Unitrends Recovery Appliance - solid play for the small business
September 06, 2016

Unitrends Recovery Appliance - solid play for the small business

David Myers | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Unitrends Recovery Series Backup Appliance

The problem we had is backing up an environment that spans virtual and physical machines. We are running VMWare for server virtualization, but also have physical machines (as required by their function) that needed to be backed up. We had transitioned from an EMR package onsite, to one offsite, so the need for a significant load of backup being done onsite had dropped off, yet we still have a variety of things that need to be backed up, and the ability to quickly restore them.
Unitrends gave us a mechanism to backup the full VM and the files, so that individual files can be restored, whole directories, or the whole VM as needed. By sending this to its own appliance, it gave us the ability to keep it segregated from other equipment in our environment, to prevent a concern of failure, and with the Unitrends cloud, we are able to replicate to a remote site, keeping our data backed up and secure, but easily accessible in the case of a failure or mistake on a user's part.
  • Easy to implement - you receive the appliance, you do some basic configuration (IP address, set a password etc) then authenticate to your vCenter server and create a schedule to back up your VMs. On a physical machine, you install an agent (which can be pushed) and set up a schedule. Simple.
  • Good fit for smaller businesses - some backup solutions integrate more tightly with existing equipment (EMC Data domain with EMC SAN, etc). However in a disparate environment, or one where you really just need a backup solution that is agnostic to what is being backed up, Unitrends really shines.
  • Speed - the backup speed of each job is very quick. I'm able to run a job during the day without users seeing an impact to their workflow.
  • Cost to value - in our situation, the ability to purchase the onsite device, and add the cloud was significantly less costly than other comparable solutions. This allowed us to have the peace of mind of offsite data storage with the speed & ease of retrieval locally.
  • Unitrends now has an offering for a virtual appliance that is a viable option to replace the "all in one appliance". With the "all in one appliance", like we have now, there isn't really an "upgrade" option - you move to the next size up appliance if your storage needs increase. So if you have a growing workload, you should look to the virtual appliance or possible another solution to handle it. If you tend to have a set backup size, or are not growing significantly, the all in one appliance should work just fine.
  • They have recently changed the user interface, but currently you have to switch between the two to get all the functions working. This isn't a deal breaker, but the "old" interface is flash based, and is somewhat clunky. If you're a tweaker, you may find the interface to be lacking, as I've had two instances of support cases where I had to put in a ticket because I couldn't figure out why something was happening, and it was nothing I could see or change in the interface, but support was able to clear it up. Hopefully in the future this new interface (I believe it's HTML 5, but not sure as I'm still using the old interface so I have all the features) will address these issues.
  • Support has had its ups and downs. I never have been in a critical state without help, but there have been two instances where support really dropped the ball. On the flip side, I was impressed with the upper management taking ownership of this as a problem, and working to resolve it, and have been pleasantly surprised that the support experience has gotten much better since then, but its a valid concern as Unitrends is a fairly new company and growing, and with that you are bound to have some support pains. This is also likely as they transition in a newer interface to the product.
  • Unitrends makes us feel secure in our defense strategy against ransomware. The backups are stored on the appliance and versioned, and are not accessible normally, so a crypto type ransomware would not be able to wipe out backups
  • In a situation where our VMware environment is down, we can fire up critical VMs on the unitrends appliance and run them live, then live migrate back to the VMware environment. Also a damaged VM can be restored from backup and added back to the VMWare environment easily.
  • If a file is deleted, modifed or otherwise needs to be restored from a prior point grabbing it from the unitrends appliance is a simple task, allowing for a review of files rather than the traditional dump to a folder.
I haven't "used" enough other products to make a thorough evaluation of them, and the last time we looked/evaluated was 1.5 yrs or so ago, so I wouldn't feel comfortable stating why another product was inferior. In our situation, we have a backup dataset of around 6 TB. It's rather small in the backup market, and was across different devices, with the flexibility to be able to backup physical, virtual, end user devices and the like. Unitrends delivered, having a platform to do bare-metal, vm level and file level restores. At the end of the evaluation period, the product that could do everything we wanted it to and stay price competitive was Unitrends. Other products that had claims of many more features, or better service or whatever but for 2-3x the cost. At the end of the day my experience with backup products is you have to find what works in your environment. I think Unitrends has a very strong play in the backup space, especially for smaller businesses, or those with smaller backup needs. But you may find there are things about your backup needs that a different product may do better, or be a better business fit with products you already have.
Well Suited: A location where the backups come from multiple sources, and there is not a tight integration with a set vendor. I have no doubt that shops that have a specific vendor they use for multiple layers of their infrastructure may be better suited to stay within that family. However, for smaller shops, or places with disparate backup loads, Unitrends is a very good solution to replace tape and certain disk-to-disk products. I mentioned previously about the virtual appliance, which I am not experienced with, but I believe from my knowledge of it it would overcome the concern of storage as well.
Less well suited: As stated above, if you have an integrated solution for backup with an existing vendor, that may be a better option. Also as your backup size grows, the cost for Unitrends as compared to other vendors may change. Since we have a smaller backup size, this wasn't an issue for us, but as you get into 10+ TB and beyond, the cost threshold changes significantly.

Unitrends Data Center Backup and Recovery Feature Ratings

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