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Business Intelligence Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Enterprise Storage Insider, Midrange Storage Review, IT News & Views

ESI: Press Release

Insider’s Guide to Evaluating Virtual Server Backup Software

Comprehensive Guide Provides Users with Industry’s First Report on Protecting Virtual Environments

For the first time, users have a comprehensive Buyer's Guide for Virtual Server Backup Software to assist them in the all-important buying decision while removing the mystery behind which choice is best suited for their needs. Designed to take out the heavy lifting needed to best understand what solutions exist that are ideally suited to handle key management and technology functions in virtualized server environments, this first Annual Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer's Guide is an "at-a-glance" comparison of the vendor landscape and will serve as a complement for deep evaluations and due diligence needed to determine a user's specific needs.

In a collaboration between DCIG, LLC, and SMB Research, 30 different offerings and solutions were researched with 130 different criteria across seven categories were weighed, scored and ranked. Solutions were ranked "Best-in-Class," "Recommended," "Excellent," "Good," and "Basic" across functionality and capability with the intent to provide an "at-a-glance" comparison from which users can select the most appropriate solution for their existing needs.

"The number one complaint we hear from end users is that there is no easy way to quickly compare and contrast key features and functions across a number of available solutions," said Jerome Wendt, co-author and founder, DCIG, LLC. "When we started putting the Buyer's Guides together, it's always been with this overall intent in mind. Give end users a resource to help them make better decisions for what they need. We feel with this latest Buyer's Guide, we are doing just that for users looking for ways to best handle their virtual server software backup and recovery needs."

Observations from questionnaire responses and end user conversations netted a few surprises, including:

  • 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 vendors report that they do not do mirror backups.
  • Nearly 80% of the software solutions are able to do object-level recovery.
  • 75% of the vendors in this Buyers Guide offer source-based deduplication.
  • Nearly 60% of vendors claim to be able to alert you if your tape libraries are approaching capacity (compared to 85% of vendors for disk libraries.)
  • 70% of vendors provide the capability to auto-discover new Guest VMs.

More than 60% of the vendors in the Buyer's Guide do not presently offer what are universally considered to be best-in-class features, including:

  • 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

The DCIG 2011 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer's Guide Top Ten solutions include (in alphabetical order): Arkeia Software Network Backup v9, EMC Avamar, CA ARCServe r15, CommVault Simpana 9, HP Data Protector 6.1, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager 6, Quest Software vRanger PRO 4.5 and Symantec Backup Exec 2010.

"The 2011 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer's Guide from DCIG is very informative," said John Johnson, manager, IT Consulting, Sirius Computer Solutions. "The guide is a good follow on to the 2010 Midrange Array Buyer's Guide, which I also found really informative. I really support the quantitative analysis and scoring in comparing products. I believe it lends more credibility to the comparison of the products and feel this will be a useful guide for anyone looking at Virtual Server backup solutions."

"We're proud of the results of our research," said Robert Eastman, managing director, SMB Research, LLC. "Our mission continues to be about providing affordable, right-sized, targeted research and analysis to SMB-to-traditional Enterprise IT communities. For us, it's about the right research and analysis at the right time for the right reason. With the continued growth in virtualization, this Buyer's Guide will serve as the seminal document in helping enterprise users best understand their options and help augment the evaluation and due diligence they continue to do to find the best solution available to meet their needs."

Disclosure and Methodology
DCIG and SMB Research identified 30 plus companies that provide Virtual Server Backup Software solutions and followed up with a detailed questionnaire of 130 questions across seven key categories. After responses were received from 24 companies, DCIG and SMB research spoke to several end-users to get a sense of how they weigh their needs in various areas. After scores were compiled, a ranking was assigned to each solution. A number of the storage providers included in the Buyer's Guide are or have been DCIG clients. No vendors, whether clients or not, were afforded preferential treatment in the Buyer's Guide. All research was based upon information provided directly by vendors, research and analysis by DCIG and SMB Research, and other publicly available information.

The 2011 Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer's Guide may be downloaded from CommVault Systems, Inc.'s website at

More Stories By Derek Harris

Derek Harris Sr. is a senior technology writer and blogger with more than 20 years experience in journalism.

While covering a broad spectrum of technology segments, his focus is weighted on enterprise technologies in the data storage, security and infrastructure spaces.