Unitrends Cloud Backup aims to eliminate the need for local backup infrastructure for remote offices.
The product is an agent that can be installed on laptops or other workstations. It replicates from those devices directly to the Unitrends Cloud, without the need to go through an on-premises backup appliance. Devices can also restore from the cloud through Unitrends Cloud Backup (UCB).
Unitrends is known for its Recovery Series of backup appliances, with prices and capacities that span a broad range of use cases and business sizes. Even so, Joe Noonan, vice president of product management and marketing at Unitrends, based in Burlington, Mass., acknowledged there were still coverage gaps, and UCB filled the role of backing up workstation environments.
"What we were missing was a solid workstation approach, where folks don't really require fast local recovery; they just needed to make sure they could get backup data protected off site," Noonan said. "It's an adequate way of protecting those kinds of machines, and in the end, it removes the additional burden and cost of managing local backups, servers and appliances."
Noonan said Unitrends' managed service provider partners wanted a way to protect end users on desktops in a remote or branch office, or on roaming company laptops. These machines were in danger of data loss if their hard drives failed or they became lost or stolen. Being able to directly replicate them to the Unitrends Cloud via UCB was much more cost-effective than building and staffing local backup infrastructure.
Noonan said recovery from the cloud would obviously be slower than recovering from local, but full-on disaster recovery is not the purpose of Unitrends Cloud Backup. The idea is simply to have a restorable backup copy of every device in an organization living safely on the Unitrends Cloud, no matter how scattered and decentralized the business is.
Uses, benefits of Unitrends Cloud Backup
Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said UCB offers another key advantage in that it doesn't make backup a part of the remote users' job.
Christophe BertrandSenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group
An organization could arguably achieve similar results to UCB by mandating its users periodically upload backups to a public cloud, or copies of their work to Google Drive or Box. However, he said it's better to leave backup and recovery in the hands of IT staff, which is rarely locally available in remote sites.
"You're consciously asking people to do a backup, and the discipline it takes to do that isn't always there," Bertrand said. "You probably don't have an IT person there, and you probably don't want anyone handling something like backup and recovery who is not an IT professional."
Bertrand said it is often easier -- but not faster -- to recover from the cloud and to completely do away with local backup infrastructure. This flies in the face of traditional backup and recovery practices, which treat local backup as the first line of defense. However, Bertrand said there are many uses where having local backup and IT is impractical, such as at a construction site.
Noonan said Unitrends Cloud Backup is starting out small by targeting those who are looking to recover individual files, rather than entire systems. UCB currently works with Windows, but Noonan said it will be expanding to support Windows Server and macOS.
As the fledgling product updates and more features are added, more storage options will open up.
"We're starting small and basic, and this will continue to evolve based on demand," Noonan said. "As we add in servers, we'll add more retention options to cover all the different compliance scenarios."
Bertrand said he sees UCB as a complement to Unitrends' appliances. He said it is a good competitive move, because it lowers overall IT complexity, which is a key pain point in the industry right now.