Business, Technology, Culture, & Ideas That Matter

Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide (Sneak Preview)

Over on my alter-ego, The SMB Research Blog (re-posted with my own permission…)

Data Center Infrastructure Group (DCIG,, and SMB Research are nearing completion on the DCIG Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide.

While you will have to wait just awhile longer, we don’t mind giving you a sneak peek at some of the great learnings you can expect to get from the finished product.

We rated the vendors in overall functionality and support from Basic to Excellent.  The top rated vendor is Best in Class.   The major categories of the Buyer’s Guide analyzed include Technology, Management, Backup, Recovery, Support.  We also looked at areas like Deduplication and Media.  Interestingly a number of vendors that offered Basic functionality across the board actually had invested a lot in building key strength in Deduplication.  (A future DCIG report will focus on specific Deduplication offerings.)

End users clearly have different requirements.  So DCIG and SMB Research believe that this guide will help users focus on the most appropriate solution(s) for their situation.  With that said, one cannot under emphasize the importance of a strong support offering.  Does the vendor you are considering offer several layers of support options, including on-site, phone and/or email support?  Do they offer a forum where you can communicate and share ideas with fellow users?  In our research, we found that 20% of the vendors that offered overall Good or Excellent functionality across the board offered relatively basic and sometimes lacking support capability.  This should be a red flag for users.  The good news is that there are some vendors that place more emphasis on Support.

Other vendors that were consistent in many of the categories were found to excel in one specific area. In some cases this was Backup, Restore, or Technology.    One vendor was rated Good in all categories but seemed to pay less attention to the management of server virtualization such as trending, discovering virtual machines, allocating resources when needed, providing a visual dashboard of backup progress, and various optimization techniques.

Some early insights and observations:

  • Some 46% of the software vendors participating in this Buyers guide offer their solutions both as stand-alone software products, or bundled in an appliance.
  • Over 45% of the vendors we are looking at report that they do not do mirror backups.
  • Nearly 80% of the software solutions report being able to do object-level recovery.
  • 75% of the vendors in this Buyers Guide report doing do source-based deduplication.
  • Fewer than 60% of the vendors that have looked at provide the option of including or excluding backup of VMs that are powered off.
  • Nearly 60% of the vendors claim to be able to alert you if your tape libraries are approaching capacity (compared to 85% of vendors for disk libraries.)
  • Nearly 70% of the vendors that we have looked at use VMware‘s Change Block Tracking.
  • 70% of the vendors that we are looking at provide the capability to auto-discover new Guest VMs.

More than 60% of the vendors in our Guide do not presently what can be considered to be best-in-class features:

  • Backup software’s administration function prioritize a server that has gone the longest since its last backup
  • Detect servers backing up significantly more data than previously and provide alerting
  • Integration with VMware’s Change Block Tracking
  • Integration with VMware vCenter Converter
  • Ability to multiplex concurrent backups to a single tape drive

These are just a few of the insights that we are working hard to include in the guide.  And we know we are on the right track.  We have already heard that we have come up “a lot of very creative questions that took some great insight and understanding of the environment and problems within the VM backup space. Kudos to the people that put together the questionnaire!”

It won’t be long now before we go to press!

For more information on this upcoming Guide:

For Information on how to get the Backup Software for Virtual Servers Buyer’s Guide:


November 5, 2010 - Posted by | Technology | , ,

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