Actifio Review

Advanced data management, backup and recovery with unique solutions that lead in the field

What is our primary use case?

There are many use cases for Actifio. It is most popular for the test data management feature in the solution, and the capabilities for instant backup and recovery.  

How has it helped my organization?

It is very important for any organization to be able to complete their development cycle very quickly. This product helps us to get a proper output for our projects. We have to be able to do their data provisioning for development. Usually, this can take a lot of time in waiting for approvals and time for the DBAs to provision the data. That data, when provisioned, will not really be point-in-time and not really instantaneous.  

Because of the Gold Copy concept, Actifio creates a situation where it is easy to provision data via test data management, and I can provision data for various test developers. I do not need an additional license for adding additional users because they have this concept of unified copies. I can provision and mark those users. I save a lot of space because if I have a 20 Gig database and I want to provision to 20 users, I would need to make 20 copies of it on the appliance. In this case, using Actifio, I can just provision only one copy and then work with the Golden Copy concept so developers can work on their own individual copy of the data. It is a virtual copy and that offers a lot of advantages to the DevOps teams.  

Similarly, for analytics, nobody runs analytics on real-time data on the production environment. So let us say a CEO wants data from yesterday night. You can actually take a copy of that data from that time and run analytics on the data. It is very close to getting real-time analytics. This kind of solution is something that our customers appreciate. The feature Actifio has using test data management and copy management helps the clients work to achieve their requirements and virtually process up-to-the-minute data.  

What is most valuable?

The feature that is the most valuable is the Golden Copy feature. It is an incremental backup forever and you can restore from any point in time. The restores are also very fast. I also like the database policing. It is good for use with test and development environments.  

What needs improvement?

There are quite a few ways the product can be improved, actually. In terms of recovery the solution is very good, but still can be better. Specifically, they can improve in the area of ease of recovery and improve the speed. Also, the kind of platforms they support should be enhanced. Like now, they have recently started supporting SAP S/4HANA, SAP MaxDB, and SAP MongoDB. This is good, but there are more platforms that can be supported. Obviously this will take time before the platform support for more products appears in the solution. But I think this is one important addition that they need to make.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for a little more than a year.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. The support services are also very good. They have a support center in India, and I think that will help us and our clients to continue to get very good support within our time zone.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Actifio is scalable. It can actually be scaled in Petabytes. So that again is a very, very good option from a scalability point of view. The solution also has support for numerous storage technologies like object storage. It is really getting better over time.  

Mostly our customers are enterprise customers who have a lot of need to use realtime data for test data management. It only takes about an hour to get the test data. One of our customers is the leading stock exchange in India. You are not going to stop services to collect test data in that situation, and the number of people that need data on the stock exchange is pretty broad. They need this to make predictions and to select the best investments. Actifio is also being used at one of the leading banks for DevOps purposes. It is used by one of the leading pharmaceutical companies which is into pharmaceuticals and life sciences. We have quite a nice assortment of customers spanning across various industries using Actifio and most of them are enterprise organizations.  

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

I am an ex-IBM employee and I have been working with IBM products for a long, long time. So we have been selling IBM Tivoli Storage Manager in the past, which is now Spectrum Protect. Also, I was selling Veeam in the past. I have a lot of experience with these competing products.  

The main difference between Actifio and other solutions that I had experience with is that legacy solutions are very different than the new breed of solutions. Actifio has actually kind of reshaped the backup methodologies. They have a new concept and add a new dimension to the way that data centers were being backed up in the past. They are different if you compare the product to the likes of ScrumWorks or Tivoli or even Veritas for that matter. They have improved things a lot and they have forced others to change. Many of the other products are still backing up to tapes. Actifio does a straight back up to a disk or back up to the cloud. So, that is a big change and a big advantage.  

How was the initial setup?

I found that the initial setup was very, very easy. In fact, the infrastructure support was also very, very flexible as Actifio supports almost any kind of infrastructure. It is essentially agnostic to any type of hardware. We can provision it on a virtual machine — it comes as a virtual machine in fact. Because of that, it is easy to deploy on any VMware or any virtual platform.  

My team has deployed the real-time solutions for customers with Actifio in as short a time as one or two days.  

What other advice do I have?

The way Actifio is shaping up is really good, especially in the way they are opening new avenues for data management — like in terms of test data management, database cloning, and the capability of duplicating databases instantly. Also, it is one of the only solutions which is used by SAP for their own S/4HANA test data management. This one product enables a lot of very good solutions for backup of SAP S/4HANA either on to my systems and appliance or on the cloud. There are these advantages and quite a few other advantages this solution encompasses.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as around eight-of-ten. To make it more like a ten or at least nine, they have to take care of some of the possibilities for expanding the capabilities of the product even further. They need more coverage for newer platforms and any of the new databases coming out. For example, MongoDB is getting very popular and needs better support within Actifio. Support for the current versions of databases is good but maybe some backward compatibility and N-minus-one compatibility would be good because not many customers are always current and on the bleeding edge. We had an incident, in fact, where a customer wanted to use Actifio very much, but part of their deployment was on a current version of their database and another part of it was on an older version that was just not supported. So if they would make the effort to support the current versions and maybe N-minus-one that would be great to help bring in legacy players on so they can also use Actifio.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
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