Just after lunch on Thursday afternoon, I received an email from Spiceworks entitled, “Isn’t it about time backup became easier?” For those of you who may not be familiar with Spiceworks, it is a FREE software offering network monitoring, helpdesk, UPS power management, RFQ, PC inventory tool, and so much more. It also serves as an online community for over 1.7 million users, providing them with a place to get help and ask questions from other IT pros like themselves.

Back to the email, the title sparked my interest, especially when I noticed that it was an article for Spiceworks’ Spotlight on IT series, which is a forum for Spiceworks users (also known as Spiceheads) to show off their experience, opinion, and expertise on a subject. Imagine my delight when I realized that it was written by one of Unitrends’ biggest supporters in the Spiceworks community, Jaguar, aka Justin.

Here are a few excerpts of note, but you can read the entire article here:

“The thing about backups I remember most while making my way into the industry, was ‘It’s never easy.’ It always kind of stuck with me, ‘Why is backing up such a pain? You’d think someone would have made something better than this garbage!’ Yet for years we put up with systems like NTBackup, NetBackup, and the countless iterations of BackupExec. Veritas and Symantec ruled the backup market, full backup jobs took days, and were only dared to be run at night. Restores? Hah! Unless the missing files were deathly critical to operations or someone fairly high up, the answer was simply ‘it’s gone’ and sometimes even then, the outdated tape format would bring down some wondrous roach motel situations, where “it wrote successfully”, but it never came back out when the heat was on, leaving many an IT cursing their budget, while packing their belongings and preparing for lawsuits.

Thankfully those days are over, as storage becomes cheaper, computers become faster, transfer rates have become exponentially better, people can now afford the resources to back up their systems near 24/7, and the choices for software and hardware are plentiful. No longer are the ‘big brand’ names the true leaders, and the stability and control of your backups has become far more simplified than the days of coming into the office HOPING that backup from last week ran properly. Now you can have clear, concise control of your backups, easy reporting delivered to your email every single day, and in the event of a failed backup, you can usually re-run the job right in the middle of the day, because systems today are designed to work in our ever expanding always-on infrastructure, without disturbing production systems.
Virtualization has changed our industry significantly in the past few years, and the amount of software and services we provide have also grown exponentially, as deploying new services has become far simpler than ever before. This is a very strong point to any new backup system, and companies like virtualization-only vendors.

Now to the most important part, the shameless plugging. We’ve now had our Unitrends units well over a year now, a wondrous experience brought on shortly after I arrived here, only to find out tape backup system hadn’t been actually doing anything for about a year (Good ol’ netbackup…). My CTO told me we ‘had to get the tape system working again’, or ‘start looking at cloud storage like vaultlogix.’ Well, after fighting with a very outdated copy of NetBackup and failing miserably, and no dates or usage counts on any of the tapes, I began researching tirelessly all of the options available.

In the end, Unitrends is for business backup, and no backup system is perfect, but, Disk to Disk backups are the future, and unless you’re doing some serious long time archival, tape is really losing its grip on the backup market, it may be cheap, but is that what you want your backups on? Cheap? Make the switch today, and leave that dusty tape behind. Find the backup system that really works for you, not one that you have to work to please. The days of settling for crummy backup are officially over.”

Since this email went out, the responses to this article within Spiceworks have been overwhelming. What do you think? Is Justin spot-on in his assessment of how a backup should be easy? Let us know your thoughts.