Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Unitrends Enterprise Backup
Lately, I’ve learned a lot about Unitrends as a company as well as an enterprise backup solution. To document what I’ve learned and help get the word out, I’ve created this blog post with the “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Unitrends”.
1. A Long History
Unitrends was founded in 1989 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by doctor, Steve Schwartz, who wished to protect his patients’ medical information. It was in 2003 that the company launched their product (which they had used themselves, in their offices), making it commercially available for sale. Thus, in 2014, Unitrends will celebrate their 25th year of business (an eternity for a tech company).
2. Virtual Appliance-Based
While Unitrends can be deployed as a hardware based appliance, the majority of customers now deploy Unitrends as a software-based virtual appliance. Being a “virtualization guy” I really like the virtual appliance software distribution model. There’s no operating system to install, no database to install, and not even an application to install. Additionally, because you don’t have to install the OS you also don’t have to buy the OS (which is typically the cost of another Windows Server OS license). When you deploy Unitrends Enterprise Backup (or UEB, as they call it), you download a virtual appliance (for either Hyper-V or vSphere) and then deploy that into your virtual infrastructure.
3. Backs Up Both Physical and Virtual
While there are lots of great virtualization backup products, too many of them, in my opinion, leave out the fact that most companies still have physical servers that they need to backup. While the idea of 100% virtualization is a great one (and I hope that we get there) in the mean time, most companies need physical server backup, SAN/NAS storage backup, and tape support (discussed in the next section) to get data off site.
4. Offsite Data Storage
Even if you are a small shop and don’t have a lot of data, your data is still important and you still need to get that data offsite in the event that there is a disaster. Too many virtualization backup programs recommend getting data offsite with “your traditional physical server backup program”. I don’t want to have to buy a new backup program only to keep my old backup program around, just to send my virtualization backup data to tape. Other backup applications recommend getting virtualization backup data offsite by using replication. While that may be a great option for companies that have the bandwidth to support their change rate, it’s not for everyone. Putting backup data on tape or removable disk IS a “tried and true” method that is also affordable for companies of ALL sizes.
5. Cloud Protection
With all the talk of “disaster recovery as a service”, “cloud storage”, and “backup as a service” you need to be discussing (internally and with your backup software provider) how your company can leverage the cloud. Many of you may not know it but Unitrends offers offsite storage of your backup data “in the cloud”. Thus, instead of using your own tape or disk to get your critical backup data offsite, you can leverage the Unitrends “Vault2Cloud” option or even create your own private offsite vaulting solution (yes that’s supported as well).
6. Advanced Features
While I don’t have room to go into all the features of Unitrends Backup in this “top 10” post, there are a lot of enterprise-grade advanced features to consider (I’ve talked about some above). UEB has features like global deduplication, change block tracking (CBT), instant recovery for vSphere environments, near continuous data protection (CDP), replication, and built in P2P, P2V, V2P, and V2V.
7. Free Edition & vExpert/VCP NFRs
All software companies offer a “top tier” edition and so does Unitrends. However, they don’t try to push a bunch of other editions on you. In fact, the only other 3 editions they offer of their software-based solution are all free (I love “free”). The first edition is their free, unlimited 30 day trial (you can do a lot of backups in 30 days). The second edition is their completely FREE EDITION and the third is their NFR edition – which is available to VCPs, VCIs, vExperts, MCPs, and MVPs. The free edition will protect up to 8 virtual machines, works with Free ESXi, and works FOREVER. The NFR edition also works FOREVER and protects an unlimited number of virtual machines. This is very generous!
8. Free ESXi Compatible
Because VMware’s free vSphere hypervisor (free ESXi as it used to be called) doesn’t provide VADP (the vSphere API for data protection) then most virtualization backup tools also won’t run on the vSphere hypervisor (free edition). Unitrends, on the other hand, does because they install they use their own tiny agent on the free ESXi host so that they can perform virtualization backup still utilize change-block tracking and incremental backup. With the free version of Unitrends Enterprise Backup and the free VMware vSphere hypervisor, you could create a completely free virtual infrastructure.
9. A Big Job Creator in South Carolina
After all these years, the company HQ, development, and customer support are still located in my home state of South Carolina. In fact, Unitrends was recently recognized as the #11 job creator in the software industry and they were featured in Inc Magazine for the second year in a row — this time for creating 134 new jobs between Jan 2012 and June 2013. In fact, the company has hired 125 employees since Jan. 1, 2013 alone and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Unitrends reported that Q3 of 2013 marked their 19th annual consecutive quarter of record growth.
10. Funding from Insight Venture Partners
Finally, it was announced recently that Unitrends has been bought by Insight Venture Partners, a venture capitalist firm who also has investments in my full-time employer, Pluralsight. I was impressed to learn, during the research for this article, just how many tech companies Insight Venture has investments in. In fact, you may have heard of a number of these companies already (and perhaps already use them). Surprisingly, Insight has investments in a number of competing enterprise backup solutions such as Unitrends, Acronis, and Veeam. This tells me that Unitrends will have the resources and guidance they need to continue their successful path in the world of enterprise backup solutions.
I’ve learned a lot about Unitrends and will be testing it out in my lab. I’ll be posting the results here, at VirtualizationSoftware.com. Feel free to try it for yourself and I welcome your feedback!
For more information on Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB), click here.