KeyCloud Backup and Recovery Review

Simply provides single-vendor, consistent cloud-based backup

What is most valuable?

The most important features is that it provides consistent cloud-based backup.

How has it helped my organization?

How this benefits our company is pretty straightforward. We use the product to create, on two different locations on our campus, a local backup copy of our environment, our 130-plus servers, and then a final set is sent off-site to the KeyInfo cloud, and that of course is now our off-site storage of backups, in the event of a disaster here on our campus.

We don't have to worry about people picking up tapes, dropping off tapes. We don't have to worry about maintaining equipment in a third-party location. We don't have to worry about any of that stuff.

What needs improvement?

I would say that the room for improvement comes under the heading of performance. We backup a lot of information in a 24-hour period. It works fine. But there's always room for improvement on that. If they would make my 24-hour backup cycle window, from start to finish, a 15-hour or a 12-hour backup window, I'd be that much happier.

Just to be clear, there's no time consumption on the part of my staff. This runs fully automatically. But the concern is that when you do backups, you want your backup window to be as narrow as possible. Actually, our backup window is 20 hours, and it gets done in 20 hours. Because, the longer it lingers, the more of a window there is for a disaster to knock you down.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for about eight months now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Most stable product I've seen in years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think the short answer is no. I'm going to qualify that by saying at some point you have to change the way you're sending the data to the cloud for performance purposes, but that is something they can do. It's just more expensive for them, a higher-speed connection.

How are customer service and technical support?

My guys, my infrastructure team - I'm the CIO - worked with them diligently on everything, and I got regular daily updates on it, because backup is very important to me. The answer is they provided excellent technical support, and continue to do so.

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

We previously were using Hitachi Data Instance Manager. We had stability problems with the product, and we had performance problems with the product. After spending two or three years trying to iron those out with the vendor, I finally made the decision that we were simply going to go find a different solution.

We went through a lot of reviews, and KeyInfo came to our attention, and that's why we went in that direction. There is one other value at KeyInfo that Hitachi and the others don't offer, which is no capital outlay. There's no capital expense to KeyInfo. It's a service, so you pay for it on a monthly basis. You don't have to buy software or licenses or hardware or anything like that.

How was the initial setup?

It was actually very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at three or four different options, and ultimately we came to the conclusion that most of the available backup options out there, while capable of doing what we wanted to do, didn't provide a full, single-vendor solution. You had to buy this product or service from one company, and then you had to add on cloud storage from another, and so on and so forth. What we were really looking for was an end-to-end single solution that could be managed through a single vendor.

We looked at a number of other solutions. HexaGrid was one. We did look at Veeam as a separate product, because they do sell themselves separately. We looked at IBM's backup solutions, and we looked at Hewlett-Packard's backup solutions, too. We even looked at EMC's backup solutions. But, again, none of them really fit the model that I wanted, which was an end-to-end, transparent, one-vendor solution. Maybe that's changed now, but at the time they didn't offer that option. They would tell you, "You have to go get this service or that service, and we can set it up, or we can help you set it up. But you would have to do Business-Google, for example, or Amazon, to store your stuff in the cloud."

So we decided to start looking at different solutions, BRaaS solutions, and KeyInfo came popping up. It's been an extremely good relationship, and a very rewarding shift for us.

What other advice do I have?

After 40 years, I think I probably have an opinion now. I would say there are three things.

The first thing is, don't be locked in into traditional thinking. That's number one. Don't get put into that box where you're thinking about the old backup robots or local disk drives with Symantec, or whatever your products are. Don't be stuck with the concept of, "Well, we have to co-locate our data outside of our facility in order to keep it ours and protect it." So, number one, don't get locked into traditional solutions.

Number two, don't be afraid to negotiate for guarantees of performance, with penalties if the company doesn't perform. You can walk away from any solution. You don't have to marry it. But this is the time that you build in your guarantees if you have doubts and concerns. You do it up front.

The third thing - probably the most important thing - is, make sure that your infrastructure team is involved in the process from the start. Don't cherry pick one or two people and have them review products and then go based on their recommendation. Engage as many of the people who are actually going to live with the product or the solution as possible, from the start, for evaluating and considering what you're doing, because they're the ones who have to live with the outcome.

I have absolutely no complaints about it, and it performed exactly as advertised, and has continued to do so in an extremely reliable manner. My comment to you or to anybody reading this is: We don't think about our backups anymore. They're that reliable. We aren't worried about them. We are checking them first thing in the morning when we come in. We get reports and we get indicators and we do check it occasionally, but it's not the first thing on the agenda when the first person comes in the morning, "Did the backups go off last night?"

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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