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Altaro VM Backup OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Altaro VM Backup is #12 ranked solution in top Disaster Recovery Software and #25 ranked solution in best Backup and Recovery Software. IT Central Station users give Altaro VM Backup an average rating of 10 out of 10. Altaro VM Backup is most commonly compared to Veeam Backup & Replication:Altaro VM Backup vs Veeam Backup & Replication. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is Altaro VM Backup?

Altaro VM Backup is a high performance VM backup  and replication solution to back up and restore both Hyper-V and VMware-based virtual machines.

Eliminate hassle and headaches with an easy-to-use interface, straightforward setup and reassurance that this solution gets the job done every time.

Altaro VM Backup is intuitive and feature-rich, with outstanding support as part of the package.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Backup and Recovery Software Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Altaro VM Backup Customers

Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Amazon, Harvard University, MIT, Peugeot, Xerox

Altaro VM Backup Video

Archived Altaro VM Backup Reviews (more than two years old)

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Martin Timmerman
Professor / Dedicated Systems Expert at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Real User
Features are fantastic and the management from Microsoft dealing with multiple machines is great

Pros and Cons

  • "All of the features are fantastic and also the management from Microsoft dealing with multiple machines is great. The whole package is excellent for me."
  • "If you look into the performance of a virtual machine and you look to the performance of the physical machine, the correlation between these is totally unclear."

What is most valuable?

It's a bare-metal solution, that's number one. I use it in my teachings for my students. I oblige them to use it on Windows 10 Pro Edition. I'm using it myself on the surface. All of the features are fantastic and also the management from Microsoft dealing with multiple machines is great. The whole package is excellent for me. 

What needs improvement?

For the time being, I don't see any improvements that they can incorporate. Microsoft is improving every generation with more hardware assistance from the processors which is good.

At the University here we did a very detailed study and comparison of two other solutions and Altaro came out on top. Even better than VMware but perhaps a little less better than the Lennox solution when it comes to performance. The papers are publicly available concerning this comparison. We are quite happy with how it evolves with the next generation of machinery yes.

There are other products of Microsoft you can use to monitor everything, the whole set, the management module. 

The pricing of that problem is quite high but okay.

If you look into the performance of a virtual machine and you look to the performance of the physical machine, the correlation between these is totally unclear. The physical machine says I'm using ten percent of our processor power and as you go to the virtual machine it says I'm using fifty percent or sixty percent processor power. The correlation between the two is totally unclear. That's a technical issue, which I asked a student to dig into the details and figure out what the relation is. That's the only point I have for the time being.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have been using this for the last ten years and haven't encountered stability problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't needed to contact their technical support. 

How was the initial setup?

My students don't have any problems deploying this solution. There are students who aren't so smart so if they can do it, it's a simple installation.

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

I think the pricing is okay. The data center edition, for example, is a good price for your machines. I don't see a problem with the pricing.

What other advice do I have?

I'm extremely happy with this solution. It's a complete solution. I would give it a ten out of ten.

My advice to someone considering this solution is to play around. This is what I ask my students to do, and they play around on Hyper-V on the Windows 10 Pro Edition. It doesn't have all of the features but it's the best that you can get. That's my advice, you don't have to buy anything. You have Windows 10 Pro Edition and you can experiment with Hyper-V on your machine or notebook.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
OS
Infrastructure Solution Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Enables you to control replication, live migration, and incremental disaster recovery but the replication time between virtual machines is slow

Pros and Cons

  • "The product has many valuable features for handling backup needs, including replication, live migration, and incremental disaster recovery."
  • "Replication is not fast, the GUI could be more user-friendly, and technical support is lacking in Iran."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is for managing backup tasks such as replication, migration and disaster recovery.

What is most valuable?

In Hyper-V, I think there are many valuable features. Replication between the different hosts, high availability, live migration — where I can migrate between one host to another — as well as incremental disaster recovery, are very good. These solutions are based on Hyper-V in two distinct geographic sites. But my interest in this feature is that I implement it in the VMware infrastructure because the rest of my infrastructure is based on the VMware.

What needs improvement?

I implement the solution based on VMware and Hyper-V. I think some of the features that either of these companies are providing should be better. As an example, the replication time between virtual machines is slow. It really depends on network latency. In addition to this, I think the GUI to manage the view of the control panel of the virtual machine is not very user-friendly. It could be improved as well.

It would be very helpful if local technical support could be improved. Because of sanctions we do not have direct access to Microsoft support services. There should be another way to offer support services either within the country or other means.

One last thing that would be helpful is to focus on the migration of the on-premises services to the cloud — something such as Azure, AWS. For this, it would be necessary for the manufacturer to provide a different user interface to be compatible with Amazon or Azure services.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have experience with this product for more than six years.

How are customer service and technical support?

Unfortunately, due to the sanctions in my country (Iran), I can't access the Microsoft support team. By doing this type of work, experts here have to learn the products intimately. Our organization provides solutions for state or public organizations and we also provide support for them. As an example, I'm engaged in supporting and maintaining services for customer's bank services infrastructure as a level three expert. If I have any problems, I try to connect to different forums and knowledge bases because of sanctions. We can't access the technical support from Microsoft organization. Technical support for my country should be improved.

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

I have used both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V. They are very similar to each other and there is almost no difference when you use them often. When I am working for different clients or at different jobs I will use the tools that are there. 

In our country, because of sanctions, we can not access the public cloud provider. Therefore, and to keep within regulations, we have to provide backup solutions on-premises. We implement VM Backup and HP Data Protector backup in the bank data center. Because of this, I only have experience with VM Backup solution on-premises.

How was the initial setup?

There is no problem in implementing and maintaining VMware or the Hyper-V infrastructure. I have experience with both and because of this experience, I think it is not very difficult for me to do the deployments and setup. It may not be so easy for everyone because it is very important to have a good understanding of the implementation options.

What about the implementation team?

We did not need to consult with an integrator or technical support for the implementation because it was very easy to do.

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

Many countries that are faced with sanctions, the price of products is a very big problem because most of the companies don't have big budgets. They end up having to use different solutions than they would prefer. With our customers such as banks and financial institutions, there are usually no budget problems and they provide us enough finances to buy proper licensing.

VMware is more than Hyper-V. Hyper-V is a good price in comparison with VMware or other virtualization solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated many solutions but I am really working with solutions that work for my clients and make sense for a particular application.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten when one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Hyper-V as a seven. It is not the best but it is good.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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AS
Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
An easy to use solution with an excellent user interface and an easy setup

What is most valuable?

The ease of use of the solution is its most valuable feature. The interface is also excellent.

What needs improvement?

The scalability of the solution is limited. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable but only scalable to a certain level. If it's for a high-end enterprise, you will have trouble.  If you have seven servers or more and then you'll probably struggle a bit. Right now, we have 500-600 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is excellent. I'd give it a rating of nine out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward.

What other advice

What is most valuable?

The ease of use of the solution is its most valuable feature. The interface is also excellent.

What needs improvement?

The scalability of the solution is limited. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable but only scalable to a certain level. If it's for a high-end enterprise, you will have trouble.  If you have seven servers or more and then you'll probably struggle a bit. Right now, we have 500-600 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support for this solution is excellent. I'd give it a rating of nine out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

We use both the cloud and on-premises deployment models. We're a reseller of the solution.

I'd definitely recommend the product. I'd rate it nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ari-Greenbaum
IT Manager at Yad Sarah
Real User
A stable solution for virtualization and duplication

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for virtualization and duplication.

What needs improvement?

The Disaster and Recovery features, as well as the Cloning Technology, can be improved. I would like more cloud integration with disaster recovery.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable and we have one thousand users. We don't plan to increase our usage of this product.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used the technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was complex, and I was not…

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is for virtualization and duplication.

What needs improvement?

The Disaster and Recovery features, as well as the Cloning Technology, can be improved.

I would like more cloud integration with disaster recovery.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for twenty years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable and we have one thousand users.

We don't plan to increase our usage of this product.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used the technical support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was complex, and I was not able to do the set up myself.

I didn't deploy the solution, so I don't know how long it took.

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

The pricing is okay. I don't know the exact cost.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this solution, although I have encountered some complexities with it.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Albeez
IT Director at DAR AL ARKAN
Real User
Top 10
The intuitive interface allows you to set up and perform backups and restores easily

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was simple and easy. Anyone without prior experience can install, configure, and use it."
  • "The intuitive interface allows you to set up and perform backups and restores easily."
  • "Reverse Delta is Altaro proprietary backup deduplication technology. With Reverse Delta, the latest version of a file is always made available in its entirety, not as a delta file."
  • "Availability of physical server backup would be an added advantage."
  • "Migrating the physical through a backup and restore to a virtual environment would be very helpful."

What is our primary use case?

We implemented virtualization to minimize the physical infrastructure which leads to higher CAPEX and OPEX. When we moved to a virtual environment, we had issues with our existing backup software from a popular brand and required additional investment, which was much higher. We have used Altaro Backup to use Hyper-V instances as backup and replicate them to offsite and DR locations periodically through the IP VPN/MPLS connectivity.

How has it helped my organization?

Altaro offers two VMs at no cost. This has helped us to eliminate the implementation of expensive backup solutions at remote offices, which had two instances. The free version is in no way inferior to the paid version and had all the features of expensive backup solutions, including secure encryption. From installation to backup and recovery, it is very simple with a user-friendly user interface (UI). 

What is most valuable?

Key features:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Built for virtual environments
  • Multi-hypervisor support (Hyper-V and VMware)
  • Offsite backups boosted by WAN acceleration
  • File and Exchange item level restore
  • Backup live VMs with no downtime
  • MS VSS Integration
  • Cluster shared volumes aware scheduling
  • Restore to different Hyper-V host or clones
  • Central management console
  • Compression and encryption
  • Supports WS2008 R2, WS2012 and WS2012 R2
  • Supports ESXi, vSphere, and vCenter 

Reverse Delta is Altaro proprietary backup deduplication technology. With Reverse Delta, the latest version of a file is always made available in its entirety, not as a delta file. This means that if you require the latest version of a file, it is possible to access it directly from your backup drive without having to rebuild the file from delta files. The delta files are only used if you want to build a previous version of the file; building one delta file at a time for each version as you travel back in time in the reverse direction. 

This works for both Hyper-V and VMware.

What needs improvement?

Availability of physical server backup would be an added advantage.

Migrating the physical through a backup and restore to a virtual environment would also be very helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?


What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is good.

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

The previous backup solution was licensed for physical environment and upgrading to virtual required an additional higher investment.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple and easy. Anyone without prior experience can install, configure, and use it.

https://www.altaro.com/hyper-v...

What about the implementation team?

We implemented with an in-house resource

What was our ROI?

By implementing the solution at multiple locations, significant cost savings were achieved and it also addressed compliance requirements.

https://www.provirtualzone.com...

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

Altaro VM Backup is affordably priced. It is a best value for its price and has almost every feature that an expensive, popular product offers.

https://www.altaro.com/vm-back...

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Symantec, Veritas, and Veeam.

Before finalizing with any other solution, it is better to evaluate the trial version of Altaro, see the results, and proceed (as the TCO is lower and ROI is much higher).

;list=PLWZ2FNFsZjxUq0nmk0L881c3N7MoSnyUF

What other advice do I have?

Altaro VM Backup is a hassle-free virtual machine backup software solution for Hyper-V and VMware. The intuitive interface allows you to set up and perform backups and restores easily.

https://www.altaro.com/resourc...

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Technical Engineer at Agile Technical Solutions
Real User
Granular Restore enables us to recover accidentally deleted files and emails

Pros and Cons

  • "We frequently use the granular restore option for when our users accidentally delete files or to recover emails from mailboxes. We have found that to be a must-have feature and it comes with the solution at no extra cost."
  • "We use the latest feature in Altaro called CDP (Continuous Data Protection) to back up our VMs as often as every five minutes. It allows us to make sure no data is accidentally deleted or overwritten."
  • "The ability to test the backups without having to manually mount the VHDs after restore allows us to check the integrity of the backups."
  • "It would be nice to see a feature that backs up the host so that, in case of a server failure, an entire server could be restored all at once."

What is our primary use case?

We use Altaro to back up nine VMs across two hosts.

How has it helped my organization?

Since moving to Altaro, we feel that backing up and restoring files has become much more efficient in our organization.

Having done disaster recovery plans with Altaro, we feel confident that our organization will be able to get back up and running in half the time, compared to our previous solution.

What is most valuable?

We frequently use the Granular Restore option for when our users accidentally delete files or to recover emails from mailboxes. We have found that to be a must-have feature and it comes with the solution at no extra cost.

We use the latest feature in Altaro called CDP (Continuous Data Protection) to back up our VMs as often as every five minutes. It allows us to make sure no data is accidentally deleted or overwritten.

The ability to test the backups, without having to manually mount the VHDs after restore, allows us to check the integrity of the backups. This is crucial for us.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to see a feature that backs up the host so that, in case of a server failure, an entire server could be restored all at once.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TO
Product Manager - Backup & Utilities at NovaStar Software & Consulting GmbH
Reseller
Offsite capability mitigates ransomware attack risk. Also, Cloud Management Console allows monitoring from around the world

What is our primary use case?

We have been using Altaro VM Backup for our Hyper-V cluster since 2015 and are quite happy with it. Our cluster consists of four Hyper-V Hosts.

How has it helped my organization?

Altaro reduced the time we needed for managing our backups. Especially significant is the Cloud Management Console, which solved many issues we had with prior products. Also, the software minimizes the workload for the administrators due to its ease of use.

What is most valuable?

We use Altaro with onsite and offsite features, so even during ransomware attacks we never were at risk as daily backups weren't connected to the local network. The Cloud Management Console is very helpful as we can manage and check our backups from around the world. Just last week, Altaro added some new features like continuous data protection, which will be the next feature we test.

What needs improvement?

Missing features at the moment are Linux file-level restore, backup from physical machines, German localized version, and probably full tape support (RDX is supported but there is no "real tape" support).

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
it_user735210
Owner at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Easy to install and use, enables offsite and onsite copy and deduplication

What is our primary use case?

Altaro VM Backup helps me garanty a efficiant backup policy for my VM's : 

1. Backup VM in the local store of the Hyperviser, several times a day, for short retention and fast restore time

2. Remote backup on a HA NAS storage, for longer retention. If needed, this Nas could be use to restore VM or files on another Hyperviser

3. Automatic VM restore and consitancy tests

I must garanty fast recovery of a VM or files inside a VM

How has it helped my organization?

Altaro helps us by the simplicity of the implementation of the backup policy.

It took only several hours to find, test and implement the solution.

Furthermore, this  solution doesn't need to spend several hours a day to manage the backup policy. If someting wen't wong, you are immediately notified.

Additionnal to that technical considerations, the Altaro's support is quick to answer , it's also an important point for us.

What is most valuable?

Easy to use and to emplement
Offsite – onsite copy
Deduplication
Automatic restore and consistance tests
VMWare and MS are both supported
Boot a backuped VM directly 

What needs improvement?

Restore file level directly inside a VM.

Storage usage : you have often to manualy free disks spaces 



For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes a few, but we got quick help from support.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

Nine out of 10.

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

No, not for VM.

How was the initial setup?

Super straightforward, it was very easy and efficient.

What about the implementation team?

I did it by me own , and I became a vendor because I'm really conviced by the product

What was our ROI?

It's difficult to estimate an ROI for a backup solution. But on my point of view, this product is not expensive, does the job what I bought it for, and he's no time consuming 

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

An easy licensing model, plus pricing is not too expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Veeam, but it was too complex for what I needed.

What other advice do I have?

Try it. It’s easy to install and manage its performance.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I’m a partner but first was a customer. As I was convinced by the product, I became a Partner.
it_user722259
Information Technologies and Security Specialist at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Automated live Hyper-V backups of full VMs and accelerated our physical to virtual conversion,

Pros and Cons

  • "Excellent compression and deduplication with off-site WAN backup included."
  • "Backup speed and comparisons between versions used to be slow on big VMs but that was improved greatly later on."

What is most valuable?

  • Automated live Hyper-V backups of full VMs.
  • Excellent compression and deduplication with off-site WAN backup included.
  • Retention policies and reporting included.
  • Granular file-level restore and Exchange restore.
  • Automated validation of backed up VMs.
  • Central management possible.

How has it helped my organization?

Accelerated our physical to virtual conversion. It gave us the reliability the business demanded, without investing in expensive software and upgrading the network/storage back end. Allowed application isolation that drastically improved RTOs and RPOs. And enabled our IT staff to easily manage all our virtual backups and restoration with little to no training.

What needs improvement?

Moving VMs between non-clustered hosts which both have Altaro backup running will not update their inventories automatically, at least in the latest version I used.

Backup speed and comparisons between versions used to be slow on big VMs but that was improved greatly later on.

For how long have I used the solution?

Four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In earlier versions (v3/4) the UI made it somewhat difficult to get the right overview at times.

How are customer service and technical support?

Fantastic support crew, always ready to give sound advice on setups. They actually listen to complaints/feature requests, and implements them. Great blogs as well with lots of technical information.

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

At that time, automated backups for Hyper-V were not in great supply. Veeam was too bloated and required a lot of work to test and deploy.

How was the initial setup?

Easy to deploy, very smooth setup, no overhead caused by common integration hurdles. Great choices of backup destinations. Up and running in 10 to 15 minutes.

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

No other product offers these features for this price. The ROI is great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As noted above, at that time, automated backups for Hyper-V were not in great supply. Veeam was too bloated and required a lot of work to test and deploy.

What other advice do I have?

Try it! You will not be disappointed.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Manager
Real User
Valuable features include quick recovery, compression, and deduplication

Pros and Cons

  • "Valuable features for us include quick recovery, compression, and deduplication."
  • "The cloud backup and VMware support (now available in the latest releases), could do with some improvement."

What is most valuable?

Valuable features for us include quick recovery, compression, and deduplication. The mix of these features leads to a reduced backup footprint while having guaranteed fast recovery in case of DR.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us with easy deployment of backed up test systems and site recovery in case of general power and connection failures.

What needs improvement?

The cloud backup and VMware support (now available in the latest releases), could do with some improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for over two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with stability. It is always running.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability regarding any situation of environment changes while using Hyper-V.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't often used the technical support as it was not needed. When we did need it, we received a prompt response to our request.

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

Due to poor support for Hyper-V solutions, we searched for an alternative to the previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward and without issues on all hosts where it was deployed.

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

There is a free version for two VMs. I would advise to study the deployment environment well, prior to committing to order a license per host.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Veeam Software, HPE VM Explorer, Backup Exec, and Trilead.

What other advice do I have?

Test multiple solutions for at least two weeks, validate DR scenarios, and the storage required for each solution and scalability.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Support Consultant
Vendor
VM backup and the item level recovery are the most valuable features

Pros and Cons

  • "VM backup and the item level recovery are the most valuable features."
  • "It would be nice to be able to recover the items to their original location."

What is most valuable?

VM backup and the item level recovery are the most valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

They are fast to restore in an emergency.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to be able to recover the items to their original location.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since it was first released.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometimes, due to disk space and VSS, we have experienced stability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good, i.e., if you keep up the maintenance agreement.

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

Previously, we were using the Veritas Backup Exec. However, we haven't used it since 2012.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very easy, i.e., a step-by-step process.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Veritas Backup Exec.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have enough disk space, especially if you use replication. Also, as the two have managed to butt heads on occasion, causing VMs to be put into a paused state due to snapshots that haven't merged. It can then be a timely job to shut the machines down and merge them back in.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Elite Partners.
ITCS user
IT Support Engineer at a tech company
Real User
I could create VM backups from live machines without issues.

What is most valuable?

Simplicity and reliability. I had some difficulties activating the product but after the activation phase all went smooth.

How has it helped my organization?

I could create VM backups from live machines without any issues. The restore process also was very quick.

What needs improvement?

I have tested version 5 only. However I would like to see the addition of a VM converter from another solution (VMware) and a P2V capability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for two to three months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no performance issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

What is most valuable?

Simplicity and reliability. I had some difficulties activating the product but after the activation phase all went smooth.

How has it helped my organization?

I could create VM backups from live machines without any issues. The restore process also was very quick.

What needs improvement?

I have tested version 5 only. However I would like to see the addition of a VM converter from another solution (VMware) and a P2V capability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for two to three months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have had no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no performance issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's been able to scale for our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent customer support. I only needed assistance during the activation process.

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

I have only used the traditional Windows Server Backup tool and the Hyper-V export procedure.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented through an in-house team.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
CEO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Easy restore for entire virtual machine files.

What is most valuable?

  • Great backup features for all my Hyper V machines.
  • Excellent for offsite backup as an add on function
  • Easy restore for entire virtual machine files and sandbox option
  • Well priced
  • Excellent support and team behind this product

How has it helped my organization?

  • Easy of use backup
  • Fully functional multiple locations of backup

What needs improvement?

I want continuous Exchange backup, as this product allows you to revert the Exchange data to almost any custom point in time as it backs up exchange servers as soon as the transactional logs are closed. However I just add hourly backup to Altaro for Exchange servers.

I need to be able to restore emails to Exchange Live not just to a PST. This is a major drawback as I want to be able to restore individual items or mailboxes directly into my live Exchange databases so the user can see the email right away. I was able to do this with Backup Exec years ago (before I used Hyper V). For example, I had to restore a user’s contact I first restored the contacts to a PST file then imported the pst into outlook.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good

Technical Support:

Great

How was the initial setup?

Very Good

What other advice do I have?

Wait for the new version 7 the beta that im testing is very quick

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
it_user542493
IT Manager at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Restoring and stability areas have room for improvement.

What is most valuable?

Shiny and new looking.  All backup features look nice.  Ability to restore to any host.  File level restore on FPS and Exchange. There is a free version for Hosts with 2 VMs.

How has it helped my organization?

None!

What needs improvement?

Restoring. Stability.

For how long have I used the solution?

6 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No. Easy deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, Service had many issues and had to reboot host to resolve on multiple occasions. Unable to restore a VM when I needed it. Tried multiple hosts. Connected via gig switch and would never complete. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

Which solution did I use

What is most valuable?

  • Shiny and new looking. 
  • All backup features look nice. 
  • Ability to restore to any host. 
  • File level restore on FPS and Exchange.
  • There is a free version for Hosts with 2 VMs.

How has it helped my organization?

None!

What needs improvement?

  • Restoring.
  • Stability.

For how long have I used the solution?

6 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No. Easy deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, Service had many issues and had to reboot host to resolve on multiple occasions.

Unable to restore a VM when I needed it. Tried multiple hosts. Connected via gig switch and would never complete. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

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

HP Live Vault (Iron Mountain).

How was the initial setup?

Easy setup.

What was our ROI?

Many lost hours when restorations fail.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Support technician at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Backups are much easier to manage, using a drag and drop interface for a lot of the features.

Valuable Features:

Generally, the entire program is brilliant, and there isn't any one feature that I can pick out. However, I'd always recommend using the Altaro offsite backup server as this works brilliantly.

Improvements to My Organization:

Backups are much easier to manage, using a drag and drop interface for a lot of the features.

Room for Improvement:

The only issue at the moment is a lack of throttling. Our backups tend to take most of the day, and whilst it handles VSS backups very well, you do notice a performance hit because it's using all reads on the disk or transferring at maximum bandwidth.

Deployment Issues:

We have had no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues:

There have been no performance issues.

Scalability Issues:

It's been able to scale for our needs.

Other Advice:

The wide range of changes that you can make are very good. However, timings of the backups take quite a while however this is to be resolved with the CBT feature that they're rolling out in the coming months. It would however be nice to throttle bandwidth/ disk activity during set periods of times. They offer a free license for two VMs or less. A lot of features are disabled, but give it a go and like it, purchase it.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners
ITCS user
Senior Systems Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It provides most of the enterprise class features with the ability to store your data in the cloud, however it has no support for tape drive backup.
Altaro Hyper-V backup solution is best suitable for an SMB and it provides most of the enterprise class features with the ability to store your data on cloud. It also provides an offsite backup for a DR purpose with the help of it’s built in Wan-Acceleration. When we look at the restoration methods it has two type such as a Full VM restore or a granular file restore. Again the granular recovery will let you restore a single file from a VM or a single item recovery from your Exchange mailbox. File Level Restore Scanning Exchange EDB files from VM for restoreExchange Single item restoreBrowsing a VM for file level restoreExchange Single item restore Altaro – Retension Policy Altaro Hyper-V backup also offers ReverseDelta feature for taking backup – By using ReverseDelta technology,…

Altaro Hyper-V backup solution is best suitable for an SMB and it provides most of the enterprise class features with the ability to store your data on cloud. It also provides an offsite backup for a DR purpose with the help of it’s built in Wan-Acceleration.

When we look at the restoration methods it has two type such as a Full VM restore or a granular file restore. Again the granular recovery will let you restore a single file from a VM or a single item recovery from your Exchange mailbox.

File Level Restore
Scanning Exchange EDB files from VM for restore
Exchange Single item restore
Browsing a VM for file level restore

Exchange Single item restore

Altaro – Retension Policy

Altaro Hyper-V backup also offers ReverseDelta feature for taking backup – By using ReverseDelta technology, multiple backup versions will require less space on your backup drive as it only save the changes between each version of a changed file.

For data integrity Altaro Hyper-V backup has a feature called Sandbox restore where it will do a a VM data integrity test by restoring the VMs to an isolated storage and this task can be scheduled too. It also has a feature called Boot from backup drive – This will let you boot from a VM that you already have backed up but there is a limitation that this feature will support only for the VMs that not compressed and encrypted.

Altaro – Sandbox Restore
Altaro – Sandbox Restore from available VM backup
Altaro – VM Boot From Backup
It support multiple version of Microsoft OS support you can check it here and understand it’s compatibility. Read more

Altaro Editions – Comparision
Advantages of Altaro Hyper-V backup

1. Quick and easy to setup.
2. Nice dashboards for monitoring your backup.
3. Requires less space for retaining multiple backup sets.
4. Sandbox restore – Automated VM restore after backup for testing purpose. That boosts confidence in backup.
5. Central Management Console
6. Competitive pricing when compared to other enterprise class solutions.
7. VM Compression & Encryption.

Conclusion

Altaro Hyper-v backup is not pricey and provides great features to secure your production data on Microsoft Hyper-V clusters. Another plus of this application is, it provides an offsite backup as a DR over a WAN/Internet connection and this will enable your DR without spending much. However it has No support for Tape Drive backup – So no Disk-to-tape backup is possible. Tape backup is still an unavoidable in Data Centers as the tape backup copies are considered and used as an offsite copy because tape backups have a proven longevity of 30 years.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user229812
Senior System/Package Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
​The setup is very easy but it would be good if they would expand to allow non-Hyper-V servers to be backed up.

What is most valuable?

The great features are

  • The possibility to backup Linux machines online
  • Off-site backup
  • Fire drills
  • File level restore

How has it helped my organization?

It provides us with a better backup and restore solution for our Hyper-V environment.

What needs improvement?

It would be good to if they would expand the functionality to be able to backup normal servers without Hyper-V.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for around two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the beginning there were issues, but that was related to the storage network.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It's great, the support is good and very fast in providing responses to queries.

Technical Support:

it's excellent.

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

We previously used Data Protection Manager (DPM), but it lacked the ability to backup Linux VM's without going into saved state so we switched.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is very easy.

What about the implementation team?

I did it myself in-house.

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

The original setup took me around a day during normal production hours, so no extra costs in terms of overtime etc. Day-to-day costs are really low as there is not much work needed as long as it runs. You just have to review the daily report and add a VM if needed.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We previously used DPM then went straight onto Altaro.

What other advice do I have?

Give it a try as it's very easy to setup and works like charm. Also, the pricing model is very good.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user229773
Senior Support Consultant with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It could be improved by including support for REFS files system, however, DR time has been massively reduced.

What is most valuable?

  • Item level restore
  • Offsite copies

How has it helped my organization?

It provides much faster restoration of VMs.

What needs improvement?

It could be improved by including support for REFS files system and restoring brick level items directly into Exchange as opposed to a PST file.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used it since it was first released so it's been a few years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Sometime there are stability issues with older kit, for example, it can take a long time to compress the primary backup.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

8/10.

Technical Support:

8/10.

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

We used Symantec Backup Exec but it wasn't up to the job for virtual servers so we switched.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward as you just run a small download and the program is really to go.

What about the implementation team?

We're an Altaro reseller so we buy it in-house and then deploy it for our customers.

What was our ROI?

  • High as the product is considerably cheaper than the time it would take to restore servers an old fashion way
  • DR time has been massively reduced.

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

We use VMWare in-house, but the setup cost is our price plus around an hour to configure it, depending on how many off-site host locations there are.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

  • Make sure you have the relevant expansion/space for growing VMS and VSS
  • If there is not enough free disk space for VSS to run you will get crash consistent state backups
  • Enable shadow copy (previous versions) restore on files servers if using REFS files system as its not supported

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an Elite Reseller & we have half a dozen certified Altaro Engineers (including myself)
it_user229716
System Architect (Contract) at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
There are a few missing features, but taking the full picture into account I consider those minor.
Backups can be a tough topic to get excited about. In a forward-looking technology field even needing to utilize your backup platform is generally a sign that something went wrong. As a result I haven't delved into the topic of backups for awhile. I'm taking a break from that dry spell to examine a Hyper-V backup solution, Altaro Hyper-V Backup. Being that my local lab is Hyper-V based, I was able to take Altaro through its paces without impacting a production environment; something affording me the freedom to explore most of the features. Speaking of features (that's a $2 segue) let's examine the high level features offered by Altaro Support for backup of Hyper-V virtual machines Fully Hypervisor/VSS-based, meaning no worries regarding open files or system state…

Backups can be a tough topic to get excited about. In a forward-looking technology field even needing to utilize your backup platform is generally a sign that something went wrong. As a result I haven't delved into the topic of backups for awhile. I'm taking a break from that dry spell to examine a Hyper-V backup solution, Altaro Hyper-V Backup.

Being that my local lab is Hyper-V based, I was able to take Altaro through its paces without impacting a production environment; something affording me the freedom to explore most of the features. Speaking of features (that's a $2 segue) let's examine the high level features offered by Altaro:

  • Support for backup of Hyper-V virtual machines
  • Fully Hypervisor/VSS-based, meaning no worries regarding open files or system state
  • Straightforward GUI-Driven backup schedule and retention policies
  • Offsite replication to another Altaro target (no additional license required) on a defined schedule, honoring retention policies
  • Seeding to offsite location using physical disk if desired
  • Agentless
  • Granular Restore:
    • File System Level
    • Exchange Items
  • "Sandbox" Restore for testing backup images
    • Automated sandbox scheduling
  • Cluster Shared Volume support
  • Boot directly from backup for testing, etc.
  • E-Mail based alerting

Taking the target market (more on that below) into consideration I will set my priorities as follows (in order of importance):

  • Reliability/General Quality
  • Labor investment to set up and maintain
  • Alerting Effectiveness (Not too noisy, alerting when necessary)
  • Cost
  • Basic Features (Granular Restore, etc.)
  • Advanced Features (VM Sandbox Restore, etc.)

Having spent over half my career in consulting I've been fortunate to see all sorts of environments. In my experience the main constraint for companies targeted by Altaro is usually time (labor) and potentially cost. That coupled with a predominant and understandable lack of enthusiasm for backup solutions makes the ease of setup and management crucial to ensure successful backups.

Target Market

Altaro Hyper-V backup supports Hyper-V servers and is likely most applicable at small to medium size businesses. Traditional backups of physical servers are not supported, which makes sense given the market gap Altaro aims to fill. The pricing is very competitive (more below) and comes in three versions: Free, Standard, and Unlimited.

This isn't to say the product may not be applicable in a larger enterprise, but the tools aren't geared to manage a huge number of servers and most enterprises are not exclusively utilizing Hyper-V for their virtualization needs. This review is written with this in mind. As with all things in IT you're looking for the right tool for the job.

Test Systems

I've tested this product in my lab on two Hyper-V hosts, one 2012 R2 Storage Server (with Hyper-V) and one 2012 Core Hyper-V host. While storage server isn't on the Altaro list of supported platforms I experienced no problems with it. Collectively this environment has 16 threads, 64GB RAM, and 12TB of various storage. There are 14 VMs eligible for backup including different Windows versions and two flavors of Linux. For test purposes my offsite backup target was an IaaS VM hosted in Windows Azure (Note: due to cost I do not recommend using Azure IaaS as a backup target in production).

Disclosures/Scoring

When reviewing I feel that full disclosure is critical to maintaining journalistic integrity. Altaro contacted me and asked if I would review their software; in the market myself for lab backup software I agreed to assess it. They provided me with a license to perform the appropriate testing. I did not accept any payment for this article and as always my opinions are my own.

I use a two-axes scoring square similar in design and function to the Gartner "Magic Quadrant". I use this when the testing is subjective and the target market of the product is not universal. This allows me to attempt to assess quality in two ways:

  • Implementation Quality: The quality of the features discussed in this section, but not relevant to the quantity or specific functionality of the features.
  • Feature Set: The quantity and specific functionality of the features discussed in this section, but not relevant to the quality.

Higher on the scale indicates better fit and finish, stability, and general quality. Farther right on the scale indicates a more extensive and useful feature set. The best position would be the top right and the worst the bottom left. It is possible that a given piece of software may have great features but is very buggy, few features but very stable, etc. I believe this scoring methodology allows me to communicate the overall software quality more effectively.

In some cases I will eliminate an axis from scoring if the category warrants it. In this review, "cost" is the only single axis score.

Installation/Basic Configuration

Installation couldn't be much more straightforward; the installer even works on server core. There are no special service account requirements; since the agent runs on each Hyper-V host it utilizes the built-in "SYSTEM" principal. Normally I wouldn't care for the use of the admin-equivalent SYSTEM principal, but since this is backup software there isn't much wiggle room access wise.

After installation on each Hyper-V host you will want to create a centralized management console if you have more than one host. This can be done on a management workstation if you desire; just install the free version on your workstation. After installation, connect to the local agent and select "Central Management Console" from the left pane and click "yes" when asked if you would like to create a shortcut.

From henceforth you can use the central console if desired.

Assuming your firewall rules were created and enabled you should be able to click "Add Agent to Group" to add each host. If you have multiple sites make sure you create appropriate groups for each and then add agents as appropriate.

Now you can connect to and manage each host in your environment from a central location. Note that you will need to launch a console for each host, but in a small/med environment this should be acceptable as setup is a one-time occurrence per host. For each host you can now configure the following:

  • VMs to backup
  • Primary backup location
  • Backup schedules and retention
  • Offsite backup target (see install note below)
  • Notification
  • Encryption key

Offsite install note: Altaro also provides a WAN target only client that does not count towards your license. Installation is simple; just click through, create a user account for your servers, and open firewall ports as necessary. The software is available here.

When configuring the encryption key, make sure you do so right away as doing so later will invalidate your previous backups; there is no support for rotating and retaining encryption keys, but based on the design that is a good thing (see below as to why). After that you'll want to finish up by specifying your base schedules and retention as well as notifications and offsite details.

Now let's address the review categories:

Reliability/General Quality

As stated, this is the most critical point for backup software. If it were buggy and didn't work consistently it wouldn't be worth using. I used the software for just over a month, performing onsite and offsite backups regularly, restoring full VMs and more granular items, and changing settings to exercise the software. Backup targets ranged from local disk through UNC paths and on to attached, dedicated storage. During that month I did not encounter any issues that concerned me. There were a couple very minor issues such as backups failing if the administrative console had a lock on previous backup files associated with the VM in question; these were to be expected and were addressed by support right away.

Performing a basic restore is almost *too* easy (not that I'm docking points). You can select which VM to restore, if you want it restored to a clone or to the original location, backup sources other than the main, as well as which day you want it restored to. As an added bonus, Altaro can automatically disable the NIC when restoring to avoid IP address conflicts. After a non-overwrite restore Altaro even adds the clone to the console of the Hyper-V host to which you restored! When utilizing any of these options I found the operation quick and encountered no problems whatsoever.

As for software updates, the Altaro console will check for updates and notify when they are released. The GUI provides an upgrade link and takes you directly to the download page. After downloading and running the setup, the installer handled the upgrade process flawlessly, automatically closing open executables and retaining settings. While it would be nice if the console facilitated the download & install directly, the execution of the existing system was flawless and in-line with the best its competitors have to offer.

Offsite backups can be a tricky thing to coordinate and pay for; fortunately Altaro has you covered there as well. Both over the network (internet) and disk seeding is supported in the standard and unlimited versions. Disk seeding allows you to push backups to disk and then send that disk to your offsite location rather than seed the initial full backups, which can be very useful when sending out many, many GBs of data for the first go around. After that you can rely on WAN/internet based uploads for deltas. There is a special software component you use as the backup target that does not require an additional license. This component can be installed on a Windows machine; keep in mind you'll need a network port opened and forwarded to the machine for it to work. To enable offsite backups Altaro requires that you set an encryption key, which is a welcome restriction since we don't want to pump unencrypted machine images over the internet. Once enabled you can schedule automatic offsite backups anywhere between once a month and every day. Note that if selecting the weekly/daily backup option in your schedule for normal backups you're locked to once a week at a minimum for offsite backups. It would be nice to be able to schedule the offsite backups less often in that case, but that's not too big a deal. Retention can be set independently between on and off-site. The only other thing I'd like to see here that isn't in the software at the time of review is offsite upload bandwidth throttling... perhaps in a future version.

Altaro also supports "reverse delta" which ensures that when performing incremental backups the latest backup taken contains the full image rather than the traditional concept of a full backup followed by deltas until the next full backup. This is similar to a feature in Veeam to accomplish the same thing, and one of my favorite things about this product. This means that the net size for cross site replication is limited to the delta size and the concept of regular "full" backups is obsolete. Note you still maintain the ability to restore to an older state; Altaro just down-revs the image as necessary when you request a restore.

Unfortunately there is no backup level de-duplication across multiple VM backups, nor is there support for OS level de-duplication at this time. The lack of de-duplication for regular offsite backups (bandwidth) is mitigated by the aforementioned reverse delta methodology however.

Hyper-V share nothing live migration does pose a couple interesting challenges; since the schedules and previous backups for a particular VM are tied to a host they don't follow a migration to a different host. They do remain on the originating host and work fine after migrating the VM back to the original host. The implications of this are:

  • The originating host will throw errors until the backup schedule for the missing VM is disabled.
  • Restores on the new host will not be available.
  • If you backup the VM on the new host, the initial backup will be full and offsite replication will be impacted as such.

While these issues are theoretically fixable it would be a mess to do so and I suspect it wouldn't impact customers much. The most common use case for share nothing live migration is to maintain uptime across host reboots, transferring the VMs back thereafter. In that case this is not an issue; the impact in your environment will be up to you to judge.

A more robust Hyper-V environment would likely utilize Hyper-V Cluster Shared Volumes, which Altaro Ultimate edition has native support for. While I did not test this feature extensively, the support and features is in line with what I would expect. This support is likely more important than the share nothing live migration issues I noted above.

The built in reporting is easy to consume and effective. It is not geared for notification of eternal parties, but barring that use case I don't see much of anything deficiency wise. The dashboard has impressively effective visualizations of backup times and volumes on a per VM or overall basis. The porting section has records of backups, restores, and errors.

Reliability and General Quality score:

Labor Investment to Set Up and Maintain

This is a category where Altaro really shines. Installation couldn't be much more straightforward, and usage/maintenance is impressively easy. This fact has many positive ramifications on a labor constrained environment and is why I have it ranked so highly. Altaro has an impressive collection of online documentation including user guides, a knowledgebase/FAQ, and they maintain a detailed change log.

As a demonstration of the ease of use, take for example the setup and association of a backup schedule:

  1. Under the schedules tab, click to create a new schedule.
  2. Define schedule frequency, time, and offsite schedule.
  3. Drag the desired VMs to the schedule.

Most of the software is as intuitive as what you see here. I know I can reasonably delegate responsibility for this tool without having to provided dedicated training or even significant time in most target environments.

Ease of Set Up/Maintenance score:

Alerting Effectiveness

It is critical that backup software alert effectively; a silent failure in this space is a much larger problem waiting to happen. Altaro natively supports individually configuring the following categories for backup notifications:

  • Successful Backups/Offsite Copies
  • Backups/Offsite Copies with Skipped Files
  • Failed Backups/Offsite Copies
  • Completed Restore Operations

The following notification methodologies are supported:

  • E-Mail
  • Windows Event Log

Additionally, anyone connected to the console will receive alerts as well. While e-mail notification will generally be sufficient in most cases, large installations may want to log to the event log and use another tool to consolidate job status and deliver one consolidated report. I found all available notification methodologies to be reliable; the only minor nitpick I have is that the retry interval and thus the failure notification timing cannot be configured.

Alerting Effectiveness score:

Cost

Altaro pricing is very competitive. In my research I've found it cheaper than most of its main competitors, and the beauty of the licensing is that it is very straightforward. As of this writing the standard version is $395 per Hyper-V host (5 guests per maximum, no core/socket limit) and $585 for unlimited (unlimited VMs per guest, no core/socket limit). That price includes one year of upgrades and support, and you can choose to purchase additional years of upgrades and support for 25% of the purchase price ($99/$146). The free version that can backup two VMs per host is, oddly enough, free. The free version does not support some of the more advanced features which is to be expected. For the sake of comparison Veeam Hyper-V essentials 2CPU Socket licenses with a year of maintenance and support cost the following: "Standard" $820, "Enterprise" $1500, and "Enterprise Plus" $2300.

Cost score:

Basic Features

Altaro supports granular file level restore of any drive in a backup image; after selecting the VM you want a file from it loads up a file browser where you can select what files or directories you would like and where to restore them to (Standard and Unlimited). It also supports Exchange message level restore (Unlimited version). This option scans a VM backup image for Exchange databases in the default install locations. If your DB is in a non-standard location you can browse to and then mount it. You are then presented with a list of mailboxes; upon selecting one you can restore messages by their from, time, and/or subject criteria.

Score:

Advanced Features

In addition to the file level and Exchange object level restores, Altaro Standard and Unlimited support restoring to a sandbox.The Sanbox restore is a great start; it allows you to restore & boot selected VMs on a schedule to ensure the backups being taken are successful from a high level. This sort of thing can be a great feature to help business lines gain confidence in your ability to restore mission-critical virtual machines. It would be nice if this feature supported custom notifications (for non-IT interested parties) and eventually restoring multiple VMs to a shared sandbox and then running automated test scripts, but that's likely a big ask at this point in time. Point is they've already got great functionality and are moving in the right direction.

Altaro also supports booting directly from a backup drive (image), but this feature is hamstrung by the fact that it requires the backup image to be neither compressed or encrypted. I can't imagine a scenario where you wouldn't at least want to compress backups, so while this feature looks good on paper it isn't practical in most situations. That said, restoring a VM to a clone is so easy and quick that wouldn't fret too much about it. Frankly if I were Altaro I would consider removing this feature; not because it's not interesting but because assuming compression is the norm it isn't practical and could serve to disappoint a customer who thought too much of this feature on paper.

Score:

Bonus Super Feature: Encryption

The concept of "Trust No One" relies on software allowing one to specify their own key (or seed) to protect data. If implemented correctly then only the individual(s) with the key would be able to decrypt the data. Adherence to this concept can be critical for some businesses trusted with protecting not only their data but the data of their customers. I'm pleased to say that Altaro, at least in theory, supports "Trust No One" style AES encryption for both local (ultimate only) and offsite (standard & ultimate).

First a note: while the theory of trust no one results in unbreakable encryption, the actual security relies on the details of the implementation. While the key is specified by you, you still are actually trusting that the software doesn't intentionally or unintentionally store the encryption key in a way that could reveal it to anyone else. That can be difficult and I have no way to examine the implementation specifics at a code level.

That said, I'm very impressed that Altaro takes this seriously. One should be able to rest much easier knowing that if their backups are compromised their data is safe. To inquire about the implementation of this encryption, I asked the following question of Altaro support:

"If one enables onsite and remote encryption and provides their own key, but then somehow loses that key, is there any way to recover the backups? "

I received this response within hours:

"Hi Toby,
With regards to encrypted backups I’m afraid that the key cannot be recovered in any way and must thereby be remembered. This is designed this way in order to ensure that the sensitive information contained within the backups doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
"

Perfect answer! This illustrates to me that not only is the software designed to be secure, but the support department is aware of the fact that it is and also aware of why. This makes me much more comfortable with offsite backups in particular. This to me is one of the most important aspects of Altaro; the fact that they get this right gives me a huge confidence in their overall design.

Note: Remember that as stated this encryption is optional and not enabled by default. If you don't want to encrypt you don't need to worry about storing a key.

Conclusion

When I set out to do this review I was afraid I would be one of two things: disappointed or bored. The quality of the software prevented me from being disappointed and the ease of use prevented me from being bored. This tool is a powerful backup solution for a small to medium size business implementation of a Hyper-V based private cloud, and the pricing is right in line, if not below that level. Additionally, Altaro's support department was impressive and their documentation is thorough. There are a few missing features, but taking the full picture into account I consider those minor. I have no reservations recommending Altaro for the Hyper-V based small to medium sized business.

Originally published here.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user224259
Director with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It's $1000 to set up with no daily cost, but there is a small annual fee.

What is most valuable?

It works fine and is easy to use.

How has it helped my organization?

My customer does not even know it is there and has saved him numerous times over the years.

What needs improvement?

It is constantly updated free of charge, and the customer only pays a small maintenance fee.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it since v2.0.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: Extremely good, and the turnaround is less than a day. Technical Support: Extremely good, and the…

What is most valuable?

It works fine and is easy to use.

How has it helped my organization?

My customer does not even know it is there and has saved him numerous times over the years.

What needs improvement?

It is constantly updated free of charge, and the customer only pays a small maintenance fee.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it since v2.0.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Extremely good, and the turnaround is less than a day.

Technical Support:

Extremely good, and the turnaround is less than a day.

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

No I didn't.

How was the initial setup?

It's very simple, you just install is it and then answer a few questions to get it working.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the solution myself.

What was our ROI?

For the small cost, it's very hard to calculate the ROI, but I would say it is 100%.

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

It's $1000 to set up with no daily cost, but there is a small annual fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Just try it for free.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
it_user222804
Network Analyst III with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Keeps things simple although the time it takes to do a recovery needs to be improved.

What is most valuable?

Ease of setup  Ease of recovery of VMs

What needs improvement?

The recovery speed could be quicker, especially when you only need a file or two.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

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

We previously used Symantec. We switched because of the cost as our customers were SMBs, not…

What is most valuable?

  • Ease of setup 
  • Ease of recovery of VMs

What needs improvement?

The recovery speed could be quicker, especially when you only need a file or two.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent.

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

We previously used Symantec. We switched because of the cost as our customers were SMBs, not enterprises. They still need good recovery capabilities and they need it to be reasonably priced. Altaro fits the bill.

How was the initial setup?

It's very straightforward to setup, as it is wizard-driven and very simple. It took less than 10 minutes to have it setup and running first backup.

What was our ROI?

The first recovery typically pays for the investment.

What other advice do I have?

It is a great lesson in keeping it simple. It just works and you get save much more of your hair.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Security Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It has exchange item level restore but I'd like them to add backward compatibility with earlier versions.

What is most valuable?

  • Hyper-V VM & Hyper-V host or node backup and retention schedules
  • Exchange item level restore
  • In the new version, you do not have to install the backup software itself onto a Hyper-V host

What needs improvement?

  • Backward compatibility with earlier versions
  • Auto-update features
  • Hyper-V 2008 core OS should be supported to run the management console on it, this was a need by one of our customers
  • The amount of jobs performed at the same time should be increased

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for between six and 12 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not manage to import my old configuration, in v4, into v5 just after it what was released, however, I believe this functionality has been improved.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Version 5 is much more stable. Because the management console itself is running on a Windows machine, you may encounter some time-out, or lag, because of a delay in the Microsoft component relating what is on your hardware environment. However, this could happen with all of your Windows based applications if you do not have enough supplements supporting it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not had any scalability issues yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

10/10.

Technical Support:

10/10.

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

I did, but we did not totally switch. We are still using other products because of our different VMware environments.

How was the initial setup?

It is really straightforward, and the software has a great step by step manual.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented two environments on my own with the help of the web based manual.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did. My company used Veeam, PHD Virtual and Unitrends software solution before. We looked for a cheaper Hyper-V backup solution, and Altaro is the best choice for this purpose.

What other advice do I have?

If you only have a Hyper-V environment with several nodes, you should dedicate one server for hosting the backup solution (depending on the number of the virtual machines hosted on each node). Or you can install several Altaro Hyper-V Backup instances and connect them to one management software. I am sure that guys at Altaro will help you out with the deployment scenario.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user221877
Owner with 51-200 employees
Vendor
We can restore to a different Hyper-V host machine but cannot backup the actual host machine.

What is most valuable?

  • Backup live VMs
  • Backup to multiple locations
  • Restore to a different Hyper-V host machine

How has it helped my organization?

We do not have to install backup agents onto the virtual machines anymore. Also, disaster recovery is much more reliable for our customers.

What needs improvement?

Being able to backup the actual host machine would be an improvement for us. Many SMBs do not have multiple machines, so if we could restore the host machine quickly, it would be an advantage.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Not at all, deployment is straightforward.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Compared to the old days with tape backup software, I would say that Altaro Hyper-V backup is a product that, once installed, does not need much maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Their responses are always provided very quickly.

Technical Support:

I have not yet had to use tech support.

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

As stated above, we used typical tape backup solutions and image applications, and these were installed on the VMs. Altaro Hyper-V backup’s price is very interesting and it is an easy solution when compared to the competition.

How was the initial setup?

It's straightforward. You are guided during the setup process with a couple of logical configurations to perform. It’s hard to make a mistake.

What about the implementation team?

We implement this solution for all of our clients.

What was our ROI?

The amount of time spent on finding out why the customers backup solution fails has decreased, so they are more productive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have used a well-known product a couple of times but, that solution has become unstable these days. Also, it was a nightmare to for us to support and even their technical support did have problems solving issues permanently. It was not a cheap one either.

What other advice do I have?

Install the trial version so you can see how easy it is.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a reseller and technical contact for our customers.
it_user220203
Product Area Manager at a comms service provider with 11-50 employees
Real User
Linux guests on Hyper-V clusters is missing a file level restore functionality but when we need to restore something, we don’t need to repair the failed backups as we did before.

What is most valuable?

  • Cluster shared volumes backup
  • Back up live virtual machines which use Microsoft VSS technology
  • File level restore

How has it helped my organization?

The costs of performing restores are less than ever before as we can save a lot of time with this software.

What needs improvement?

We use Linux guests on Hyper-V clusters and we really need the file level restore on these VMs (ext3 and 4 file systems) functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it since November 2014.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, the deployment was very easy.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, I think the reliability of Altaro Hyper-V Backup is good enough.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, as when we need another license we can buy it very easy from a reseller. After that, we can install it onto the new host and add the host to the central management. It is much easier than ever before.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

We have not used them yet so I can’t judge.

Technical Support:

The technical support is fast and very helpful fast. When we had a problem, they replied to us ASAP and they provided a solution.

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

Yes, we used Windows Server Backup which came with Windows Servers but we had lot of problems with stability.

How was the initial setup?

It was very easy and this is a very good point of this software.

What about the implementation team?

My company has its own IT Ops team which I lead. We implemented it with our own hands.

What was our ROI?

Time is money. As I said, we can save time with this software, as when we need to restore something, we don’t need repair the failed backups as before.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we used Altaro Hyper-V Backup Unlimited Edition with 30 day trial period. After that we bought it for multiple hosts.

What other advice do I have?

Estimate what you need. It is very important because Altaro Hyper-V Backup has multiple editions which contain different features. For example, the standard edition doesn’t support the clusters.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user220200
Infrastructure & Support Engineer with 51-200 employees
Vendor
The software does have occasional problems with shadow copy but restarting the services rectifies this.

What is most valuable?

  • The ability to backup live VMs
  • Offsite backup replication to a removable drive or physical offsite location
  • Granular restore ability, including Exchange Server item level restore

How has it helped my organization?

There is now no need for users to log out of servers while the backup is performed, aiding productivity.

What needs improvement?

The software does have occasional problems with shadow copy but restarting the services rectifies this. Also, if it happens overnight, the software keeps attempting the backup until successful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, although this is mainly because the software is installed on a Hyper-Visor with very little other software to conflict or take up resources.as these are all on the virtual machines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues, although we haven’t used the software to its full capacity.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is excellent, and provides polite and prompt replies to emails.

Technical Support:

Technical support is also very good. There is a support tool within the software that saves an error report as a zip file which can then be emailed to support at Altaro. The longest I have had to wait for a reply is 24 hours, but that was for a non-standard error.

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

No previous solution was used, except the standard backup solutions onto a physical servers. This is the first solution we have used for virtual machines.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward, as the software installs easily, is very easy to configure and has a nice GUI. You just plug in your backup devices, install the software and follow the install wizard which guides you through the backup process from start to finish.

What about the implementation team?

Through an in-house team.

What was our ROI?

We support our clients servers so I don’t feel I can answer this question.

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

The software is approximately £200 however, you also need the correct hardware in place (e.g. RDX drive for offsite backup).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

I definitely recommend Altaro.

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