What is our primary use case?
Backup of virtual environments (VMware and Hyper-V). The scale is good, we are backing up over 3000 VM's with Actifio today. We have also run successful POC's with backups at remote offices and backups of SQL databases. We plan to continue rolling out this product to other workloads.
How has it helped my organization?
The solution provides "instant restore" capability. It allows you to mount images from the backup pool back into production and run in that state. The mount function works as either a bare-metal restore of an entire VM or a drive letter / filesystem mounted back into a running VM for copy or comparison.
What is most valuable?
Easy integration with cloud and object storage backup pools. Ability to back up from the cloud and to back up to the cloud: on-prem to cloud, cloud to on-prem, cloud to cloud. We have other backup products that have struggled with this type of integration.
What needs improvement?
Integration with snap services of disk vendors (they only support IBM and Pure right now). Actifio uses the native backup capabilities of each application (like VADP for VMware), but could benefit from integrating these capabilities with storage subsystems for the best of both worlds.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Nearly all the problems we've had with the product have been caused by the infrastructure not the software. Despite this Actifio support has successfully helped us recover from each issue we've come across.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Performance has been solid, depends mostly on the disk backing the solution. You can use anything supported by the hypervisor for the Sky version of Actifio.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We have also been using IBM TSM/Spectrum Protect and Commvault. Actifio has the right vision of data management, ease of use, and embrace of the cloud.
How was the initial setup?
Set up is super easy...once you learn the process. The learning curve isn't steep, but it's there. Use their professional services to deploy the first few appliances.
What about the implementation team?
In-house handled the hands on work, but we used professional services to guide and train us. The engineer assigned to us was very knowledgeable. Actifio also include a project manager to help get the project completed professionally and on time.
What was our ROI?
Actifio is very price competitive. They can typically replace any backup solution for less money. Beyond this, the solution allows use of backup data for development, analytics, etc. So, multiple copies of prod data can be eliminated by using the Actifio copy for all the other use cases.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Actifio will add professional services to the quote package. It is valuable to get the ball rolling quickly. While Actifio is a simple product, its feature scope is large and that can mean some learning curve challenges.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Oh yes, we looked at all the major vendors. Veeam came in as a close second. Cohesity was also a top contender.
What other advice do I have?
Actifio is not putting much development into their deduplication technology anymore. Just skip it. The cloud/object store option is called OnVault. It works way better, scales better, and has much more freedom.