In times of Ransomware and other modern threats, it is essential that companies worry about investing the best backup software for your servers. Have one well-defined and reliable backup policy, is the guarantee that your company will not suffer major losses in the event of an attack or any other incident that causes data loss.
Knowing that it is important to have a corporate server backup tool, which solution to choose?
Today the market offers numerous solutions, with different price levels. There are so many options, that the IT team may be confused about what is the best tool to have a backup server in the company.
One thing is right. No matter the size of your company, there is certainly backup software that suits you.
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Types of backup software for servers
We will divide the main backup solutions on the market into 03 categories. Are they:
- Free server backup software.
- Backup solutions with on-site installation.
- Backup as a service or Cloud Backup solutions.
In each category mentioned above, I will detail the main backup solutions available, with their pros and cons and a conclusion about the tool.
Free backup software
There are some free backup solutions available on the market.
They are most often used in small businesses, which need a simple, low-cost solution to deploy. Below we quote the best known:
Windows Server Backup
Windows Server Backup (WSB) is a feature that provides backup and recovery options for server environments with Windows Server and is already included by default in every installation.
Administrators can use Windows Backup Server to back up a complete server, system state, selected storage volumes, or specific files or folders.
It is a relatively simple solution to deploy, but it can be complicated to manage when you need to back up multiple servers, as it does not have a single management interface.
Positives of Windows Server Backup
- Since it is already included in the Windows Server, it is easy to enable and configure.
- Basic users can easily set up a backup routine.
Negative points about Windows Server Backup
- It does not have a centralized management and reporting tool.
- Configuring alerts and collecting information depends on Powershell knowledge, something that not all professionals have.
- The configuration of backup policies is very limited, which does not guarantee that we will have the most recent data recovery in case of any incident.
Windows Server Backup Conclusion
It was much more common to find companies using Windows Server Backup in the past, when the amount of data generated by companies was much smaller and systems were simpler.
Today there are more modern options with more resources available on the market that are also free.
Bacula is an Open Source backup software very well known and respected in the market.
It has a modular structure and a series of features that leave nothing to lose compared to paid competitors such as Arcserve, Backup Exec and Veeam.
Despite being Open Source, it has two versions. The Community which is free, and the Enterprise which is the paid version.
The free version perfectly manages simpler environments, very common in small and medium-sized companies. Unlike the Windows Backup Server mentioned above, Bacula has centralized management and reporting, making life easier for the IT manager.
Unfortunately the most modern backup features like deduplication, replication, compatibility with the main hypervisors and many other features, are only available in the Enterprise version. Look here the comparison of the Community vs. the Enterprise version of Bacula.
Positives of Bacula
- Although open source, it is the free solution that comes closest to the most popular backup tools on the market;
- It has centralized management and can be used to manage the backup of multiple servers;
- Plenty of documentation on the internet and a very active community.
Negative points of Bacula
- Like any Open Source solution, it is very important to assess the “hidden” cost that hides behind the free license. Solutions of this type usually require knowledge that requires a more qualified professional, who is usually more expensive. Not everything that is Open Source is, in fact, free.
- Some more modern features are only available in the Enterprise version.
- Professionals who have no experience in Linux environments may have difficulties implementing it.
Conclusion on Bacula
If in your company you have a professional with good knowledge of Linux, it may be interesting to consider Bacula as an alternative. However, if you want to use the most modern backup practices or even deploy a disaster recovery solution for your servers, perhaps the Community version, which is the free version, is not the best option.
Cobian Backup is a server backup software that is well known to older professionals.
Widely used in the past, it has stopped being used since its developer sold the source code and was never updated.
I honestly don't have much to say about the tool and I always recommend to customers where the encounter being used to remove it. It is not a good security practice to keep software on your servers that is no longer up to date.
In this specific case, I don't see any benefit in the tool, especially with so many free or cheap options available on the market.
Veeam Backup free edition
Veeam emerged a few years ago and gained a lot of market, leaving an unknown backup solution company, to start fighting on an equal footing with big backup solution manufacturers like Arcserve, Backup Exec and many others.
This absurd growth was due to the growth in the use of server virtualization. Veeam has developed very simple tools for backing up virtualized environments with VMware and Hyper-V.
Another major advantage of the manufacturer was to create free versions of its products, which allowed IT managers to use the tool for free and then migrate to paid versions, if necessary.
Positive about Veeam Backup free edition
- It is a more modern tool and offers excellent compatibility with virtualized environments with VMware and Hyper-V. Simple to install and configure.
- It can easily be used in small environments, with few virtual machines within a single host.
Negative about Veeam Backup free edition
- Like any free tool, it ends up being limited and does not offer a centralized management platform. Which can be a problem when you have more than one virtualization host.
- The free version has several limitations compared to the paid versions of Veeam products. Depending on your environment, the lack of some resources may make the use of the tool impossible.
Conclusion on Veeam Backup free edition
Excellent backup tool, especially if you use server virtualization with VMware and Hyper-V with few virtual machines on a single server. If your company does not use virtualization or has more than 01 virtualization host, I suggest thinking about using the paid version or using another backup tool for your servers.
Arcserve is backup software recognized by the market and was created by Computer Associates (CA). Recently, CA spin-off making Arcserve an independent company.
Arcserve was able to reinvent itself by abandoning its traditional backup solution called Arcserve Backup, which used an old tape-based backup approach, migrating all of its investments to a newer solution called Arcserve UDP.
Arcserve UDP allows you to have a solution not only for backup, but also for complete Disaster Recovery, with the possibility of server replication between branches or to the cloud.
Positives of Arcserve solutions
- Compatibility with a wide variety of systems and databases.
- Possibility to use a hybrid environment, with a tape backup legacy to be able to read old backups and back up the most recent data using a more modern approach.
- Fully compatible with the main cloud players, allowing recovery of a server on new equipment or in the cloud.
Negatives about Arcserve solutions
- Because it is a backup solution for servers focused on medium and large companies, its cost can be relatively high for smaller companies.
- Its implementation requires a professional with experience in the tool, another point that may make the solution more expensive.
Conclusion on Arcserve Solution
It is a renowned product and recognized by the market. If your environment is made up of several different and relatively complex systems, it is an excellent option. For small businesses, which generally have simpler environments and few servers, it may be a solution that does not justify the cost of implementation and support.
Yes, it may seem like I'm being repetitive, but no. Later in this article I talked about Veeam's free solutions and how they helped the company reach the top in the server backup tools market.
Only in this category of “traditional backup” solutions, I can't help talking about your paid solutions.
As with free tools, Veeam was born with a focus on having a solution for backup and recovery of virtualized environments with VMware and Hyper-V. IT professionals have come to love the tool because it offered a lower acquisition cost compared to its more traditional competitors like Arcserve and Backup Exec, as well as being relatively simpler to deploy and maintain.
The great Achilles' heel has always been the backup of physical machines and compatibility with legacy tape backup systems. In the latest versions of its products, it added compatibility with legacy tape backup environment and also the possibility of backing up physical servers.
Positive aspects of Veeam backup solutions
- The licensing process for Veeam products is simpler, as well as installation and maintenance. As a result, your total acquisition cost, which includes license, support and maintenance costs, is usually the cheapest among corporate backup solutions for servers.
- As it is a solution that was born to backup virtual servers, it has a sensational integration with Hyper-V and VMwware. If your server environment is virtualized, it is an excellent choice.
Negative points about Veeam backup solutions
- Despite having launched an agent to backup physical machines, this was never Veeam's focus. If your environment is very mixed between virtual and physical environments, perhaps Veeam's solution will not do as well. The ideal is to test in a separate environment and see the experience.
Conclusion on Veeam's solution
It is an excellent option for medium-sized companies, which need a backup solution with a more corporate profile, as it combines a low acquisition cost with a simpler deployment process.
Backup software for servers as a service
With the growth of cloud computing and the low cost of disk storage, several backup tools have been suggested that deviate from the traditional license sales model.
In this new model, manufacturers charge for GB stored in the backup and offer their replication service in the cloud to guarantee data availability.
You may be thinking that tools like Arcserve and Veeam also offer the possibility of replicating the backup to a public cloud. But the difference is that, while traditional tools charge for licenses and you are responsible for paying the cost of storage in the cloud, backup-as-a-service solutions do not charge for licenses being the only cost of storage space consumed in the cloud.
This backup contracting model can be very interesting for small and medium-sized companies that cannot be supported by free tools and cannot afford the full cost of more traditional backup solutions.
Let's take a look at the most popular options in this category of corporate backup tools.
Acronis is a well-known brand among computer technicians.
It has a backup solution that is sold using the traditional licensing model, but Acronis' most used tool is Acronis Cloud.
The great advantage of Acronis Cloud is that the tool offers a WEB platform for managing your backups. This is very good, as it allows the manager to access the tool practically from anywhere with internet without having to worry about configuring any remote access resources to his environment.
Strengths of Acronis backup solution
- Of the cloud backup tools I have used, it was the one that offered the best portal experience for backup administration. In addition to being accessible, it is simple to set up and easy to learn how to use;
- It has an excellent Ransomware protection feature that monitors all of your server processes and blocks applications that attempt to start an encryption process on the disk.
- The restore options are also very simple to use, allowing you to restore isolated files to Bare Metal recovery of an entire server on a new machine or on a cloud server.
Negatives about Acronis backup solution
- It is not the tool with the best cost per GB among the cloud backup tools for corporate environment available in the market. The higher cost is offset by the excellent management tool, but in companies that have very large masses of data, the cost can be a block to using the tool.
- It does not natively back up databases other than SQL Server. If you need to backup MySQL or Oracle, you will have to configure a script to run a dump and then copy the dump with Acronis.
Conclusion on the Acronis solution
It is an excellent tool option for cloud backup of servers and stations. It allows the backup to be stored on an external disk or storage, and then replicated to the cloud.
Its great advantage is the tool for managing backups, which is very simple to use. If you are looking for a tool to backup to the cloud simply and without having to learn to use a new tool, it is an excellent request.
This is Microsoft's solution for backing up servers in the cloud.
It can be used both for backup of virtual machines hosted on Azure, as well as for on-premises servers, whether virtual or physical.
It is a very simple tool to use and with a similar footprint to the Windows Backup Server that we talked about above, of course more modern.
It is the cloud backup solution for servers, with the lowest cost per GB in the market. However, as everything is not perfect, its configuration is very plastered and does not allow you to choose a backup storage repository on an external device, such as an HD.
Azure Backup strengths
- The lowest cost of cloud backup for servers. If your problem is budget and you have a Microsoft environment, it is an excellent alternative;
- Installation simplicity. Basically a next, next, finish.
Azure Backup weaknesses
- Despite the low cost, which can attract attention, it fails to offer a simple management and monitoring tool. Microsoft discloses that it can use OMS for monitoring, but it is not a simple tool to set up.
- The price you pay for having a simple installation is that the tool is plastered and does not allow any type of customization, such as storing the local backup on an external disk.
Conclusion on Azure Backup
If your company needs to back up VMs on Azure or a few local Windows servers and have a limited budget, Azure Backup may be a good option.
But if your environment is not only Windows and also has some applications that also need backup, it is not a good option.
And now? What backup software do I choose to protect my servers?
There are certainly several other options on the market, but if I were to talk about all the options for server backup tools, this article would become a small book.
There are several options available and this can confuse your mind when choosing.
- Escape the maximum of free backup solutions, especially solutions like Cobian and the like. If you have to use free solutions, prefer the branded ones already recognized as Bacula or Veeam. In times of Ransomware, we can't do anything. It is necessary to ensure that we can restore the data when necessary. Paid tools, even the cheapest, are supported by the manufacturer.
- Analyze the profile of your company and what is your tolerance for RTO and RPO. For those who do not know these acronyms, RTO or Recovery Time Objective, it concerns the amount of time that the company can be stopped until data is restored. The RPO, or Recovery Point Objective, refers to how much information the company tolerates losing in the event of a catastrophe. If your company has low RTOs and RPOs, you will need to use traditional backup solutions like Arcserve UDP or Veeam.
- Think carefully about your budget. If your budget is low, test it out with cloud backup tools. Even larger companies can seamlessly use solutions like Acronis Cloud.
Ask the backup solution dealer to make a POC or make a trial available. Try the solution and see if you are comfortable using it.