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Leading data protection tools address varied cloud backup needs

The data protection vendor market consists of traditional vendors and newer technology companies that offer appliances and other cloud-native backup tools.

The data protection tools market is in transition, as vendors try to capitalize on both the strengths of the public cloud as a backup target and as a platform that needs protection. The diversification of applications across SaaS, IaaS and on-premises infrastructure means data protection offerings must broaden their capabilities.

Across the cloud backup vendor landscape, the traditional vendors still dominate the market with products that have a heritage stretching back almost 30 years. These offerings are in a process of modernization and adapting to the needs of a multi-cloud world. Some of these vendors are bringing totally new products to the market, which will eventually replace the legacy systems.

Following closely on the heels of the traditional vendors is a group of new entrants that offer appliance-based, platform-focused and cloud-native data protection products. Although these cloud backup vendors don't have the same range of support for heritage and legacy platforms as their counterparts, they're quickly adding these items. Here, we examine 13 leading traditional and new data protection vendors and how they're meeting the needs of the IT market.

Acronis

Acronis develops backup and data management products for consumers and small businesses. The company offers Standard and Advanced versions of Acronis Backup. IT departments can use Acronis to back up data to one of more than 14 global Acronis-managed data centers.

Acronis Backup Cloud support lets users move workloads between public clouds, virtual servers or physical servers in multiple configurations. AI models within Acronis Backup Cloud detect and identify ransomware and other suspicious behavior. Service providers use Acronis Backup Cloud to offer branded data protection.

Acronis Backup supports a range of hardware and software platforms. This includes SaaS cloud protection, virtual infrastructure running in AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Microsoft Azure VMs. Backup integrates with major hypervisor platforms to provide multiple physical and virtual recovery options. The Advanced release protects Oracle databases and client or Type 2 hypervisors. Acronis Backup offers data protection for endpoint devices, including desktops, tablets and mobile devices.

Carbonite

Carbonite mainly targets small businesses. Carbonite Endpoint 360 protects endpoint devices and data stored in common SaaS applications. Users can store backup data in their organization's data center, in a Microsoft Azure Enterprise account or within Carbonite's own Azure-hosted vault.

Carbonite Backup creates backup images that can also provide disaster recovery (DR) capabilities with Carbonite Availability. Carbonite replicates data in near-real time to provide recovery point objectives of a few minutes or even seconds. In a disaster scenario, applications fail over to Carbonite Cloud Backup through predefined runbook automation.

Organizations can deploy Carbonite Backup on a local backup server and provide wide backup protection for common OSes and Microsoft applications, including Microsoft SQL, Exchange and SharePoint. Backup also supports Oracle databases. The service replicates a backup copy to Carbonite Cloud, a proprietary public cloud storage target.

Cohesity Inc.

Cohesity offers a range of data protection tools that were originally based on the physical appliance model. The core of the Cohesity offerings is DataPlatform, a scale-out architecture that consolidates secondary data, file shares and object store data. DataPlatform is now available on premises as an appliance, at the edge for remote offices with the Virtual Edition, and in the public cloud as a virtual instance with the Cloud Edition.

DataProtect provides backup for traditional applications, virtual servers, databases and storage. This product suite covers a wide range of supported virtual workloads, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV and Red Hat RHV. DataPlatform definitions can be designated through API and integrations with Microsoft PowerShell, Python, Ansible and VMware automation tools. In May 2019, Cohesity acquired Imanis Data, which enables organizations to take backups of NoSQL workloads like MongoDB. 

For large-scale deployments of DataPlatform, Cohesity introduced Helios, a SaaS-based application that centralizes the management and reporting of DataPlatform instances. Helios enables organizations to globally manage data protection policies through its SmartAssist feature. This can include proactive and automated rescheduling of backup jobs in the event of power loss or device failure.

In early 2019, Cohesity introduced MarketPlace, a collection of curated applications that enable IT organizations to analyze and mine data stored on DataPlatform. Applications run on the Cohesity platform and currently implement functionality such as virus scanning and file analytics. MarketPlace is expected to expand to select third-party development partners.

Commvault

Commvault's suite of products provide data protection across on-premises and cloud environments. The core offering, Commvault Complete, is a single data backup and recovery product with wide support for public cloud, OSes, virtualization, application databases and endpoint devices. 

The Commvault platform is also available as an appliance called HyperScale. As a multinode hardware offering on Commvault white-box or partner appliances, HyperScale enables organizations to exploit the benefits of a scale-out architecture to manage secondary data growth. HyperScale runs the same software as Complete, giving businesses the choice of which deployment model best meets their requirements.

The diversification of applications across SaaS, IaaS and on-premises infrastructure means data protection offerings must broaden their capabilities.

Two additional products in the Commvault family extend data protection capabilities past backup.  Commvault Activate delivers insights into protected data and can be used for data governance, e-discovery or simply managing the volume of data in the enterprise. Commvault Orchestrate provides copy data management capabilities and data migration for features, including test/dev application seeding and automated DR testing.

Commvault recently acquired Hedvig, a scale-out software-defined data storage platform. This technology is expected to extend the capabilities of HyperScale, while providing a single uniform data plane for secondary data across on premises and public clouds. 

Dell EMC

Dell EMC data protection spans both hardware and software products. Data Domain is a deduplication appliance that acts as a target for backup data. A single system can scale up to 3 PB of usable capacity, with backup ingest throughput around 68 TB per hour. Data Domain is also available as a virtual appliance as Data Domain Virtual Edition. IT organizations can use this to implement data protection in branch offices and remote locations. 

The Dell EMC Data Protection Suite encompasses two products. Dell EMC Avamar backup software has integrated deduplication capabilities that work with Data Domain. Avamar supports public cloud as a storage tier and is also available in a virtual edition for deployment as a virtual instance. Dell EMC NetWorker is an enterprise-class data protection product with almost 30 years of history behind it. It supports traditional workloads and platforms, integrating with Data Domain and public cloud as a storage target. Organizations can also deploy NetWorker as a virtual instance.

Dell EMC recently announced PowerProtect, a new data protection product that's available as either a hardware or software appliance. The software supports Oracle, Microsoft SQL, VMware vSphere and both Windows and Linux filesystem workloads. It's expected that over time, PowerProtect will replace the legacy products in the Dell EMC portfolio. 

Druva

Druva is a data protection startup based fully in the public cloud and delivered as SaaS. Organizations don't install any hardware on premises but replicate all backup data directly into the public cloud. The Druva product is best suited to businesses that have some degree of diversification, either with multiple data centers, branch offices or a mobile workforce.

The Druva Cloud Platform provides protection for cloud-native workloads running in hyperscale environments such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform. This feature is delivered by CloudRanger, a startup acquired by Druva in June 2018. Druva Phoenix provides protection for traditional data center applications, including virtual infrastructure, databases and physical servers. Druva InSync provides protection for endpoint devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. InSync also protects SaaS-based applications, including Office 365, G Suite and Salesforce.  

The Druva platform is entirely cloud-native and built on AWS, using intrinsic cloud services such as EC2 virtual instances, Amazon Relational Database Service and S3 storage. The advantage of this approach is that the organization doesn't need to deploy or manage any infrastructure. The backup service is effectively limitless, with pricing charged based on data stored.

Druva recently introduced the ability for organizations to use public cloud for DR by converting protected VMs into AWS virtual instances. This process can be implemented prior to a disaster, with periodic prebuilds of protected VMs. Druva also offers the capability to fail back once a disaster event is over. 

HYCU

HYCU Inc. is a relative newcomer to the data protection market, although its parent company, Comtrade, has been protecting data for more than 25 years. The HYCU software-only platform is designed to protect data on Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure. This capability has been extended to support Google Cloud Platform and VMware infrastructure.

HYCU supports the Nutanix Acropolis operating system, VMware vSphere and typical enterprise applications, including SQL Server, Active Directory, Exchange, Oracle and SAP HANA. What makes HYCU different from most other data protection tools is its native support for Nutanix Files and Nutanix Mine. The Mine API was introduced by Nutanix in May 2019 and provides a standard interface to manage secondary storage on the Nutanix platform. 

Organizations can deploy HYCU from either on-premises application marketplaces, including Nutanix Calm, or public cloud application marketplaces. Businesses can build data protection on demand, as HYCU is fully API-driven. This gives IT organizations the option to use multiple HYCU instances to deliver strong multi-tenancy

In June 2019, HYCU announced Protégé, a capability to support multi-cloud environments. Businesses can use Protégé to perform application migration between clouds, cross-cloud application recovery and cross-cloud DR. 

IBM

IBM has two products with similar names but entirely different backgrounds. IBM Spectrum Protect is the evolution of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and was one of several storage software offerings rebranded with the Spectrum prefix. IBM Spectrum Protect Plus is a relatively new product that's designed to support virtual server environments

Spectrum Protect is a mature backup product that developed in traditional physical server environments. The software integrates with a wide range of platforms with support for virtual server environments through VMware and Hyper-V integration tools. Spectrum Protect offers a range of add-on features that implement multisite replication, can detect ransomware and use the public cloud as a storage target.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus is a new software platform that was developed to plug the gaps in Spectrum Protect. The product is deployed as a virtual appliance on either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V platforms, scaling backup throughput using proxy servers and data movers.

Spectrum Protect Plus supports physical machines or VMs and common database applications, including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Db2, MongoDB and Microsoft Exchange. It can use public cloud offerings, including IBM Cloud Storage, AWS and Microsoft Azure, as a storage target.   

Micro Focus

Data Protector from Micro Focus was part of the acquisition of a range of Hewlett Packard Enterprise software assets in 2017. Data Protector has been in the market for almost 30 years, providing support for a range of both legacy and modern workloads.

Data Protector supports traditional application platforms such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, Oracle and other common databases. Native integration with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V provides support for virtual server environments. 

With a lineage that encompasses HPE Storage, Data Protector provides integration and support with HPE StoreOnce as a data deduplication target. The product also supports EMC Data Domain. Data Protector offers integration into object stores, both on premises -- including Ceph and Scality -- and in the public cloud through S3 API compatibility and natively with Microsoft Azure. 

Data Protector is available in two versions. Data Protector Express is a virtual instance that provides most features except application-consistent recovery and advanced monitoring and reporting. Data Protector Premium supports all features and can be deployed on physical servers or as a virtual instance. 

Rubrik

Rubrik first came to market with appliances that provided data protection for virtual server environments. Rubrik appliances scale out using a single uniform data plane across clusters of systems deployed on premises. Organizations can choose white-box products or appliances based on hardware from leading server vendors, including HPE, Cisco and Dell. The software used on Rubrik appliances is also available for deployment on virtual infrastructure as a VM, on remote office or edge sites, and in the public cloud. 

Rubrik's data protection product offers significant simplification over what had previously existed in the market. Backups are based on policies that meet RPO and recovery time objectives. The entire backup process can be automated through APIs and command-line interfaces. 

Two additional products complement and extend data protection on the original platforms. Rubrik Mosaic provides protection for NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, which typically are distributed and eventually consistent. As a result, creating a single point-in-time backup image requires special processing.

The second product, Polaris, is a SaaS-based offering for managing all the Rubrik data protection systems on premises and the public cloud. With a single point of truth, Polaris enables organizations to query data in multiple locations as part of a global data catalog. In addition, Polaris can offer businesses a single location from which they can apply consistent policies and data protection definitions. 

Unitrends

Unitrends offers a range of data protection tools that include traditional software, appliances and the public cloud. Each of the five editions enables sites to add features with a corresponding increase in per-resource license fee. A free edition offers up to 1 TB of data. Enterprise Plus offers support for virtual environments, applications -- including databases and typical Microsoft platforms -- and file server backup.

Recovery Series appliances run Unitrends backup software and offer 15 models, ranging from 2 TB to 120 TB in capacity. Gen 8 models provide traditional recovery capabilities, while Max models provide the capability to recover applications onto the appliance itself. 

Unitrends Cloud Backup provides support for endpoint devices with backup to public cloud. Cloud capabilities are also used to deliver DRaaS with a range of different offerings to match service-level agreement requirements. Organizations can also choose to use a feature called Boomerang that backs up on-premises VMs to object storage such as AWS S3 or Azure Blob Storage. In the event of a failure, for testing or other purposes, Boomerang can reinstance VM images as public cloud VMs. 

Veeam Software

The Veeam portfolio of products developed from the initial capability to back up VMware vSphere platforms. Today, the company has a range of products that support SMBs and enterprises.

Veeam Availability Suite is the flagship platform and incorporates Veeam Backup & Replication and Veeam One. Veeam Backup & Replication on-premises data protection software offers three levels of paid subscription -- standard, enterprise and enterprise plus. The subscription choices determine which features are available to the organization across backup, data recovery, advanced features and management. Businesses can choose either perpetual licensing or an annual subscription with a minimum of 10 licenses. 

Backup & Replication offers a significant level of integration into the most common applications found in the data center, as well as with many common storage platforms, including those from HPE and Pure Storage. This allows improved backup performance compared to using native hypervisor APIs.

Veeam One is a comprehensive monitoring and analytics tool for dispersed Veeam deployments. It provides a single interface that organizations can use to monitor data protection, collate alerts and ensure data protection compliance is being met. Veeam One can also be used for capacity planning and chargeback of IT resources. 

Veeam offers data protection for small businesses with a separate product called Veeam Backup Essentials. This offering is targeted at the most common small-to-medium enterprise applications such as Microsoft SQL, SharePoint and Active Directory. Veeam Availability Orchestrator provides businesses with the ability to implement automated DR and backup validity testing.

Veritas Technologies

Veritas has a long history of delivering data protection tools for the enterprise. The companky's flagship prokduct, NetBackup, is a highly scalable backup product for on-premises deployments. NetBackup client support is extensive, covering all the major enterprise database applications, hypervisors and OSes. One advantage of NetBackup over newer competitors is the product's support for legacy applications such as IBM Lotus Domino and Informix. 

NetBackup is also available as an appliance, with multiple configurations designed to suit small, medium and high-performance workloads. Businesses can choose long-term retention and virtual appliance instances for remote offices. The Access and CloudCatalyst appliances provide support for efficient data transfer or deduplication to and from public cloud platforms as storage targets and to replace long-term retention and archiving on tape. 

For smaller environments, Veritas offers Backup Exec. This software has typically been used in more dispersed businesses with many small offices or branch locations. Recent product enhancements have included support for public cloud as a storage target and ransomware detection.   

To address the needs of public cloud infrastructure, Veritas offers CloudPoint. CloudPoint software is deployed in the public cloud to protect native cloud workloads and was designed with modern data protection features such as policy-based automation and automated workload discovery. Veritas provides SaaS application data protection through another separate product that supports Office 365, G Suite and Salesforce. Organizations are charged on a per-user, per-month basis for data and applications protected.

Editor's note:

Using extensive research into the data backup and recovery market, TechTarget editors focused this article series on data protection products from both traditional and new entrants into the market that address the many data sources of today's IT. Our research included data from TechTarget surveys and reports from other well-respected research firms, including Gartner.

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