backed-up, high-quality cloud object storage.
IBM Cloud Object Storage System offers 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 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.
Data Domain Virtual Edition
Value proposition for potential buyers: For businesses with multiple office locations, Data Domain installs a Virtual Edition at each remote or branch location, protecting data for all offices in a company.
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.”
Value proposition for potential buyers: Organizations that host on VMWare V-Sphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Nutanix AHV hypervisors will benefit from Veeam’s backup and recovery suite for virtual environments.
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 on-premises, virtual, and cloud-based data.