Founded in 2001, BackupAssist is focussed primarily on the small to medium enterprise (under 500 seats). They sell the product via a variety of mechanisms, including:
- Distribution channels
Challenges Are Everywhere
Some of the challenges faced by the average SME when it comes to data protection include the following:
So what does the average SME need when it comes to selecting a data protection solution?
- Make it affordable
- Automatic offsite backups with history and retention
- Most recoveries are local – make them fast!
- The option to recover in the cloud if needed (the fallback to the fallback)
What Is It?
So what exactly is BackupAssist ER? It’s backup and recovery software.
[image courtesy of BackupAssist]
It’s deployed on Windows servers, and has support for disk to disk to cloud as a protection topology.
Another cool feature is CryptoSafeGuard, providing the following features:
- Shield from unauthorised access
- Detect – Alert – Preserve
- VM Instant boot (converting into a Hyper-V guest)
- BMR (catering for dissimilar hardware)
- Download cloud backup anywhere
The product supports the granular recovery of files, Exchange, and applications.
Data Handling and Control
A key feature of the solution is the approach to data handling, offering:
It uses the VHDX file format to store protection data. It can also backup to Blob storage. Chang also advised that they’re working on introducing S3 compatibility at some stage.
The product supports a couple of different retention schemes, including:
- Local – Keep N copies (GFS is coming)
- Cloud – Keep X copies
- Archival – Keep a backup on a HDD, and retain for years
BackupAssist ER is licensed in a variety of ways. Costs are as follows:
- Per physical machine – $399 US annually;
- Per virtual guest machine – $199 US annually; and
- Per virtual host machine – $699 US annually.
There are discounts available for multi-year subscriptions, as well as discounts to be had if you’re looking to purchase licensing for more than 5 machines.
Thoughts and Further Reading
Chang noted that BackupAssist is “[n]ot trying to be the best, but the best fit”. You’ll see that a lot of the capability is Microsoft-centric, with support for Windows and Hyper-V. This makes sense when you look at what the SME market is doing in terms of leveraging Microsoft platforms to deliver their IT requirements. Building a protection product that covers every platform is time-consuming and expensive in terms of engineering effort. What Chang and the team have been focussed on is delivering data protection products to customers at a particular price point while delivering the right amount of technology.
The SME market is notorious for wanting to consume quality product at a particular price point. Every interaction I’ve had with customers in the SME segment has given me a crystal clear understanding of “Champagne tastes on a beer budget”. But in much the same way that some big enterprise shops will never stop doing things at a glacial pace, so too will many SME shops continue to look for high value at a low cost. Ultimately, compromises need to be made to meet that price point, hence the lack of support for features such as VMware. That doesn’t mean that BackupAssist can’t meet your requirements, particularly if you’re running your business’s IT on a couple of Windows machines. For this it’s well suited, and the flexibility on offer in terms of disk targets, retention, and recovery should be motivation to investigate further. It’s a bit of a nasty world out there, so anything you can do to ensure your business data is a little safer should be worthy of further consideration. You can read the press release here.