Acronis Combines Backup And Disaster Recovery Software For Physical, Virtual And Cloud Environments

Data protection vendor Acronis has introduced what it says is the industry’s first product that combines backup and disaster recovery software into one application that protects data on physical or virtual IT assets, as well as in the cloud. Acronis emphasized that the Acronis Backup & Recovery 11 solution is designed to be easy to use, especially for small to midsize businesses that may not have the experienced IT staff to handle more complex solutions.

Previously, data backup and disaster recovery required separate solutions because backup involved finding a specific file or folder while disaster recovery involved replicating or restarting an entire data center down to the bare metal, says Izzy Azeri, general manager for the Americas for Acronis. For the first time, in version 11, those tasks can both be managed in one solution.

Backup & Recovery 11 also catalogs each item saved and notes whether it was saved to tape, disk or a cloud storage array. The catalog also records when a particular file was last saved.

The new version provides wizards for setting up data retention policies, establishing what is to be saved, where and how often. The wizards make it easy for IT novices to manage their data backups, Azeri says, although there are also advanced features for more experienced IT professionals.

Version 11 also creates a step-by-step disaster recovery plan that takes into account compliance regulations a business must follow, such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) for companies that handle credit cards, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for those in the health care industry and Sarbanes-Oxley for publicly traded companies. The plan can be automatically updated each time a new file is saved in the event file names change or data is backed up to a new location.

“The automatic creation of the disaster recovery plans is a very cool feature, one that I have not seen before in this area,” says Dick Csaplar, senior research analyst at Aberdeen Group. “The fact that one is created automatically means that the person doing the recovery doesn’t have to be the one who did the initial backup.”

Managing backup and recovery for any IT system is “daunting,” Csaplar adds, especially for SMBs juggling physical, virtual and cloud assets with small IT staffs. Although Acronis faces competition from companies such as EMC Avamar, Symantec, CommVault and Quest, “I believe the bar has been raised by this Acronis product.”

As SMBs expand their use of virtualization, Backup & Recovery 11 manages data protection on virtual machines, providing simultaneous backup of all the virtual machines (VMs) on a host server. “It’s hard to back up all the VMs on one host because there’s a short backup window and the backup has to be done sequentially. With this new feature, you can do all VM backups in parallel,” says Azeri.