Acronis Backup Review

Allows me to make server-level backups for DR and virtual server backups for file-level restores

What is our primary use case?

We use it for the backups.

How has it helped my organization?

The advantages to me are I make two backups. I make a backup of the entire server that goes offsite. That's for disaster recovery. And then I make another copy of just two virtual servers that write on the physical server to a local NAS device. That way, I can do file-level restores.

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What needs improvement?

I have used it in the past. Not the same software, but the same company, and had success with it, and it was fairly easy to use. This one is much more complicated, but there are a lot more things involved in a backup. I have had issues with this one just in completing backups. Sometimes, for some reason, it has to run several times in order for it to do it completely, so I put in a ticket. We worked through it and it just seemed to solve itself, and neither one of us, neither the technician nor I, knew what it was doing or why it did, it but it fixed itself.

I also think the fact that it is extremely customizable means that it's really easy to get something wrong, and it not work as intended. So I would say, if there was a wizard that would lead you down a road, when creating a backup, that would probably be better than having to go online or call somebody to actually do a backup. It's not intuitive whenever you're trying to do something. You don't know whether you need to make a plan first or whether you need to make a backup first, it really depends on what you're trying to do and you really can't do that without asking somebody a question.

The problem that I've had would be more along the lines of it connecting to something else to back it up. For example, I'm currently having a problem with the way, when you have to select a network, I can't select a network location. I have to map a drive on the server, and then I have to select the mapped drive in order for it to put the backup out there.

I can't say this location is where it needs to go. I actually have to map a drive instead of going, "Just go to this IP address, this shared location, and put it here," I can't do that. It won't take it. I have to actually map a drive and put it in there for it to go, "Okay." If for some reason there's something wrong with that map, then the backup can't go there, even though I can ping the location, I can pull up the location, the software doesn't do that. 

Or, if it does do that, I don't know how to get it to do that, which I would say would be my complaint with it, the fact that there's not a lot of intuitive ways to be able to do something. In other words, it expects you to have the knowledge of how to operate it in order to set it up. If it's giving you a yes or no question and you don't know what this means, whatever that question is - "Do you want to do this, yes or no?" - if you don't know what "this" means or what "this" does, then I don't know how to answer that question

The problem is I can't select Help and it says, "Okay, if you're doing this, this is what you need to do. Or, this is for this, so if you want this, select yes. If you want this, select no." There's none of that. There's just me saying, "I don't know what this means." So, then I have to google it, try to figure it out.

If there was a wizard that would say, 

- "What are you trying to do?" 

- "I want to do a backup like this." 

- "Is it going to be offsite, online, another server?" 

It would create the configuration by asking questions through the wizard. This is what Microsoft has been doing for decades. That's how their stuff gets set up correctly. If Acronis had one of those - and it might, I just don't know how to get to it, or to start it - for it do the stuff for you, that would be a big thing for me.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues as far as it locking up or crashing, just actually getting it to do a backup, and do it correctly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Any time that you do a backup that's not at the local level, it's online, you're at the mercy of whatever your connection is. If your connection is not good or stable, then you're going to have issues.

The issue is, when I did an offline backup - I don't know if it was my connection or because of how the software works or how it handles its packets - to upload the initial backup up took something like four days. That's a long time to me.

After the initial backup is done, when it does its daily backup offsite, it only takes about 20 minutes, 30 minutes. It's normal for it to take longer for the initial backup because you have to put all new information up there. After that you're just changing, it's a just a differential, so that's normal. When I'm doing the backup to the local, after the initial one, it takes about six minutes to do the backup.

The problem is that to get that initial thing done is painful. After that, the backup works okay.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've talked to tech support several times. I would say they're a seven or eight out of 10.

This is going to sound bad, but this is the way it is in a lot of tech stuff. Whenever I call tech support and talk with somebody, and I can't understand them because of their accent, it's a problem. When I have support from a non native English speaker, it's very hard for me to understand stuff, and when they have to repeat things several times because I'm not sure what they're saying, to me that's a communication issue. If I'm calling the company, and I need support on their product, and I can't understand the person that I'm speaking with, then that's a communication issue that's not on me. That's on the company. 

It's not just Acronis that is like this, there are a lot of companies that are like this, and I understand why they do it. I'm just saying as an IT professional, it's very frustrating when you have to ask somebody to repeat things several times, or I repeat it and it's not correct, and they repeat it. And, we spend most of our time trying to figure out what each other is saying instead of fixing the problem. 

To me that's extremely frustrating.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used the inherent Windows Server Backup in the operating system. And the reason we switched is, the way it's configured, for me to save to a location that's local, it has to take the entire location. In other words, I have to dedicate the entire NAS device to the backup, and it will reformat all of it and take all its space for the backup. 

I didn't want that. I have a NAS device that has other backup stuff on it that is not part of the server backup. It's archived information, so I couldn't do it that way. So for me to have a backup I would have to do the backups manually every day.

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How was the initial setup?

You could use training for setup, but if they just made quick tutorial videos, for example, this is how you do a backup, a local backup, and have the video go through and do it. You would watch it. You would be looking at the same screen as you look at if you were doing it yourself. And then somebody would narrate. "This is what you do: you do this, you do this, you do this." Just walk through the steps. It doesn't have to be really detailed. Rather, when you get to an option where there's a question, and it's a yes or no question: "This is where you select this." Just a little video that's two minutes or three minutes long that shows you how to set up a backup. Something as simple as that.

A lot of people in the tech industry, or people who do this for living, they learn things quicker this way; in other words, show me once, I can do it. 

You don't need to have it for the lowest common denominator, make it kind of a medium level. Worse case scenario, they just rewind and watch it again. To me, if they did that then you'd have little videos where you see how to do things, how you use the app. Instead of it being written out, it's actually where I can visually see it. Some people learn better reading something, some people learn better doing something, some people learn better watching something, so give them different avenues.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we evaluated Norton, which I don't like. Acronis. And then, of course, the Microsoft solution.

I like Acronis as a company and the backup solution. Like I said, I've used it before, and it was very easy to use. It was a different backup solution than the one I'm currently using, but still made by Acronis. 

The same thing with Norton, I've had experiences with Norton, and it's a pain. There is always a problem, I have had configuration issues and restore issues using Norton. I don't know if it was that particular situation where it was a problem, but I've use Norton a couple of times and it's always been problematic. Every time I've used Acronis in the past - I've been doing this for 25 years - I haven't had any problems. So my experience in the past taught me to steer away from certain things. I don't use anything that has that word "Norton" on it. Seriously, whether it's antivirus, backup, it doesn't matter. Every time I've ever use any of their products it's always been a pain to get it configured and for it to work properly.

What other advice do I have?

I would say it's not a steep learning curve, but there's a learning curve, learning how you want it set up, because of the amount of options that you're given. It's good that you have a lot of different options. It's also bad that you have a lot of different options, because it is really easy for you to be able to make a selection that's not going to optimize your backup solution. So, I would say that as long as you know what you need, and you're familiar with the software, then you should not have many problems, with a little bit of learning/reading about the app before you use it.

I would say Acronis is about nine out of 10, overall. Some documentation or some wizards that would help you through the process, especially if you're new to the software, would benefit. I'm never going to give anybody a 10, so nine would be a 10, because everything can be improved. I don't believe in a 10.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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