Nothing but love! Great option for a small/mid mixed use environment (physical & virtual)
August 03, 2016

Nothing but love! Great option for a small/mid mixed use environment (physical & virtual)

Martin Winegarden | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Unitrends Recovery Series Backup Appliance

Coming from a Veritas software solution using tape libraries, the Unitrends appliance is a godsend. The simplicity of management compared to our old solution is significantly better. The stability (less failures) is higher and our flexibility is greater. Using Incremental Forever reduces our backup windows to a fraction of the usual time and allows us to backup throughout the day rather than once, or even once per week. Being able to quickly recover physical or virtual servers, and even hosting them on the appliance itself, give us another powerful tool in our DR toolbox. I have absolutely no regrets on our purchase of Unitrends and highly recommend it to any I speak with. To put it succinctly, it makes backups simple.
  • Simplicity of management. You won't need full-time backup specialists to handle your DR... unless you really want to.
  • Incremental Forever shortens backup windows to near-nothing. Backing up critical systems every hour (not once a week) is now a possibility!
  • Recovery back to virtual hosts, bare metal, cloud, or host on the appliance. You have a lot of options.
  • Error reporting and clarity could be improved. Some digging required or Support assistance.
  • Pricing could always be lower, but it was still well worth the cost.
  • Could improve reputation by vetting potential clients better. It seems the appliance/software either works perfectly (like ours) or something major doesn't work at all, based on other reviews and conversations. Trials or better client evaluations could uncover some of this before it turns into a problem.
  • One of our objectives was to make the backup/DR process accessible to all of our limited staff, not just a specialized backups position. The intuitive nature of the interface and relatively straight-forward process means that any member of my staff is capable of fulfilling the basic tasks required for backup or recovery.
  • Another objective was to reduce the backup windows required for several of our critical systems. The Incremental Forever option has allowed us to reduce what was once a weekly multi-day full back up to only a few minutes (incrementals roll up on Unitrend to quasi-fulls). It's allowed us to increase the frequency on these critical systems, which has helped in many ways... including with ransomware infections.
  • The most obvious objective we looked to fulfill was to reduce our reliance upon tapes and libraries. Very little, if any, of our data required the archival features that tapes provide. Yet it was still the standard used in critical system/data backups. However the failure rate, performance, and cost of that kind of system was not worth it... particularly if our RPOs weren't being met in the first place.
  • Finally, we needed something that worked in a mixed physical & virtualized environment. There are a lot of great options out there that work with a virtual environment but fall flat with physical devices. Unitrends had the best feature set that worked with both types. I think some of those alternatives have improved since our implementation of Unitrends, but being one of the first assumedly means their features are more matured and developed.
At the time, Dell didn't have a true appliance-based solution and leaned heavily in the virtualization arena. It seemed like Dell was still integrating the technology (purchased in 2012) into the larger organization and we weren't comfortable not knowing how/when it would finish it's ingestion. Recently it's been renamed as Dell Rapid Recovery. Just another cog in the Dell empire.

Veeam had alot going for it and was highly recommended, but only played in the virtual scene. So wasn't a true option for us.

We'd been Backup Exec customers for many years and had first looked at a Symantec appliance teamed with a BE head unit. But this had too many parts, expenses, and still ultimately relied upon tapes. So we crossed it off the list.
I believe for a small to mid-sized organization with a small staff, this is a great option. Larger entities with dedicated backup staff may find more complicated solutions that work better for their complicated environments. Also, if you're environment is fairly vanilla using industry standard/leading software and hardware, things should work perfectly. But if you've got some oddball configurations or home-built solutions, you'll want to trial out the system before committing fully. It's not for everyone... just maybe 80% of us.

Unitrends Feature Ratings

Universal recovery
Instant recovery
Recovery verification
Business application protection
Multiple backup destinations
Incremental backup identification
Backup to the cloud
Deduplication and file compression

Evaluating Unitrends Recovery Series Backup Appliance and Competitors

Yes - Symantec Backup Exec combined with Quantum LTO-5 tape library.

The long backup/recovery windows, high failure rates, poor recovery performance, and lack of virtualization support all led us to find a replacement to 1990's technology.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Positive Sales Experience with the Vendor
There were other alternatives that could have worked for us, but one of the most important factors was the involved presence of the vendor in our area and the other clients nearby. It's the only backup system that I'm aware of that has nearly a User Group aspect to it. There are regular training/demo/networking meetings hosted by our vendor in our area. So we always feel involved and near to a "support group" when we need it.
I don't think I would. We ended up with a great result at a price I can't complain about. Changing the process we went through may very well have resulted in a poorer result.

We hosted physical and virtual demos of several competing systems. We attended workshops and spoke firsthand with existing users of various systems. I'm comfortable with our process and would recommend everyone getting out and mingling with current users of whatever system they're interested in. Not just listening to online reviews or vendor talk.