Micro Focus Data Protector Review

Great automation and very good data deduplication but lacks good reporting

What is our primary use case?

 We primarily use the solution for data backups.

What is most valuable?

On the interface level of managing the backup, especially the history of the files that we are backing up, Data Protector is pretty good.

Implementation is pretty easy, depending on the number of clients.

The data deduplication is great.

The solution offers easy device detection. It's great for detecting devices you attach to the network. It doesn't matter if it's HPE StoreOnce or Data Domain, this solution will pick it up.

The catalog if very complete. Even if your file is eight years old, you'll be able to see it there.

Data Protector is very good at automation. From the time of the backup, verification, and copy to tape, it is very good. I don't need to touch it, it will do it by itself. 

What needs improvement?

It's annoying that you actually have to pay for the deduplication feature in order to use it.

Starting at around 2010, they haven't really changed their interface or added many new features. The console is dated. they need to make it more modern, add colours and better UI to make it more user friendly and attractive.

If you compare the solution with the same specific features and enhancements on another solution, Data Protector is expensive. This is especially true when compared to, for example, Veeam.

They are starting to create a cloud version of the Data Protector. The thing is, it's very hard to convince an administrator like me to switch to it, due to the fact that they are basically a hardware designed software. It was designed by a hardware engineer, that's why it looks and feels and operates like hardware. To change it to a software doesn't sit right. In comparison, when you use Veeam, you feel like you are managing a cloud. You feel that you are managing something on the top. When you're using Micro Focus Data Protector, on the other hand, you feel that you are directly communicating with the device. It's just as bumpy and not as satisfying as compared to Veem, which is compact and light.

Every time there is a backup running, I cannot predict anything, so I cannot say if it will back up the first time. Data Protector has a status bar. You need to wait and see.

Their flexibility of their reporting needs improvement. You cannot save. You need to copy/paste. It may have appeared flexible in the 1990s, however, it's 2020 now. We need a flexible reporting of all that is happening on the Data Protector. We don't need to focus too much on the data, we need to focus on the maintenance of the machine. There needs to be a focus on analytical reports. We need answers to questions like: "Am I going to lose capacity?" "Do I still have enough space?" "Do I still have enough capacity for the cloud?" Data Protector should analyze these things for you, and alert you if you need to increase capacity.  

The solution needs more mobile capabilities. If I cannot see your product on my mobile, you're not worth considering. Nowadays, that's a basic requirement for an administrator.

There is no place in the world that is not connected to the internet or IoT. There is a lot to be done that the competitors are already doing for the last four years. 

The solution needs to change their support agreement. It was changed from traditional to capacity. That means the product is now only targeting big companies. As it stands now, they cannot really market to smaller organizations because their capacity is not that much. Licensing should be flexible for small businesses all the way up to enterprise-level businesses.

Once you perform a backup for a huge amount of data, you cannot browse it. You cannot browse a specific characteristic of that data on the database in order to find a file. If the file is large, you need to restore it. With Veem, you can view it even if it's inside the archive. It gives you the assurance it's actually there. The solution needs to have a good explorer for administrators. I need to have the flexibility of viewing where I put my data. When it is going to the tape, the tape is totally encrypted. You need to restore it before you know what is inside. It's a big waste of time.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since 2007. It's been well over a decade.

How are customer service and technical support?

When the Micro Focus acquired this product, they changed the way it was supported. Before, when HP was doing it, technical questions were handled by after-sales support. Usually, they would take three days, at the minimum, to get help if you have of any trouble. 

The good thing about Data Protector is that they now have levels of support. They have three levels and you can request it personally. Basically, if the first agent doesn't detect your problem or solve the issue, the customer can take the initiative to say to the agent, "Now, we want to go level two". The agent does not make that call for the customer. 

As of just this year, technical support has really stepped up their game. They've changed. They're amazing.

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

We have had backup solutions before, with another vendor, before we started with this solution in 2007

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is mostly straightforward. An example of a complex installation for me, would be Microsoft Exchange. Micro Focus Data Protector is still a bit of a gray area, but it's easier. It's not modular. You always need to copy the whole SAN in order for you to achieve success.

It's an easy deployment. It's a basic server from the client to the device. It's a little bit of a two-step pattern compared to the Symantec Back Exec deployment, which is the simplest way to install your backup solution. With Data Protector, there are a few additional steps. That said, implementation is easy once you know what you're doing.

The length of time it takes to deploy is approximately 45 minutes for a single server. With clustering, it might take two hours. Now with SAN storage, it might take you a half-day, due to the configuration.

Give me a basic set up, and I can do it within 30 to 45 minutes. I can set the servers up, install the binary, have it detect the media, and then I can deploy the agent and backup any machine.

I don't have the storage inside my server, the storage is connected somewhere else. Connecting the configuration, depending on how I presented the device to the Data Protector, could be 30 minutes to half a day.

For maintenance, ideally, one site should have three engineers. However, in our environment, I am the only backup administrator for five sites. I would say that's understaffed for the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Recently, we've seen a huge improvement in the licensing team. They're now phenomenal.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've also looked at Veem and have downloaded both solutions for free.

What other advice do I have?

We have a service level agreement with Micro Focus.

I cannot say that Data Protector is the perfect tool for my aim. Data Protector is losing to the competition day by day due to the fact that there are so many other features on the market. Data Protector doesn't need to copy their competition, but they at least have to have an offering that's equivalent. Especially now, looking at the console, there's been no money put into updates or UI, especially if you compare it from 2007 until the present day.

The technology itself is proven and it is working fine. 

I have a lot of machines, so I have room to play with the solution. Data Protector is great, however, after using Veem, I can see now where it could be improved. I'd rate it overall seven out of ten. If Data Protector offered a cloud version with better graphical interfaces, plus more analytics and reporting, I'd give it higher marks.

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