Acronis: Extends Cloud Capabilities

Briefing Note: Acronis Releases New Cloud Solutions for Resellers

Data Protection Is Not So Simple Anymore

There was a time when protecting an organization’s data assets was a fairly straightforward and simple process. In those by-gone days, most organizations usually only had one OS (Operating System) that was used throughout the enterprise. Protecting their data was as simple as buying a file server with backup software and a tape library then running regular scheduled backups. Since much of the data they stored did not need to be retained for long periods, tapes were recycled.

Now, over twenty years later, organizations are tasked with storing and protecting an ever-rising tide of unstructured data on multiple disparate OS platforms for an indefinite period, which results in them deploying an increasing number of individual storage silos at additional cost.

In order to contain their rising costs, many organizations have recently started embracing cloud technology in hopes that it will give them a way to scale their storage capabilities by leveraging the storage, management and protection abilities of major cloud storage providers at a fraction of the cost of doing it themselves.

In a similar vein, the many different types of resellers that provide data protection solutions to end users, have also embraced cloud services to meet these new challenges.

Both groups however, need cost effective solutions that protect and manage all on-premises data and its movement to and from cloud storage from any platform, in a seamless manner.

Acronis Steps Up to the Plate

Acronis International GmbH, founded in 2003, has been providing robust data protection solutions globally for over a decade. They were among the first to bring a full image backup solution with granular restore capability to market with Acronis Backup. Their comprehensive data protection solutions now include backup and recovery, disaster recovery service, and secure file sharing as well as data access products. Most of these products target primarily the small to medium sized businesses (SMB) market.

Acronis’ data protection products cover both physical and virtual environments on Windows and Linux platforms as well as providing true heterogeneous any-to-any data hypervisor recovery support for all the major hypervisors in use today. Their ability to capture an image of one VM’s data and quickly restore it to a completely dissimilar hypervisor system host provides the data center with tremendous flexibility which lets the data center fully utilize their entire available server infrastructure and improve application recovery times.

Acronis Evolves to Address New Data Protection Challenges

Acronis’ earlier core products provided on-premises backup, disaster recovery, file sync & share, and cloud storage access but have now evolved to extend their new, advanced capabilities to the cloud with the release of a new product lineup. There are actually two lineups with one for Service Provider Hosted Solutions, sold by service providers, and the other for Acronis Hosted Solutions, which are sold by resellers and distributors. The two methods of leveraging the cloud provide Acronis customers the ability to leverage a local service provider or establish a direct relationship with the distributor or reseller.

While retaining their earlier line of on-premises solutions, Acronis’ new series of data protection products and services are designed from the ground up for the cloud. And like the on-premises products, these new cloud-based products and services are driven by the Acronis AnyData engine and architected for scalability and flexibility.

The AnyData engine plus Acronis’ long history of broad platform support makes it easy for service providers and resellers to deploy, manage, maintain and support cloud data protection solutions. The products also fit the in-direct or partner business model; they are multi-tenant, multi-tier with all features accessible through a common management portal and extensible through robust APIs. The Acronis solutions also integrate with other management panels such as Odin APS, cPanel, AppDirect, Mirantis and others, which are not available with data protection products from other vendors.

One unique feature of their new product line is its highly modular scale out architecture, which allows Acronis to decide where the management and storage components will ultimately reside. This facilitates a better distribution of assets based on the skill sets of all parties involved in the deployment and management of the solution.

One deficiency in the cloud product lineup is that they do not yet support Windows AD (Active Directory) backup and recovery and they lack deduplication capability in their cloud software. However, these features are available in their on-premises products and we expect to see them soon in their cloud solutions.

StorageSwiss Take

Acronis has developed a robust and very flexible cloud model that allows them to offer a data protection configuration that is able to meet just about any type of backup requirements. They also have a well thought out set of licensing and deployment models that should meet the needs of a wide range of resellers, VARs, OEMs, MSPs and Service Providers.

Joseph is a Lead Analyst with DSMCS, Inc. and an IT veteran with over 35 years of experience in the high tech industries. He has held senior technical positions with several major OEMs, VARs, and System Integrators, providing them with technical pre and post- sales support for a wide variety of data protection solutions. He also provided numerous technical analyst articles for Storage Switzerland as well as acting as their chief editor for all technical content up to the time Storage Switzerland closed upon their acquisition by StorONE. In the past, he also designed, implemented and supported backup, recovery and encryption solutions in addition to providing Disaster Recovery planning, testing and data loss risk assessments in distributed computing environments on UNIX and Windows platforms for various OEM's, VARs and System Integrators.

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