What is most valuable?
It provides reliability and the confidence when a server disaster happens, that the product is actually doing what it says it's doing. For example, we have a backup of our servers. It's the only important thing in a backup software, at least for a company our size, is that we actually get our data backed.
Normally, I don't care how long it takes to get the data. It's important to a point, but ultimately, as long as the data comes back, that's all that we care about.
Acronis has curved out a really good name for themselves and they're a trusted backup software system, and it's mainly from reliability. That's the main reason why we use it. It lets you know if anything has gone wrong with the server. It'll email you.
They have online cloud support. Basically, it allows you to monitor multiple servers from one location, so they've their control panel/dashboard, which allows you to monitor more than one server. So, we've got three primary servers, then I use one of those as control dashboards to get in and go look at see what's going on with the other servers. It lets me call up programs real quick.
When you come in the morning, it will tell you if it made the night's backups the night before, which is really cool. You can do validation. That's one of the best features that's available with it: validations.
That means when you make a backup, they've got this thing where you can validate the backup and Acronis tells you whether or not the backup is valid. You're not just recording garbage. This would be one of the big advantages of using it. They have some centralized vaults and personal vaults, paid management, disk management, and mounted images. They allow you to make an ISO image of the server which you're working on.
A super big feature: If a server crashes, you just can't go back in there, because everything you've had on it crashed. So Acronis lets you create a CD. It's called an ISO CD. It's an imaging CD, and you drop that in the server. That lets you back into the server environment through Acronis to get Acronis set back up on that machine. This is what is critical to the whole thing, because you got to have a way back into the environment so that you can rebuild the server.
How has it helped my organization?
I can sleep at night. Seriously, that's important for an IT system's administrator, knowing that the data which we're doing our day-to-day business on is being backed up nightly. If we lost our software that we run on, it is around $120,000, and if we lose that, we're pretty much up the creek. So Acronis backs that up, it validates the backup, and I know, the backups which we have are supposedly good.
What needs improvement?
They have cloud storage technology. The problem with it, it's slow. Say if all of our backups here failed, like the week back up locally to tape drives and different types of masses, and we store our data locally here where I'm at in RPI. However, say lightning hit the building, the servers blew up, everything was bad/corrupted, and I had to go buy a new server. So a new server shows, so how do I get my data back? Then, I would have to connect through Acronis Cloud.
Now, I can get the data back; however, the amount data that I got to get back is so big that I would actually end up telling them, "Okay, you know what? Record the data to a tape and mail me the tape. Or, mail me the backup on a giant flash drive or some type of hard media that I could get back from them."
Because the data that companies are backing up nowadays, it's so big even if you have high speed internet, it's still not big enough. It would probably take me three days to get the backup downloaded. It takes a really long time to get really big backups back from the cloud.
That's not Acronis's problem, that's the Internet's problem. If we all get fiber optics internet, that would solve it.
That only thing that's bad about the company... the naming of their product. The names that they have for their products are insane: Acronis Backup, Acronis Backup 10.5, Acronis Backup 11, Acronis Backup 11.5, Acronis Backup for Windows, Acronis Backup Advanced, Acronis Backup Advanced 11.5, and Acronis Backup 12.5 Server. It gets the customer confused. That's the issue I have was with the naming of their product. Once you know the product, you need and you actually get the product, it's perfect. It runs great, works well, and the tech support is fantastic.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I've never had a problem with Acronis crashing. The product is completely stable. Speed might help, but it backs up within the proper parameters of what it's doing. So, I don't know what else you would actually do to try to improve with it.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
If you're looking for a scalable tool, Acronis is definitely the way to go. They've pretty much thought about just about everything. Even it emails you at night, I know every step of the way what's going on. It gives me all of the server information as it's making the backup. I've got to get a really good disaster plan back up. You can even get an email telling you how the steps to actually reinstall the system once it goes down. Thus, their disaster recovery program is real good, too.
How are customer service and technical support?
Excellent. They have excellent tech support people.
I wish all the companies were like them. I always get a live person in a timely fashion. If they don't know the answer, they've got another Tier 2 tech support that they can go to and ask. They have always answered a question when asked.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I used to run Microsoft Backup. It was built into every single copy of the Windows server. The problem with this (everybody knows about this) is they require you to use a floppy disk. Nobody has floppy disks anymore, you have to buy a USB floppy disk to get the little files saved and that the entire backup to depends on.
When it was time to make an upgrade, I used a variety of different programs. Backing up stuff in a server environment is different than backing up a home computer, so I mainly went with the Acronis product, because they're world-renowned for server backups and if you need a reliable backup you go to Acronis. I don't know what else anybody else would want. I know Symantec has a couple of different backup products, but I don't think they're as reliable as Acronis.
I discovered Acronis when I started doing some research on backups and my father-in-law, who was an IT guy, he was like, "You should put Acronis on that system." I was like, "Well, all right, I'll go check it out." So, I did a lot of research on it, then I just ended up picking Acronis. After reading about what they do and how they do stuff, it just seemed like the right company to pick.
How was the initial setup?
It's literally, click setup, enter, and that's it. It'll install it. It does everything. It installs Acronis machine services. That's what runs on the servers.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Symantec was the other choice, it and Retrospect. But I don't use Retrospect for server backups. I wouldn't trust it for that. I trust it for file backups, but not for server backups.
What other advice do I have?
Buy it sooner than later. If you don't have a backup solution or a disaster recovery program in your company, you're flirting with disaster.
The tool is really important for me, because I have my job because of this program and making sure that we can restore the company. It's a big deal when you lose server capability.