Unitrends and Veeam: Continuity and Availability

Unitrends tends to promote continuity (and business continuity) while Veeam touts availability.  In fact, in Veeam’s advice for Unitrends software users to switch to Veeam on their web site the term “availability” is repeated at least a half dozen times.  So what’s the difference between continuity and availability in a non-marketing (or non-branding) sense – and what’s the difference between Unitrends and Veeam in terms of the implementation of these two concepts?

Continuity and availability simply refer to the ability of a backup system to offer the ability to recover a customer’s infrastructure quickly with minimal data loss.  The term “quickly” typically means restoring the infrastructure in a matter of minutes or at most a few hours; the phrase “minimal data loss” refers to how efficient deduplication and replication are in minimizing the RPO (Recovery Point Objective.)  If you can backup and replicate a certain amount of changed data in an hour, then that means that the maximum amount of data that you can lose is just under one hour of changes.

We’ve already discussed the foundation of continuity and availability: deduplication (including content-aware deduplication) and replication (including WAN acceleration/optimization.)  These are critical in being able to actually achieve continuity – because without world-class deduplication, replication, and WAN acceleration you simply can’t protect enough data in the cloud (or at a second site) with an acceptable RPO.  As we note in the links above, you want to make sure that you’re using a solution with a sophisticated storage-based global deduplication scheme rather than a per-job “fake deduplication” scheme – and you want to make sure you understand the overhead of re-deduplication on replication as well.  Unitrends is built upon modern, sophisticated, deduplication and replication.

Instant recovery and recovery assurance technologies are important in minimizing RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) – or how long it takes you to recover your infrastructure.  Both Unitrends and Veeam offer instant recovery and recovery assurance features.  Unitrends and Veeam offers an instant recovery technology that allows a VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machine to use the backup as a VMDK or VHDX such that an external VMware or Hyper-V host running a virtual machine can quickly attach to the backup and “instantly” recover.  Unitrends in addition offers Unitrends Bridge, which enables a virtual or physical Windows server or client to have a VMDK or VHDX virtual machine created and be updated automatically from the backup itself.  Finally, Unitrends Recovery-Series appliances also enable a virtual or physical Windows server or client to be booted within the physical appliance itself by creating a Linux KVM/QEMU virtualized version of the Windows computer and keeping it updated.

Why does Unitrends offer so many continuity and availability options that Veeam doesn’t?  Because our continuity and backup solutions were created from the ground up to work in heterogeneous, agile, IT environments.  This is one reason that the legacy backup meme that Veeam throws around so haphazardly in their web “advertisement” of Unitrends on their site applies more to Veeam than it does to Unitrends – as we constantly adapt and grow our continuity and backup solution we’re not stuck in the “virtualization-only” niche.  Thus we can offer continuity and backup solutions that adapt with our customers – rather than asking our customers to adapt to our software and hardware.

We’ll discuss recovery assurance in a later post (see the Unitrends and Veeam overview post for the publication sequence.)  At this point, it simply suffices to say that you’re not going to get true continuity or availability without being able to sequence, orchestrate, test, and automate the data that you are replicating (and backing up.)

If you have any questions or different opinions on continuity and availability, we’d love to hear from you.




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