Top 10 Backup Apps

Friday Aug 26th 2011 by Drew Robb
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Numerous backup options are on the market. Which one is the 'best' is a matter of opinion. Which one is best for your organization is a question only you can answer. Here's a short list to help get you started.

There are a lot of backup apps out there. Which ones are best? That really is a matter of opinion. And here are a few opinions about some of the better backup apps around, and in no particular order.

1. Symantec Backup Exec and NetBackup

Dave Simpson, an analyst with 451 Group said you must include the big boys in any list of top backup applications.

"By sheer virtue of their installed bases, you'd have to start with Symantec, IBM, EMC, CA Technologies, HP and CommVault," he said. "Symantec is No. 1 in terms of market share."

Symantec offers two well known backup products. Backup Exec can be used for Windows, Linux, Mac and various virtualization platforms and has integrated deduplication and archiving technology.

"Symantec BackupExec works well for homogenous Windows server-centric environment," said Michael Lapetino, a CDW solution architect. "It is generally aimed at small to medium enterprises where tape and disk-based backup strategies are fairly commonplace. Customers appreciate the robust feature set of BackupExec and the relatively affordable acquisition cost to manage and deploy it in traditional computing environments."

NetBackup is another well-used backup product that falls under the Symantec umbrella. The latest version of NetBackup includes Symantec V-Ray for visibility into virtual file systems and applications.

2. EMC Networker

EMC Networker is a top-tier backup application in its own right. However, the company is carving out a large slice of the pie in the rapidly growing backup appliance market. IDC reports that backup appliances represent the fastest expanding area in backup. Backup/data protection appliances are now a $1.6 billion market, with EMC owning 64 percent of the total.

As well as software, then, EMC is doing well by packaging backup with deduplication and other features. By combining dedupe from its Data Domain and Avamar acquisitions along with NetWorker and Disk Library backup software, EMC is becoming a growing force in the world of backup.

"Networker and Avamar are coming together over time," said BJ Jenkins, President of EMC's Backup and Recovery Systems (BRS) division. "And both use features taken from Data Domain."

3. IBM TSM

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager has been around for a while and has a loyal customer base. Over the years, it has continued to add features and now has a comprehensive feature set for modern backup environments. Deduplication, archiving, hierarchical storage management and fast backup are part of the latest iteration.

4. CA Technologies ARCserve

CA Technologies (formerly CA, Inc. and Computer Associates) has been a long-term backup provider via its ARCserve product line. Like most backup products these days, it includes dedupe, reporting and virtual server backup features.

"Traditionally, we recommend CA's ARCserve Backup to value-conscious small to medium sized environments that are looking for ways to bridge the gap between backup and business continuity," said Lapetinox. "The ARCserve suite is feature-laden and also offers flexibility in a mixed operating system environment. It has several optional related components that allow customers to leverage host-based replication with a single interface."

5. HP Data Protector

HP is another OEM that has jumped on the dedupe bandwagon. HP Data Protector provides disk and tape data protection, snapshots, dedupe and a lot more in one integrated package.

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6. CommVault Simpana

CommVault has been making quite some headway of late.

"CommVault appears to be the fastest growing backup vendor and has OEM deals with Dell, HDS and NetApp," said Simpson.

The company has been getting a lot of mileage by attacking the "legacy" nature of many of the above tools. As they have been around for years, some struggle to deal with modern cloud and virtualized environments (although the latest versions go a long way towards remedying that issue). CommVault campaigns for users to start afresh with its Simpana 9, and it has even included tools built into the software to ease the switch from Symantec or IBM.

7. FalconStor

FalconStor offers a couple of backup options. FalconStor Continuous Data Protector (CDS) is available either as an appliance, a virtual appliance or a gateway to a SAN. The company's marketing director Mike DiMeglio said it includes automated disaster recovery and business continuity technology, RecoverTrac (rapid recovery of data, files, application server or data centers).

FalconStor VTL (Virtual Tape Library) comes with tape media management, deduplication and WAN optimization.

"FalconStor backup optimization solutions replace or enhance traditional physical tape with disk-based backup to accelerate backup operations, improving backup reliability and simplify tape management," said DiMeglio.

8. Acronis

There are a couple of lesser known vendors that deserve a mention, said Simpson. Acronis Backup & Recovery, he said, now has more than 175,000 customers, excluding consumers. It offers SMB, enterprise and online backup versions.

9. Syncsort

Syncsort, said Simpson, has a very tight OEM relationship with NetApp. This manifests in the form of the NetApp Syncsort Integrated Backup (NSB). Syncsort has joined forces with NetApp, Avnet and Arrow to offer what it is calling the industry's first fully integrated data protection solution. NSB is comprised of Syncsort backup management software with NetApp disk storage.

10. Virtual Server Backup

All the big boys are scrambling to adapt their flagship products to perform well in a virtual environment. So it makes sense that they may have a thing or two to learn from others in this sector. Simpson suggests several that are strong in that regard.

"Since the real hot area in backup/recovery is for virtual servers, I would include Veeam Backup & Replication and Quest Software's vRanger and NetVault/BakBone," he said.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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