Unitrends Review

An easy-to-use solution; lacks clear cloud unification and direction

What is our primary use case?

We used Unitrends for Microsoft Hyper-V Cluster, VMWare ESXi Clusters, physical servers, virtual servers, SQL databases, and Exchange DAGs databases.

How has it helped my organization?

We consolidated down from several disparate backup applications to Unitrends and AvePoint.

What is most valuable?

The daily reports that showed Red, Green, Yellow status for each asset/server/database protected.  Simple and easy to use for daily logging, providing assurance all was well.

What needs improvement?

It seems like Unitrends moved away from enterprise customer engagement and moved more towards the managed service provider market. I'm familiar with that market because I do that type of work on the side. That's great, but that's a whole different market and avenue from the enterprise backup market; how they interact is totally different as well. I don't know what happened, but their customer engagement went completely downhill on their sales side. You just can't do that.

I don't know what happened, but I looked at their cloud product and it just looks like an IaaS implementation of their on-premise product. Cloud products really need to be engineered to be cloud-aware. I haven't looked at it for several months now, but at that time, I wanted it to work out, it just did not seem like it was cloud-aware in terms of being able to have tiered storage and different capabilities that I wanted.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Unitrends since august of 2015. We're still using it for a few things but we are in the process of switching to Rubrik.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

All I can tell you is my friends made fun of me because of how often I had to call technical support.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's not easy to scale it. At some point, it requires a forklift upgrade. So that's not very conducive to scaling well; at least for what we were using it for.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support was awesome. They were very good people to work with and I liked them a lot, but the product needed some work.

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

We used a lot of different solutions before Unitrends. We had so many different solutions that we were using to meet our needs and Unitrends was able to help us bring that down to just Unitrends and DocAve. Before all of that, we were using a combination of Symantec Backup Exec, Dell AppAssure, Dell Quest vRanger, and a little bit of Metalogics — there were just too many. It was painful trying to work with all those. With Unitrends we were able to get down to just Unitrends and AvePoint.

The main reason we left Unitrends to go with Rubrik was due to its lack of a clear cloud unification and direction. For several years I liked the product in terms of their support and willingness to keep it going. It was very cross-platform compatible in the number of things that it could back up — way more than I ever needed. We had bought it in August of 2015 when they were selling it as software; however, they no longer sell it as plain software anymore; unless you're talking about their cloud products. I just felt like it got to the point where the company was no longer responsive.

We told them we were getting ready to evaluate new products and wanted them to submit a plan as we were going to start over with them, but we never heard anything back from them. I blame that on Kaseya (who bought them), which I feel bad about that because I really liked the company. I really liked the people. I really liked the support. I really liked the product. It was the first time I had ever seen a very good reporting system that provided a daily report that some people have called a "Christmas tree" report. Other people have called it a heat map report because it provides a red, green, or yellow indicator for each asset that you're trying to protect. That's why I was so in love with it — that report made my job a lot easier. Before choosing Rubrik, we looked at several other products: Arcserve, Veeam, and several other solutions, we had to weed through hundreds of reports and carefully read through them to determine whether they were successful or not — how much they backed up and so forth.

Whereas with Unitrends, you just got an indicator — red, green, or yellow: green means everything is good; red means you definitely need to look at it; yellow means look at it tomorrow and make sure it's not yellow tomorrow unless you know it's okay for it to be yellow. That was the beauty of Unitrends that I really liked. Cohesity does have that feature, which is a nice thing about Cohesity. Rubrik Compass hopefully will also be included in the future as part of their product. When you're looking at hundreds of backup jobs every morning, and you want to know how they performed, it's too much to try to read dozens if not hundreds of reports and lines. I'd rather see red, green, or yellow.

Rubrik and Unitrends both give you seven days at a view. So whatever day you were looking at, you always had the previous seven days. For that alone, the three products — Rubrik, Cohesity, and Unitrends — were wonderful for my needs. I Almost bought Zerto. I kept begging Zerto to show me their reports and I'd actually almost committed to them. Finally, I got tired of waiting; I then configured the reports on my own and they were awful. Zerto makes a fine product as well, but their reporting is awful. I hate to say it, but that's a big deal for me — daily reports that make sense and are easy to understand and use.

How was the initial setup?

What about the implementation team?

What was our ROI?

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

Unitrends licensing depended on the number of CPUs you had, simple.

It was competitive with other products. I think it was around $1000 a CPU a year. We have about 40 CPUs so It was costing us about $40,000 a year — that was our renewal price. I think the initial price may have been more. We didn't buy their hardware. We built our own and deployed their solution on our hardware, which was a blessing and a curse.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

ArcServe, Veeam, Zerto, BackupExec, vRanger, vmPro, AppAssure, Metalogix.

What other advice do I have?

Buy everything from them. I don't even think you even have a choice anymore. After us and another big client, they told me they did away with the idea of selling their software. They only sell solutions that are their hardware and their software. You can't install it on your own equipment anymore. Also, beware of the forklift upgrades that are required at a certain point.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Unitrends a rating of seven.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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