Avamar Backup and Recovery Ensures Your Data is Protected
Updated July 24, 2019
Avamar Backup and Recovery Ensures Your Data is Protected
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Dell EMC Avamar
At the time of its purchase, Avamar was used to replace a variety of products. This was a mix of BackupExec, NetBackup, PureDisk, and vRanger. The idea was to be able to monitor and manage all enterprise backups with a single tool and from a single console. Currently, Avamar backs up the production servers and network attached storage in our primary data center. This includes not only physical servers, but the entire virtual environment as well. The Avamar agent is also installed on the physical servers located at our remote plants. As technology has changes, we have started to deploy VXRail as an HCI at some of our remote plants. Avamar allows us to perform the same image-level backup of these virtual machines as the ones in our primary data center. This allows the backup to perform deduplication on the remote server and only send the needed data back to the grid. The greatly reduces network traffic over the WAN. In addition, the NDMP accelerator nodes were purchased two years after the initial purchase. This was to enable us to backup the new network attached storage where our primary file shares were going to be migrated.
- Avamar performs data deduplication on the remote host. This greatly reduces the amount of traffic that each backup requires. This even applies to the virtual environment through change block tracking. Backup times are reduced from hours to minutes.
- The management interface makes it easy to configure and maintain data retention periods. Many times certain data must be kept for an extended period of time. There is a specific menu for managing retention periods.
- The system is able to recover itself from a hard failure with virtually no loss of backups. There is a checkpoint taken each day that provides a recovery point in the event of a catastrophic failure. Since this is a node based system, the loss of more than one node could require a recovery be performed.
- While another grid must be purchased, the replication utility allows all backups to be replicated to another grid at a remote location. This ensures the resilience of the backups in the event there is the loss of the primary data center.
- Also works on HCI devices performing image-level backups as in our primary data center environment
- There is also now an All-in-One appliance for smaller locations
- The upgrade process is rather complicated. It needs to be performed by EMC support, and there are a lot of diagnostics and test that must be performed ahead of scheduling the upgrade. Some additional modules such as the NDMP accelerator must be upgraded as part of a separate process.
- Interoperability with other EMC products is not always seamless or immediate. An upgrade may require another EMC product be upgraded before there full interoperability returns.
- Maintenance renewals can be a headache if different modules were purchased at different times. You need to make sure your new purchases are aligned with the renewals of your existing hardware. This is referred to as "co-terming".
- The fact that all backups can be monitored and maintained from a single product has greatly simplified my life. Where I used to spend a lot of time in the mornings going from system to system to check the backups, now I can just check everything in one place.
- The data deplication greatly reduced the amount of time and bandwidth required to complete the backups. For example, one backup that used to take over two hours to complete, now finishes in about 20 minutes.
- There has been a reduction in the amount of time spent on support calls. It was not uncommon to spend countless hours on a support call with Symantec when we were using their products.
Originally, we evaluated CommVault with Avamar and due to some differences at the time we decided to go with Avamar. Some of those reasons against CommVault no longer exist, but we have been satisfied with Avamar. Other more current products have been reviewed such as Rubrik and HYCU for our data center, but they also lack certain features. One of the primary being the ability to backup desktop\laptops. While this is not a huge need for us, it is still a need and many of the newer products do not have this ability.
The integration with Exchange has been improved over previous versions. Rather than having to install all of the components for a GLR restore (which complicated agent upgrades), a "swing" system can be used for these tools. The new interface allows for simpler recover than previous versions. The mailbox can even be exported to a PST if needed.
Dell EMC Avamar Feature Ratings
Using Dell EMC Avamar
2 - The primary users are myself and one co-worker. We manage all of the backups for the entire enterprise. There is a laptop\desktop option that allows users to have some control over performing their own backups and recovery, but that has been an options that is not widely used. It was attempted with some remote users, but they had to be connected via VPN to perform the backups. This tended to be problematic for them.
2 - There is one primary person and one secondary person. In our environment, the product requires very little intervention, and is easy to manage and maintain. There are some tasks that can only be completed by Avamar support, such as software upgrades. With that being the case, this frees up myself and my colleague to perform other functions while they are performing the upgrades.
- Being able to backup and recover critical data.
- Maintain backups for an extended period of time due to legal hold
- Easy to maintain and manage
- While under legal hold, we have configured the backups for specific system to not auto-delete. Then once the hold is over, the deletion of this data is a simple as selecting the appropriate backups and deleting. This avoids the long process of locating and then deleting the data.
- In the event there would need to be a much longer retention period, there is a "tape-out" option. This allows backups that need to be kept for years to be sent to a tape and stored offsite.
- While we do not currently have SharePoint, Avamar would be capable of backup up that product.
- Avamar could be used in the event we would need to migrate data from one type of storage to another. The would allow a backup from one system and a restore to another. The restore would then have all of the ACL's intact just as they were on the source.
I have been using the product for over five years. This has performed so well that with the current system reaching its End-of-Life with EMC next year, I have proposed replacing it with the latest version of the product. Now that it integrates with Data Domain, the cost has been greatly reduced. Instead of the need to purchase many nodes, one Data Domain can replace them creating a significant cost savings.
Evaluating Dell EMC Avamar and Competitors
Yes - There were several products that Avamar replaced. Originally, it was a mix of Backup Exec, NetBackup, PureDisk, and vRanger. This created a complicated mess of backup and recovery consoles that had to be consistently switched between in order to perform basic task. The desire was to have central management and monitoring no matter what the environment. Avamar gave us this ability.
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
- Vendor Reputation
- Existing Relationship with the Vendor
We were already an EMC shop and had and existing relationship with them as well as our partner. Avamar had the features we were looking for and we felt it would be a seamless integration into our existing EMC products. After comparing it with other products, it was decided that this best met all of our requirements. This was especially true with the desire to not deploy any additional hardware at the remote sites.
While the product has been very successful, if I was in the market for a replacement product, I would prefer to do a "bake off" between two or more products. This way I could test drive each one and compare the manageability and monitoring of multiple products. There could also be a comparison of restore times.