Back in 2012 I wrote a long post about my terrible experience with Symantec Backup Exec and their lackluster technical support that still remains one of my most popular posts. It seems I’m not the only person who was fed up with Symantec; far from it.
At that time I decided I would never again purchase another copy of Backup Exec (BE), and I never did, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s tempting to simply upgrade whatever you have in place, but after years of less than stellar releases from Symantec the time finally came to find a replacement. I found two.
The first, a more traditional product, is Arcserve Backup. It installs on your server or workstation in a similar manner to BE and can backup to tape or external drives, among other options. Setting up and managing jobs will be familiar to anyone who has been using Symantec’s product, though there are some small differences. Backup files are not split apart into chucks, as with BE, but saved in single files. This makes managing the backup data easier. The interface is more straight-forward, echoing past versions of BE, though it also includes modern touches like the ability to backup data to the cloud. This can be done at no additional charge using any of several different cloud data services. It’s a powerful suite that should be a good fit for anyone looking for something similar to Backup Exec but updated and supported, and at a lower total cost of ownership.
For those looking for a more cloud-centric solution, I’d recommend Barracuda. Deploying their servers is very easy; you simply connect them to your LAN and utilizing a simple web-based management interface customize the name of the unit, IP address, etc. The device automatically connects to the cloud and syncs with your account. Setting up the data sources can be a little trickier if you’re doing something more advanced like Exchange or SQL – I had some trouble getting Exchange mailboxes to backup properly which support helped me sort out – but most sources are easy to manage and Barracuda has the added benefit of allowing you deploy as many agents as you’d like to servers or workstations. That gives you a lot more flexibility in how you backup your data. Once the agents are setup and the sources configured, the box goes about the business of creating local backups and uploading them to the cloud. There is a feature that allows you to specify when to allow backups to be uploaded or to throttle the bandwidth used, giving you control over your pipes. This is vital when backups get into the gigabytes and you don’t want to fill up your connection with backup uploads. You can also manage your backups anywhere through a web browser and give other users access as well through separate accounts. After a few bumps getting my agents to connect to the cloud my experience with Barracuda has been very pleasant and I think their approach is the future of SMB backup.
Either solution is better than Backup Exec. What’s right for you depends on your needs and your budget. The up-front cost of Arcserve Backup is a bit lower than Barracuda, but over time I think you’d pay more in upgrades and backup hardware with that solution than with Barracuda.
Have you tried either of these products? Something else? Let us know in the comments!