Unitrends and Veeam: Virtual Protection

Unitrends offers a broader, more compelling, and better virtualization protection offering than Veeam.  Setting aside core continuity and backup features we’ve discussed so far in this series- and that’s a whole lot of features to set aside (see the Unitrends and Veeam Overview post for a full list of these features which range from user interface to deduplication to cloud to recovery assurance to pricing and beyond), the Unitrends offering is superior.  Even if I exclude the fact that Unitrends supports more hypervisors than Veeam (Unitrends offers virtualization protection for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer while Veeam only offers vSphere and Hyper-V protection), Unitrends continuity and backup is better than Veeam.  What I’m going to do in this blog post is prove that point.

The way that the term “virtualization” is used by Veeam – particularly in their “advertisement” of Unitrends – means hypervisor-level backup only with various tools that enable users to recover data from the hypervisor-level backup.  Veeam uses the term “agentless” quite a bit to distinguish what they do in their core backup product – which means that you use the virtualization hypervisor to protect virtual machines rather than treating each virtual machine as if it were a physical server (or client) and putting an “agent” into the virtual machine for backup.  Unitrends on the other hand allows you to do both “agentless” and “agent” backup in its core products.

(I use quotes around the terms “agentless” and “agent” because the terms can be misleading – “agentless” backup uses software that runs within the virtual machine itself for both Unitrends and Veeam – for more on this see Everybody Lies: Backup and Secret Agents.)

So what?  Well, there’s a lot riding on whether Veeam can market itself as a state-of-the-art virtualization vendor while supporting fewer hypervisors, and fewer ways to protect those hypervisors, and fewer ways to recover infrastructure and data, and supporting fewer environments with respect to recovery assurance than Unitrends.  So the marketing tends to crank up.  But facts are facts; so let’s review those now.

  • Unitrends protects VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer at the hypervisor (agentless) level; Veeam supports vSphere and Hyper-V.
  • Unitrends uses “AppAware” techniques (software “secret agents” that are dynamically inserted into each virtual machine to quiesce applications); so does Veeam.
  • Unitrends protects Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle, and NAS/NDMP at an application native level within a virtual machine; Veeam supports none.
  • Unitrends protects hundreds of versions of servers, operating systems, hypervisors, and applications natively in our core product within a virtual machine; Veeam supports vSphere and Hyper-V.  Note that Veeam does recently offer endpoint protection for Windows and Linux separate from their core product.
  • Unitrends protects SANs via its physical protection at the operating system, hypervisor, and application level; Veeam protects SANs at the hypervisor level and with SAN snapshot monitoring for some SANs.
  • Unitrends provides instant recovery for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Windows servers and clients; Veeam supports only vSphere and Hyper-V with any of their products.
  • Unitrends provide standard and granular recovery for everything we support; Veeam does as well.
  • Unitrends provides recovery assurance for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Microsoft Windows; Veeam provides recovery assurance for vSphere and Hyper-V.

Even with all of this detail, this is a fairly high-level overview of virtualization support.  In my next post, I’m going to explore the importance of what Unitrends calls “Deep Virtualization” – the protection at a native level of applications and operating systems within the virtual machine.

Have a different perspective or interested in diving further?  We’d love to hear from you.




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