What is our primary use case?
This solution is our on-premises backup server.
It is connected through a VPN to the Azure Rapid recovery backup, off-site virtual server.
We also use it for disaster recovery. If we were to lose the site or the place were to burn down, we could start up a couple of virtual machines on the Azure platform and have users log in via a terminal server through Azure. From there, they could access the MIS system, file server, and other resources until we were able to establish a rebuild of our infrastructure on the school premises.
The major benefit to our organization is the security of the data that we have. We were assured and reassured that we could recover this vital data if there was a critical failure, whether it be on a hardware server, or on a virtual machine. This became apparent over the last six years, where we've had one or two failures on the SQL Server. We've been able to get it up and running with the help of Quest support within a couple of hours.
How has it helped my organization?
We use the off-site model, where we replicate all of the current data at the end of the day. After we do our roll-up and everything, we replicate across to the Azure Rapid Recovery Server. At any given time, both servers would be in sync in the evening, with all of the data. Whatever we've got on-premises is the same as what we've got off-site.
What is most valuable?
File restoration and also virtual server restoration are paramount and critical to the school. I think that over the past six years, I've had probably two occasions where I had to restore a SQL Server.
It is pretty simple to set up and use.
The ease of use has reduced the administration time involved in our backup and recovery operations. I can sleep easily at night knowing that I've got one of the best solutions in place for the school. How a product is used will differ from one client or customer to another and there's a free choice of backup solutions out there, but some of them can be very complex.
That is something that you don't want to have because, with very complex solutions, you have complex issues happening. With simplistic solutions, they're much easier to run and you don't have to be highly trained to work on them. Conversely, there are some products that you would have to think twice about. Whereas with Quest, after a couple of weeks if you've been working with it all the time, you become good with it. We have reduced our backup and recovery time by between 80% and 90%.
Built-in encryption helps to secure our data as it travels from our on-site server to our off-site backup server.
What needs improvement?
When you do a full backup, all of the memory resources on the server are used, which is something that should be improved. It is an annoyance because I rotate my disks out for full backups, and I do a nightly backup of the incremental ones that have taken place over the day. When I try to complete a full backup, the process normally uses all my memory resources on the server. This is the oldest issue that they've had, which they just haven't resolved yet.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using Quest Rapid Recovery for more than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This product is very stable. I can't recall having an issue but in cases where people do, they have an app built-in to the software to assist with the troubleshooting. It will diagnose everything and then use FTP to send data to their site, where their support staff will pick it up on a server's request number, which is linked to the upload.
From there, they can diagnose it further and see what the problem is. They will in turn work out a solution and fix the problem, which to me, is important with respect to maintaining stability.
I have had a few things go wrong, now and again, but this year, I haven't had any major problems. The problem that I had last year was that I lost the SQL Server, but Quest sorted it out right away.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
If you're a big company then the scalability is quite good. In fact, it is probably one of the best. It depends on how much money you've got to spend. That would be the first thing, especially with the hardware and the data centers.
You could have a third site, which would be a further repository for backups. As it is now, I've got a local site, and storage space on Azure, but if I had another local site where I could use the same repository then it would provide greater redundancy. Instead of having the third site locally, at the same location, it would be somewhere else.
What we've got now is probably the best model for the school. I think a lot of small businesses would probably have the same sort of model that I've got, which is an on-premise server and an off-site server. Depending on their solution, they might have an off-site solution in another location, maybe a few kilometers away from where they are or they might have chosen to use Amazon, or Google, or Azure as the other site to replicate the data to.
Ultimately, I think you have to work out the perfect model for your business, but also, you've got to also think about the costs involved, and you've also got to think about whether it is worth having three sites or just two sites.
This choice depends in part on how important the data is. Normally, the data is very important because that's the most crucial thing for any business. The loss of their data is catastrophic, so to speak. What I've got is on-premises data, with replication that takes place on the Azure site. Plus, on top of that, I've got a nightly backup of the data. I think I've covered every area that I could for the school, and also, the local backup disks that I use are kept in a fire safe. In the unfortunate event that you lost everything, you've still got the backup disk to use for a rebuild, just in case you needed to do one.
I think the problem is that you've got to work out different scenarios. The first scenario would be that you lose the building. What do you do? In this case, you've got your off-site backup, Azure. It will probably take one or two days to get the necessary servers up and running, as virtual machines built on the Azure platform. Then, you've got to get the users. They can be anywhere in the world, remote in through the terminal server, and then they can access the file server or the SQL server or whatever services are available.
Every situation for every business is unique. It depends on what applications you've got and what servers you've got. We are a school but another business might be a pharmaceutical company or it could be an airline. Whatever the business, every company has got to have some solution in place for disaster recovery. That was the model that I decided to follow, and Quest plays an important role in that.
How are customer service and technical support?
On occasions where I have had to restore a server, the support I had from Quest was fantastic. One time, it was a weekend, and I phoned them up in the early hours of the morning. They got a hold of me within half an hour and we got the SQL Server up and running in a couple of hours.
If you do have any issues, they're regularly available to help you through the process of resolving your problems on a daily basis, or even during the evening or after-hours.
That's the kind of support that you get from Quest.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Before this, we only had one server, and then we expanded the infrastructure. This was the first solution that I chose to use. I looked at Backup Exec also, and I just thought, "No."
I've used Backup Exec in the past, and I wasn't too happy with them. I just thought, "Well, there's Quest. Quest used to be with Dell, and now they've left Dell, so they can build up their products".
They can pursue products that they would like to build, including new ones. They are no longer restricted to developing specific ones. This has allowed them to come up with new ideas for their existing products and their customers, and maybe ask their customers what they'd like to see, in cases where they want changes. This allows for enhancements, for example.
Overall, I think that their products are fantastic but the best one for me is the Rapid Recovery backup solution.
In the end, I haven't seen a change from them leaving Dell to working as a separate company. I think that they're probably as good as they were at Dell, but maybe even better. I don't think that it affected them in a negative way.
How was the initial setup?
It's quite easy to deploy the agents and everything on the virtual and hardware servers. You just have to remember a few pointers. One thing that you have to do, if you're performing an upgrade on the cores, is to make sure that you upgrade the off-site repository first. After that, you move to your on-premise server, where you do the update of the core there. You have to work from back to front, starting with the off-site server. Other than that, it is pretty simple.
The deployment did not take very long to complete. Most of the time can be spent if you have an issue with the virtual machine, and you want to get rid of all of its snapshots, then delete it from the vault. That will take a long time to replicate a base image of, for example, a SQL Server. That takes a couple of days, but it's down to the VPN as well, because of the bandwidth consumption. This is an issue that I have become accustomed to and I don't have too many problems with that side of things. You get what you pay for.
What about the implementation team?
The installation and initial setup on the server were completed by Quest.
What was our ROI?
It's proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's worth its weight in gold from a software point of view.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Part of the cost of this solution is cloud storage. Azure is quite expensive, but I think that would be the case on any platform, such as Google. I think they probably cost the same per terabyte because it is billed according to how much compute time you use on their platform.
I don't think the licensing for the product is very expensive. That said, to be honest, I don't think you should put money down to how important it is to keep your data secure. There shouldn't be a cost involved in the decision because if you start thinking about costs, it might be to the detriment of your business. I think that you pay for what you get, and if you want to keep your data secure, you need to first think that money shouldn't be an object when it comes to the security of your data.
It was very important that duplication, replication, and virtual standby were available without having to pay extra for these features. Deduplication is critical because it reduces the size of the repository and if you didn't have that, your repository would continue to grow and the cost outlay for storage would be more expensive. You would probably use double or triple the amount of storage that you would like to have if you didn't have deduplication and compression on the data.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
There were other products that I did look at, but I thought Quest was probably the best by far. For instance, there was Veeam and VMware that I considered. I just thought that the Quest product was probably the best for the school's situation.
I looked at the products from a support point of view and the hardware structure, and I thought that the Rapid Recovery product was most simplistic. It is easier for IT-savvy people to use it and the support is very good.
What other advice do I have?
I have not yet used the synthetic incremental backup feature but I know that it is available.
With respect to how the product should change in the future, I'm pretty happy with the way that they are investing time and effort in their product. I suppose the model that they've got works for their company and also for their customers, so I think trying to make major changes to the software might not turn out too well. I think companies or IT managers or IT staff, in general, would prefer that the software not change very much.
I can recommend it to other people in the circumstances that I've got. We are just a small school, but the most important thing is that the school's data is protected. Quest does that for us. Overall, I'm very happy with Quest's software.
I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.