Over the last ten days or so I have enjoyed reading the Unitrends and Veeam series of articles posted in this blog. There has been great information on all the points that software companies use when comparing and contrasting their respective products, with more to come. A feast of data points that those of us into this sort of thing love to consume. But sometimes, what a customer wants and needs and appreciates can be so much more narrowly defined.
This week I had the good fortune to spend a few days with a long time Unitrends partner and about 500 of that partner’s customers. CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and IT administrators from hospitals located throughout the country. Well over 100 of them are also Unitrends customers and they were happy to share their feelings about our backup and continuity solution with me. The words they used were exactly what I would hope to hear – easy, high value, quick recovery, flexible. Very exciting.
On the last day of the event we had a session that included a panel that allowed three customers to discuss Unitrends in their environment in front of the attendees. These were three customers with different challenges, different deployment strategies, but with similar experiences.
The first speaker uses replicated storage between two data centers to maintain two VMware environments, one for production and one for disaster recovery. He uses a Unitrends Recovery-Series appliance for backup of virtual machines and a handful of physical assets that require an agent. Unitrends gives him the long term retention he requires and protects against data corruption replicated between the two storage devices. Recently he did find the need to quickly recover from a Unitrends backup when some of his virtual machines were brought down by a virus.
His message was pretty succinct – he has a great deal of money invested in a disaster recovery solution (smartly so) built around replicated storage, but recovery from common data loss events is performed by the Unitrends solution a fraction of the cost.
The next speaker uses a Unitrends Recovery-Series appliance for local backup and recovery and the Unitrends cloud for disaster recovery. This speaker also shared a recovery story – a system that needed to be back online quickly. I thought he gave the best line of the day when he referred to his Unitrends appliance as “the best piece of equipment in his shop.”
Next year this customer will spin up a second data center in which will serve as a private cloud location for disaster recovery. When it comes online he will be deploying Unitrends software there to be used as a backup copy target giving him the ability to quickly recover in the event of a disaster.
The third speaker has been a Unitrends customer for eight years and with his story shared the ease of transition between Unitrends deployment options.
His original configuration was a Recovery-Series appliance using tape as a backup copy target for long term retention and off-site storage. Over time he transitioned to disk for off-site storage and last year, introduced a new appliance in a second data center for disaster recovery. His message was around flexibility and how easy it has been to move through the life phases of the product.
After listening to these three customers, I realize that what matters to them is simply being able to quickly recover data. There was no mention of the items companies love to debate. Nothing about deduplication or scalability or optimization. They talked about dependability, protecting all their assets – physical and virtual – with one product. They mentioned positive support experiences and affordability. They look forward to using our new interface that will make using the product even simpler. They like the peace of mind knowing they are protected and that they can recover.
Try Unitrends backup software yourself and let us know what you think.