Briefing Note: Unitrends – The Best of Enterprise and Startup Data Protection?

The backup market is a crowded market with an almost overwhelming number of solutions available. Startup vendors tend to specialize, some in just the virtual environment, while others are leveraging the cloud to offer services like in-cloud recovery. The number of true enterprise backup vendors (solutions that protect the entire data center) is dwindling. Most of these now comprise “legacy” data protection solutions. HP (Data Protector), EMC (NetWorker), Dell (NetVault), Symantec (NetBackup) and CommVault (Simpana) are good examples. Often left out of the enterprise discussion is Unitrends, even though they provide a full suite of data protection solutions suitable for the entire data center while at the same time providing the innovative features that start-ups delivering.

Who is Unitrends?

Unitrends has been in the data protection market for over a decade. Storage Switzerland has tested the solution on numerous occasions and has continually found it to be a top-notch, reliable, enterprise-class product, but one that is also affordable. They also were one of the pioneers of the backup appliance concept, where the backup software is preinstalled on the appropriate server hardware. The appliance approach not only saves installation time, but also operational headaches and simplifies support.

The Unitrends Portfolio

Unitrends is certainly more than a single product company, offering a full portfolio of solutions:

  • The Recovery Series represents their class backup appliance solutions for protection of physical and virtual environments.
  • Unitrends Enterprise Backup is virtualizing the above recovery suite solutions, lowering the cost of deploying a turnkey backup solution.
  • Unitrends Virtual Backup, formally PHD Virtual, is a VM Specific backup solution for VMware, Hyper-V, and XenServer environments.
  • ReliableDR, formally VirtualSharp, is designed for orchestrated application failover and failback across data centers.
  • Unitrends Cloud is a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) add-on for the recovery series and Unitrends Enterprise Backup.
  • Unitrends Boomerang from its Yuruware acquisition provides DRaaS, cloud bursting and migration between VMware and Amazon.

As you can see, Unitrends has one of the more formidable data protection portfolios in the industry. Each one deserves a product analysis in its own right. Unitrends seems to, at a minimum, be at feature parity with both the large legacy data protection vendors AND the small data protection startups, while being known as one of the most cost effective solutions on the market.

StorageSwiss Take

There is an interesting quote from Gartner’s Dave Russell on Unitrends’ website that is often repeated by data protection vendors, “By 2016 1/3 of organizations will change backup vendors due to frustrations over cost, complexity or capability”. I’ve seen this quote before but have always wondered, what are these organizations going to switch to? If they’re using an enterprise solution they may find that the new startup VM specific or cloud specific backups are lacking the legacy features they need. They will also find that many of the enterprise solutions don’t have the new capabilities that the startups have built a business on. Unitrends may be the ideal alternative as it seems they have both the legacy features IT expects and the new capability that IT needs.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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