Server backup software has been a backbone of IT technology for decades. As a result of its staying power, it rarely gets the attention it deserves. For many years, backup was relegated to the status of IT drudgery; it was something that had to be done, but never ranked high in CIO priorities.
But the recent rash of ransomware incidents elevated its status once again. When struck by a ransomware attack, some organizations have been embarrassed to realize their backups were either missing, incomplete, or had been infected by malware. Thus, backup has moved up the priority list.
Backup, was, is, and always will be a vital IT function. The basic concept is to make several copies of data: the original, a copy retained onsite, and another kept off-site. This all applies to server backup, as most organizational data tends to reside there.
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Core Features of Server Backup Software
What are the core functions needed for server backup? They have shifted in recent years:
- Backup of files: Backing up what’s on the server remains a basic function.
- Security: Encryption for in-flight and at-rest data, ransomware protection, and other safeguards.
- Immutability: To preserve data for long-term retention
- Openness to many systems: To avoid creating another island in the data operation
- Massive data reduction: Deduplication and compression
- Media-friendly: On-premises disk, public clouds, and tape
- Automated SLAs: Operations and dashboarding show individual service-level agreements are met
Read more: Best Server Security Tools for 2021
How to Select Server Backup Software
When selecting server backup software, there are several things to consider:
Backup applications used to be simple. These days, they have evolved to encompass servers, PCs, the cloud, data protection, and a whole lot more. Be sure you are purchasing the features you need — and not those you really don’t have much use for.
Some servers are Linux only, some Windows only, and some a mix of both. Certain backup platforms are better suited to the needs of your servers than others. Make sure you have a match to your platforms and workloads.
It used to be the case that you bought backup software, and then set up separate DR infrastructure and software. These days, integrated platforms are available.
Speaking of integration, many backup and DR platforms now come with integrated cybersecurity features. This is particularly important now that ransomware and other malware incursions are on the rise.
Top Server Backup Software
There are plenty of options for server backup software. ServerWatch selected the following, in no particular order:
Carbonite provides a portfolio of backup, data protection, BC, and DR offerings for businesses — including Carbonite Endpoint, Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365, Carbonite Server Backup, Carbonite Availability and Carbonite Recover. Carbonite helps businesses reduce or eliminate the high cost and disruptive effects of data loss and downtime, achieving comprehensive protection for all types of business data.
- Secure, all-in-one server backup and recovery solution for physical, virtual, and legacy systems
- Various deployment options with the ability to restore data from the cloud or local appliance
- Reduces costs by providing a fully integrated cloud component from a single vendor
- Carbonite Endpoint is automatic backup for all servers and endpoint devices and their data
- Simplifies admin tasks, protects data, mitigates data loss and breaches, and restores lost data quickly
- Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365 offers backup of all Microsoft 365 applications
- Centralized management allows you to create granular policies for what should be protected
- Run backups up to four times per day with flexible retention options
- Restore granular data, including mailboxes, conversations, and projects
- Perform site-level rollback
Retrospect is a StorCentric company; Retrospect Backup has been protecting companies since 1989. It provides complete data protection with server and endpoint protection for physical and virtual environments, including on-prem and cloud infrastructure. Organizations can create set-and-forget data protection policies to protect their entire computer infrastructure.
- Integrates with 26 cloud providers like Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure Blob, Google Cloud Storage
- Certified deployment to Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure VM, and Google Cloud Compute
- Transfer on-prem backups to cloud for easy 3-2-1 backup strategies
- Protect against ransomware with immutable backups using cloud object lock technology
- Create complex backup policies
- Choose the most appropriate off-site secure storage for business
- Retrospect is used in over 100 countries and translated into 7 languages
Veeam Backup & Replication provides dedicated Microsoft Windows platform protection, migration, and virtual conversion capabilities. Veeam Backup & Replication is prepared for endpoints, physical servers, failover clusters, and other Microsoft Windows workloads, expanding beyond the typical data protection scenarios.
- Includes comprehensive, enterprise-grade data protection capabilities
- Operates across all cloud, virtual, and physical workloads
- Protect data no matter the location or workload type with backup and instant recovery options
- Protects physical server environments like Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac, IBM AIX, and Oracle Solaris
- Protects cloud platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform
- Protects virtual environments including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV
- Protects applications such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP Key capabilities
- Large range of backup and granular recovery options
- Prepare, test, and orchestrate a DR strategy to protect critical applications
Commvault Backup & Recovery provides backup, verifiable recovery, and cost-optimized cloud workload mobility. This helps ensure data availability, even across multiple clouds. It provides automation and orchestration for backup, data resiliency, and disaster recovery. Built on Commvault’s core Intelligent Data Services platform, it enables organizations to ensure backup reliability and business continuity with broad workload coverage.
- Test and verify data backups and recoverability
- Scalable and supports data recovery across hypervisors, server, and clouds
- Manage all workloads from a single platform, including cloud, VMs, containers, applications, databases, and endpoints
- Flexible copy data management lets you multipurpose backed up data for DevOps
- Flexible configurations for different SLAs
- Automated processes that enable “one click” failover and recovery operations
- Recovery validation and SLA reporting ensure users can recover data in compliance with SLAs
- Application awareness to drive consistent recovery of mission-critical applications
- Unified code base makes it easy to protect and recover new and emerging technologies
Falconstor StorSafe modernizes data center and server backup by simplifying the process, reducing the data footprint, and targeting any destination (data centers, public clouds, and tape repositories). StorSafe is software designed to run on the servers, storage, and clouds that IT teams have already selected.
- The ability to use any cloud and avoid cloud lock-in
- Software runs on a choice of servers and storage
- 20:1 deduplication
- Enables transport to any offsite location
- AES-256 encryption through the process to keep data protected
Unitrends has expertise gained from more than 30 years in backup and recovery. Its centralized platform allows users to manage backup and recovery for data centers, servers, endpoints, cloud, and software as a service (SaaS). The latest feature, known as Helix, eliminates failed backups due to environmental issues normally outside the control of a backup solution. It can monitor, detect, and remediate conditions in the production environment that may impact a successful backup. As a side effect, users have interrupted malware trying to cause backups to fail by messing with Windows services.
- Brings together backup and DR with automation and security
- Data loss and downtime protections like ransomware detection, dark web monitoring, and phishing defense
- Automated testing, auto-remediation of production errors, bespoke alerting, and white-glove DRaaS for invisible failover
- Adaptable licensing model that protects investment and no vendor lock-in
- Available as an all-in-one, scalable physical appliance (Recovery Series), or a virtual appliance (Unitrends Backup)
- Can run on VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV, or be deployed as a VM within the Azure or AWS cloud
Veritas Backup Exec gives you protection and recovery for data wherever it lives. It provides enterprise data services focused on application availability, protection, and analytics. It provides a single source of visibility, automation, and control based on integration between platforms.
- Manage your entire data ecosystem from a single console
- Eliminate the need for multiple-point products
- Set up backup jobs in a few clicks
- Easily track every backup, replication, and recovery job
- Eliminates multiple-point solutions for application availability and resiliency
- Provides visibility into availability and resiliency status across all business applications
- Choose the level of protection required based on a server’s business impact
- Automated availability management for multi-tiered business applications
- Offers InfoScale, a software-defined optimization solution for mission-critical applications that abstracts applications from their underlying hardware and software resources
Paired with Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, the Acronis Advanced Backup pack enables you to extend cloud and server backup capabilities to protect their data. Available in consumption-based or per-workload licensing models, you can minimize data loss across your infrastructure and workloads.
- Protection for more than 20 platforms
- File-level, disk-level, image, server, and application backups
- Back up workloads including Mac, Windows, Linux, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Hyper-V, and VMware
- Use Acronis-hosted storage, public clouds such as Microsoft Azure, or MSP local storage
- Continuous data protection (CDP) via an Acronis agent that monitors and backs up changes in real-time with near-zero RPOs
- Scheduled backup reports paired with cloud backup enhancements
- Anti-malware and antivirus
- Test backup, failover and failback of protected servers, data, systems, and applications
- Encrypt backups, extend multiple networks, and track RPO in real time
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