I've been banging my head against the wall trying to find an online backup service that supports all of the following enterprisey features:

  • Full-system backup for Linux and Windows 2003/2008 servers, including windows registries, System State, Active Driectory, etc. This requirement knocks out most of the well-known online players.
  • Encryption with locally-controlled keys
  • De-duplication, with a sane and hopefully adjustable retention policy. Two weeks is not enough. We have a 45 Mbps connection at HQ, and about 5 TB uncompressed in 10M files to back up. Some individual files are as large as 150 GB (MSSQL and Exchange databases). This implies bandwidth-efficiency.
  • Support for SQL Server 2005/2008 and Exchange 2007/2010 backups via Windows Volume ShadowCopy Services. (Again, almost none of the online services do this well, and the "dump to a native file and then back that up" scheme just doesn't work for 150-GB databases.)
  • Reasonable filesystem metadata support, including restoration, with Windows and Linux permissions being a must. (Shockingly missing from many online providers).
  • Gruanular Sharepoint item restore is a highly desired feature, but we can live without it.
  • Offers pay-as-you-go, all-opex pricing without "reserving" space like Mozy.
  • Is not BackupExec, which we just cannot trust anymore to do an actual restore. Downloading multi-GB service releases and doing QA and installation on those every few weeks has become untenable. Yet another once-great product Symantec has destroyed.
  • Reasonable success/failure reporting with enough information to track down what data was missed or skipped (again, most of the online players fail massively in this area).
  • Ability to restore data (and hopefully System State) into a public cloud in a DR scenario (knocks out the VMware-specific solutions which looked otherwise promising).

I've taken trials or read in depth about CrashPlan, Mozy, JungleDisk, Carbonite, i365, and a few others. But even the "server" or "pro" versions of these services is lacking one or more "table-stakes" features that all business-oriented, premise-based backup software has had for ages. Note we are not looking for free or even inexpensive here, just something that works well and is reliable without a lot of care and feeding.

closed as not constructive by Mark Henderson Jan 15 '12 at 6:01

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  • It would help to know what versions of SQL and Exchange – GregD Apr 11 '11 at 14:11
  • edited with specific versions of Windows, SQL, and Exchange – rmalayter Apr 11 '11 at 14:22

I had done my research on the very same subject about half year ago and I ended up with Asigra solution. It can do EVERYTHING that you are asking and more. Asigra makes software but service is provided by independent service providers and there is no shortage of them. Ask Asigra for referrals or just Google. I could refer you to mine if you like (they pay commissions for referrals so I may make a buck or two for doing this :-).

There is minor annoyance with their solution that you will need separate installations for Windows and Linux backups, but this is not a big deal and they may fix (or rather re-inroduce) it in the next version.

It is not a one click solution because it provides so many options and it will require some understanding of backups. You sound knowledgeable so I presume it wouldn't be a problem :-). Once it is set it just runs. In addition it provides rather advanced reporting useful for trend analysis and capacity planning.

Hope this helps.

  • I filled out their contact me form shortly after you posted this, but have heard nothing back from them or their partners. So unfortunately, I cannot accept this as an answer on SF, even if the product turns out to be great. – rmalayter Apr 18 '11 at 1:14
  • @rmalayter: That is unfortunate, but if you want all features you are asking for there is no better product on the market right now. Here are few providers that I know about - "Backup My Info" (way overpriced), "Databarracks", "Terramark" they are all using Asigra platform. – dtoubelis Apr 18 '11 at 2:50
  • @rmalayter .. given the importance to you and the time invested, perhaps picking up the phone or tweeting them might be in order. – tomjedrz Apr 18 '11 at 14:33
  • @Dmitri: you implemented this? Can you give a rough estimate of the cost to implement? – Antonius Bloch Apr 21 '11 at 2:49
  • @Antonius Bloch: Yes, this service is usually priced om amount of storage you use. Some providers charge per compressed GB others per non-compressed GB. Just for your reference - if you backup VMs they are higly compressible (I'm getting ~ 9:1 ratio), otherwise it is between 4:1 and 2:1 with my data. I'm paying $4 per compressed GB of redundant storage. Some providers also charge setup fee, but it usually small (few hundred dollars). This solution is way ahead any competition, so I can say with certainty THERE IS NOTING BETTER ON THE MARKET RIGHT NOW, period. – dtoubelis Apr 21 '11 at 3:05

It seems like you have done a lot of research on this and every service has been found to come up wanting :( Thinking of this in another way, is there a reason why you'd like to use an online service like this? I wonder if a more suitable option for you might be to have a remote cloud server running your favourite flavour of Linux with bacula installed? Your storage could be S3 or similar. I believe you would then have most of the items you list above taken care of. If you do find a service like you describe, I would be really interested to know.

  • +1 -- It does seem that perhaps you'd better off with a "traditional" backup system and cloud storage. – voretaq7 Apr 11 '11 at 15:30
  • Very interesting, this is actually sort of what we're doing now (replicating backup data generated by various programs to dedicated boxes at our hosting provider). I am hoping for some as-yet-uncovered awesome solution/provider from the community, so I can't accept this just yet. – rmalayter Apr 11 '11 at 17:03

Not an online provider per se, but if you do need the abilities you listed, I'd suggest having an off-site SAN somewhere, and use the SAN vendor's replication feature to push your on-site SAN's content to the off-site one.

After all, that's what my company chose to use. Our on-site NetApp cluster replicates to an off-site NetApp cluster, and every weekend both clusters do the time-consuming de-dupe.

No need for a full-blown DRC; my company just rent a rack on a trustworthy colocation provider, with 2 Public IP Addresses.

Yes, the upfront cost might be immense, but the operational cost is quite low. Plus we have the peace of mind knowing that if our colo provider goes belly-up, we won't lose our replicated data.

  • We're an HP P4000-series SAN shop (formerly LeftHand). Unfortunately, we want to be able to recover into the public cloud, so SAN-based replication is out. The reasons are varied, but mostly it comes down to limiting expenses and being sure we are not out-growing or neglecting a dedicated DR site. This has been a problem for us in the past, as spending for the DR site gets nuked when the expense budget for this quarter/year needs to be reduced. – rmalayter Apr 18 '11 at 13:08
  • @rmalayter I see. well, I wish you good luck, then. and please post an update if you find one; I'm sure lots of us will also be interested. – pepoluan Apr 18 '11 at 14:50

Have you had a look at LiveVault by Iron Mountain? We're currently using LiveVault with their Turbo Restore Appliance, which is nothing more than a re-branded Dell server for quick, local backups and restores.

I'll warn you though, it's VERY spendy.

  • We're acutally already an IronMountain customer for physical media and paper records. We looked at LiveVault a few years ago, and it didn't have the features we needed. And it looks like their site has almost no detail on how it works. I consider this something of a last resort; I hate doing the song and dance with a sales person just to discover the basics of a product. – rmalayter Apr 11 '11 at 22:00

I suggest looking into Vembu StoreGrid, it might give you an answer.

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