If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Quorum OnQ, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Don't underestimate your capabilities with Quorum OnQ. It will far outperform the max recommended capabilities that Quorum suggests.
This is a product that works well, is easy to install, and easy to use. I would recommend it over other solutions. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Check out the competitors. I was so impressed with Quorum that we haven't checked out anybody else. We just wanted to stay with them. We have a good relationship with them. But do your homework and have them really demonstrate what it can do for you. I think you will be just as impressed. The biggest lesson we've learned from using onQ is that it's a system that works. We've lost a server and done a complete recovery in a matter of hours. That's really all the convincing we needed, to know that the system works. If needed, it does what they say it will do. It did it flawlessly. There was no, "Oh, we're going to have to tweak this" or, "Oh, we're going to have to do that." When we lost that server, as soon as we got it up and running, they were on the phone. They guided us through the few things we needed to do. The whole thing was just a matter of hours to have it back up and running. It doesn't get any better than that, to me. The solution hasn't affected our overall storage efficiency. It doesn't impact anything on the servers. It's a small footprint and runs in conjunction with our Backup Exec. They don't seem to step on each other, so it doesn't cost us any additional time. It just does its thing on its own without any interference. It's pretty slick. They're always coming up with new stuff, but we haven't really looked into everything. Our needs are pretty simple. Things change very slowly in our company so we're not really looking to expand anything right now. But if they had other products, we'd probably look at them. The solution is a 10 out of 10. It's well-designed. It does what they say it'll do and they back up what they say. They help you if you need it. I wouldn't change anything. We're really pleased with them. They're a great company and anytime we've needed help they've been there. They have jumped right into it.
Look at all the partners out there and pick the one that you feel is the best fit for you, based on your use case. Everyone is a little bit different and has different needs in terms of what's critical to them and what's not important. I give Quorum a solid nine out of 10. Over a number of years it has been a rock-solid solution. It has worked for us. It's easy to manage. It doesn't take a lot of my time. It does what it needs to do. When I have had to use it and rely upon it, it has been there.
It's hard to say where this product needs improvement, as we have not had any problems or needs other than what is already provided, and we are more than happy with the value we are getting out of OnQ.
Setup was a breeze, and the support and training is excellent. If you are a knowledgeable user, then they will work with you at your level, but if you just need them to do it for you then they will do that too.
Figure out what your business needs are and determine if you need one appliance or two appliances for a disaster recovery physical site. Or are you're going to need to bring up these virtual machines in a cloud instance and, if so, how are you going to get access to those servers through a public cloud like the internet, through either VPNs or other software-defined networks? If somebody were to ask me what they need to do to implement this, I would definitely say know what your requirements and expectations are, and make sure you get those included beforehand. Get the thing properly spec'ed out so that it will survive the length of time you're after. Or, be prepared to take a long-term retention kick if you add resources faster than you anticipated. I sleep better knowing that Quorum is there. My full tape backup was using seven tapes, and tapes can be a little finicky. Sometimes, they just don't want to work. I don't have that problem anymore. I know that I've got a good backup. It backs up, I get a notification, and it brings up all of those servers automatically for me. It's one of those things where, regardless of the appliance you go with, you still need to bring up all those virtual machines and make sure all the applications work in them, in a virtual environment. I did run into a solution where that didn't work. I had one sever that runs an old IBM Db2 application, and it did not like coming up in a virtual environment because the virtual environment was bringing up both IPv4 and IPv6 and Db2 was trying to attach to the wrong one. So the server came up great but the database did not come up at all. I ended up having to call Quorum and say, "Okay, how do I get this thing not to use IPv6, only IPv4?" It took them 15 minutes. I ran a test again and it worked like a champ. Also, there are some applications that do licensing via hardware tokens, where they do licensing via the MAC address of the network card. For instance, my phone system is that way. While I can spin it up on the Quorum box, I can only do it for a very limited time, because it only gives me a temporary license for, say, 30 days, before I will lose my phone system. So, there are other things to take into consideration, but you're going to run into that regardless of where you spin up a virtual machine, whether it's the cloud or on a physical appliance. In terms of storage efficiency, I'm not entirely sure it's considered a storage appliance. I would think of something like a NAS as being a storage appliance, where people are actively working on files on and off of it. Quorum is really not a storage appliance, it's a backup. It definitely has storage because it's disk-based, but it beats the crap out of tape, if I have to compare it to a storage device. I would much rather use it over having a bunch of drives and some other solution. I would rather use the simplicity of the Quorum appliance over other backup solutions, even if they are disk-based. I'm an IT department of one, so nobody else has their hands in it except for me. We do have a couple of hundred employees, but none of them even know about it. That's really how it should be. They should just know that everything is backed up and, if they need something restored, they just need to give me a call and I've got them covered.
My advice would be to make sure you leave your protected node configuration with plenty of extra hard drive space. Everything has functioned the way we've needed it to. They're in a transition phase now with a new interface and this new architecture, so I'm withholding judgment for the most part on that, as they are still figuring things out. We have three users, whose roles are server administration and our CIO, but it's mostly me as server administrator. The solution requires one person for deployment and maintenance of the solution.
Think about your use case. If you need high-availability immediately, where you don't have to worry about routing and forwarding and transferring the information that you have locally to the cloud, that comes down to choosing cloud versus onsite/on-premise physical devices. Cloud is nice. You can route, although it does take a little bit more time, but you have no physical devices on-premise. There is higher bandwidth utilization when you're using cloud, versus on-premise, where you're using your local LAN and WAN. In the latter case, you have a little bit more flexibility. The other thing I would recommend is making sure that you have enough bandwidth to transfer the data to your DR sites. When we first started, we had T1 lines and it was painful. It worked, but it was painful. Now with the increase in speed, with Metro Ethernets and high-speed fibre, you can do 150 MB or higher, it's really not a problem. Just make sure you have enough bandwidth to transfer the data. It is a DR solution. It's there for the possibility of a disaster, so we don't have to pull our hair out and work 20-hour shifts just to get a server back up and running. We can actually relax, take our time, and do things right, rather than having to panic and do things in a rush. The biggest lesson I've learned from using it is that, like with all hardware and software services, you do have to monitor it. It is there in the background doing its job and it does it well, but you have to make sure you're monitoring it, because if something does go wrong and that server fails, you still have the possibility of a failure. But it is good at what it does. It will backup servers, it will do its job well. In terms of recovering a file or data that someone has overwritten or deleted by accident, that happens all the time. It's normal that someone loses a file. We have several other ways of restoring files so I don't use Quorum all the time. Sometimes I'll use Shadow Copy, because we take shadow copies. Sometimes I have Azure; sometimes I use Quorum. It all depends on how far back and how frequently they need that data. I use whichever one is easily available at the time I need it. Azure is a little bit more difficult than Quorum; it takes two to three minutes to get a file back with Azure. Usually, with Shadow Copy, you can right-click on the folder and you can restore right from that. But we can only go back a few weeks with that. Quorum goes back 30 days. When you use Quorum, it will go to protected mode. You log in to your portal, go to restore, select files, go to the server, select the date, and then you start. It gives you a URL and you go to that URL and your Windows Explorer and it opens up a File Explorer for that specific time and you can browse the folders. I have to rate Quorum at 10 out of 10. There's no doubt. It's solid. I don't have to worry at night. Even in the middle of night, if a server fails and I get a notification on my phone saying a server is down, I can log in, start a server, and have that branch operate. In the morning, they don't know that anything happened. It gives me peace of mind. I don't have to stress. There's enough stress in IT; I don't need more.