If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Vembu BDR Suite, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
I can recommend Vembu for those who need just file backup. It's a straightforward solution. It was easy to install and deploy for many machines, taking backups from files and servers in the same way. They offer 10 GB for cloud that you can use for free. We haven't tested its compression, encryption, or deduplication features yet. So far, just our system admin is using and maintaining the solution.
It gives me peace of mind. If your infrastructure backup is up and running and trusted, it gives you peace of mind. I have recommended it to a number of people. It's important to note that most backup solutions will tell you that you can download and use their solution for free. But the truth is that that is not the case for almost all of them. After some time, you will have to pay for a license to backup critical sources.
Right now, we are satisfied with Vembu's operational performance and requirements. It is just a simple backup solution where we can backup all of our VMs. Vembu allows you to implement a variety of different requirements. I would rate the product as a six (out of 10). It needs some more work to be done in regards to product stability and functionality.
You should never evaluate in your production environment, but make sure your evaluation is done as close as possible to your target. We are not using it with Hyper-V. I would rate this product in the high eights or nine (out of 10).
Make sure you have a clear view of your architecture and how you will be implementing it. Decide upfront which site will receive the backup and which site will do the deduplication of the backup's redundancy. As mentioned, I started to do some backups on the second office site and wanted to move the backups on to third site for disaster recovery, but I figured out that it would be better to install the backup server on the third site and the deduplication on the second site. However, just exchanging their roles was not that easy because I was missing licensing and backups were already running. I would recommend to ask questions, figure out the licensing model, what needs to be installed where, and their best practices. For example, if I have to do things again, I would do things differently. I would give the product a seven (out of 10).
This is a good product to choose if you are in the same situation as we are in. It does do compression and that works fine. We don't use Hyper-V. I would give it a five out of 10, because I think that it could use some polishing on the interface for the client.
If you can't afford Veeam, which is very expensive, I would recommend Vembu. Vembu is used by me and another system administrator. That's it. We manage it, but it only requires one person for deployment and maintenance. Our end-users don't know it's there.
I would definitely recommend Vembu. We have been mostly satisfied with the solution. We plan to keep using it. Overall, I would rate the product as a nine (out of 10).
I have learned just how important backups are. My advice would be try and implement it on virtual environments. Don't implement it on a physical environment because the licensing costs would be much higher. You will have less options for recovering VMs. It would be wise to have a cluster. Also, the BDR server should be well spec'd. You can run on the minimum spec, but it is recommended that it has some definite amounts of RAM on it. I am planning to use Vembu to work in VMware, but I have not done that yet. After I pick up some customers, I might try to push it out to them in their VMware environment. At the moment, it's just Microsoft Hyper-V. I don't really use the deduplication feature. I would probably rate the solution around seven and a half out of 10. It missed out on a few scores because each time when you upgrade the version, you have to do all the backups again. That's why I didn't give it a 10. If it didn't need to do all the backups again when changing the version, then I would have given it a 10 easily. In the near future, if Vembu stays the way it is now with its licensing costs and everything else, then I will continue to use it and expand on it. I will try and push it out to some of my customers as well. A lot of customers just use Veeam or Kronos at the moment and may switch for the cost savings.
If you're looking for a not-too-expensive solution, use the Vembu BDR Suite. There are three people on our team who can access the server, who can actually operate it: an IT associate, supervisor, and system admin. In terms of maintenance, I ask their support to do it. Overall, I would rate Vembu at seven out of 10. It's not perfect yet. It doesn't give me confidence that it will run 24/7.
Make sure you plan out your backup server for the long-term. When I did this I moved my backup server. When I moved it from one machine to another machine and the IP address changed, there were some headaches. I had to get the knowledge documents and I had to get tech support involved to help me outside of the knowledge document. So try to plan out, for as long as you can plan out, that this is the server, it isn't changing, etc. It has worked as expected. It's straightforward for backing up and it's straightforward for doing the restores. Other than the navigation and what buttons to push, there's really no learning curve here. I'm not using the encryption. If the deduplication is in use, it must be so by default because I have not done anything with it. For what I need it to do, and compared to the other products that are out there, this is the most cost-efficient and best solution for my needs.
If you need phone support, don't buy the product. I would rate Vembu, overall, as a five out of ten. It would be a ten if they fixed the phone system. I have to hammer that in.
It's a robust solution. Evaluate it first in the environment and ensure that it actually satisfies your needs. It's a fairly cost-effective solution. For us, it has assisted in developing a robust backup strategy of keeping a backup in-house. We back up to a NAS in-house, and then we try to do an online backup off the in-house backup, so that we always have a remote copy of our backup. So it's been a pretty robust solution. We have about 25 workstations that we're backing up. There are two of us, my IT person and me, who handle the deployment and management of the backup solution. I would rate the solution at nine out of ten because customer service could be improved. I don't have a specific problem with the product. In our experience, the initial implementation could be easier. The product itself, once implemented, gets the job done. If it was divided up, I would give the working product a ten. But the initial implementation, from our experience, because we needed to have customer service log in to our system and walk us through, I would give a seven. And I would give customer service a seven.
It is an easy solution as far as its installation, scalability, and dependability. I have a regular full-time job as well as doing this. I can count on this solution working properly, and it allows me to be able to have another side income without a whole lot of hands-on everyday maintenance to it. I have not used Vembu with Microsoft Hyper-V.
I would recommend the product. I already recommend it to our partners. It is a really good solution. I like the product. It has good support. For small companies, it's the perfect solution. We do not use virtual environments. We have done this in the past, but we do not implement virtual clients anymore since we have only small customers and virtual appliances are now on cloud spaces. So, we do not have virtual servers at our customers. We have used Hyper-V, but it was not beneficial.
Go for it. This solution suits organizations where there is no dedicated IT manpower. It can be managed by somebody, like a consultant, who can handle the entire thing. We are quite happy with the latest version and how it works. We are convinced that this is the right product. I haven't used it with Microsoft Hyper-V.
Go ahead and give it a try. It's worth the evaluation and certainly, with the restore options and the Universal Explorer option, it's competitive with things like Trilead and Veeam in terms of backup. Personally, I don't think it's as good as Veeam if you are looking at replication and high-availability but, other than that, for straight backup, I don't think there's anything in the market that's better. There are only six of us in our IT department who use it. Nobody else has any real comments on it. It's something that sits there and does its job, and does it well. In terms of deployment and maintenance, two of us are responsible for ensuring the backup is operational and maintained. It's used to protect our entire server estate. It's not a very big server estate, but it is the entire estate. There are no plans to extend its usage. There's nothing to extend it to. I would give Vembu a ten out of ten. I've evaluated other products. I don't think anybody else has any advantage, certainly in terms of backup, over what Vembu provides. If I were to mark it down to a nine, it would just be for the lack of flexibility on the backup storage option.
It has to meet your needs. But for most people, for backups of large amounts of data, I would strongly encourage you to use it, and not be hesitant to contact the support desk if you have a question. Don't just install it with the intent that your first use is going to be your final setup because there are ways to tune it to make it more efficient on space usage for the pool where you put your backups. The help is there. That's the good thing. With most other products, you're not going to get the same response. Use the help and you're probably going to be quite happy with it. I would encourage you to count on support, run your tests, play with it, and you'll be pleasantly surprised and happy with the results. Of the software that I license, I feel I get more value from this than any others. I just can't think of anything that I'm looking for that Vembu BDR isn't already addressing. I've got no wish list for them. Everything I need is being addressed by the product and then some. I wish them great success and I want them to be around a long time. I don't want to have to go and replace this. This is a good product. It does what we need and I'm not seeing anything that I wish it had. I like the compression, encryption, and deduplication features, although in our case, we don't get much compression because a lot of our material is already compressed. There just isn't an opportunity to see a big reduction. But the tools allow us to have every feature we want, including being able to restore from the backups. Of course, we don't have to do full backups very often, because of the way it has been set up. Encryption today is, obviously, given privacy issues and confidentiality, very important. In our particular case, it's an added plus but it wasn't a real high criterion because the data that we have is not considered highly confidential. In fact, if it was put out in the public domain, it would not cause our customer or ourselves a problem. It's nice to have, but it wasn't something that was as critical to us as it might be to a lot of others. We don't use it to back up our virtual environments. We keep things very discreet here. We don't run a VM type of environment. Servers are by function. Hardware has become so incredibly cheap. I understand the savings, the value with VM and having a virtual environment for different things. But to us, hardware is just incredibly inexpensive. If we have something in our accounting system that needs to be addressed, an upgrade or the like, we like having it on its own server and discreet from everything else. It also inherently provides easier access control for those systems that are more critical, in terms of the type of information on them. Regarding staff for maintenance of the solution, we're talking fractions. We just look at our reports daily just to make sure that they are giving us the information we need, indicating that backups were successful and that the expected amount of data that was backed up. We know how much data comes in every day approximately. We can confirm that it's been done properly. It's just minutes a day. I don't think it needs a full day per month of attention. The maintenance is extremely low. We have other environments that we need to address in a different way than we are today. The company is old enough that, like most entities, it is a creature of habit. So changing the way we do things is a little slow sometimes. But I can see us using this in several other environments, other than what we initially targeted. I can't tell you when that will happen but I believe that it will happen because of the experience we've had. The end-users don't use it, per se, because they have no touch with it. It's IT that uses it. Nobody has a problem with it. We have a small group of six IT people in this main building. We try to get different people exposed to it. They vary from application support, mostly in the accounting area, and then, because we do a lot of VPN, we have network people who handle network security. We have failover network with multiple ISPs so networking becomes a big issue, plus the security side. Percentage-wise, there are more people involved in network and security than in many companies. Yet those people are still required to be able to support the applications we have, including Vembu. Nobody's had a problem doing that. I'd love to try it in a virtual environment. We just don't do that here. We're a Windows Server shop, so I've not tried it in other operating systems, like Unix and Linux. For my needs, I'd give Vembu a nine out of ten, and that's only because I'm hesitant to say anything is perfect. Everything could be improved. For example, if you were to have a custom backup solution created, it might be a ten if they achieved everything you listed regarding what you need. But it's not practical to do that for an individual or a small company. I've been responsible for a lot of development people and developing applications. It's somewhat subjective on where you place buttons and how efficient they are. Once you get used to a product, if it wasn't made for you, and it's working and meeting all your needs, without having negative side effects, you got to give it a high score. It's the only fair thing to do. The only way for me to get to a ten is to say that it's perfect, that it laid out all its buttons and features just as I would. If I had written it, maybe that would be the case, but by the time I had written it and gotten it done, I'd be retired. It's a great product. Amazing support. It's a very good value for our environment, no question. We will not change. This is a good product that does everything we want and more.
Have a separate backup appliance, if you can, a separate, physical backup appliance so that if your host goes, your backup doesn't go down with it at the same time. As far as the encryption is concerned, I'm glad that it's there for site to site. We don't necessarily need it just because of the way that we're connected, so it's not really a selling feature, one way or the other. We don't use Hyper-V. Our Vembu is working with EXSi. I have not had to do a full server restore, yet. But I have had to do restores of incremental points in time, for certain files. We have tested the restore feature of the entire guest VM. If I have a server go down, I have a lot of people who can't do work. So a fast restore is critical. It's just our core IT team that is actually using the solution. There are three people who have direct access to it, but we serve a larger number of users in our organization. However, they don't see anything as far as backend or backups are concerned. As far as they know, nothing's changed, nothing's different, it has no effect or impact on their day-to-day operations. For deployment and maintenance, now that it's set up, there's not much to do on it, aside from doing checks every so often to ensure that the backups are still happening. There is a potential use case to increase usage, such as doing some critical workstation backups with it. However, we are not doing that at this time. I give the solution an eight out of ten. Everything has some room for improvement. The more granular backup scheduling is one of them. There was a slight hiccup that we weren't really expecting, when we were first looking into this, where you can't do a restore while a backup is in process. That was a bit of an annoyance at first, but once we got an explanation from their technical team as to why it's designed and built out like that, it made more sense. It's just one thing that I realize they can't fix but it would be a nice to have.
Try to negotiate the price. Try to get it to the right price. As a partner, I would try to position it for small and medium-size businesses. I would work with Veeam and say, “Listen. I can't sell it at that price. You're going to have to be more competitive.” As a partner, I would recommend working more with Veeam. It's easy to sell because it's a good product, but I'd be working on the price. It's easy to implement, easy to set up. You can be low a low-tech company and get someone to figure out how to do it easily enough. The challenge I would have would be getting Vembu to price it competitively. If they aren't willing to, just go with Veeam or tell them to do a manual backup or go with some other solution. Vembu is a great product. It's priced too high, but it's a good product.
Go ahead and use it.
Look at the options out there. If you're looking for a cheaper solution go with this. If you're looking for more features and integrations with other solutions, then you would have to go Veeam. Although we use it with Hyper-V, I don't know if it enables high-availability. We currently just have the one user, the test environment backup. I rate Vembu a nine out of ten. The one point off is because the cloud sync options are not that straightforward to set up.
Test it first. Make sure it works in your environment. But I will also say that it's an immediate investment that needs to be done. We aren't using the compression or encryption features. We don't need them. I would rate it a nine out of ten. It's not a ten because the accent of the customer support agents is very difficult to understand. You have to ask a few times when speaking to them. That's the only issue, the rest of it is good. It's a good product. It's working.
My advice would be not to go with Vembu if you're in North America because it's too hard to get ahold of anybody in India. We were a reseller, but we've canceled that. We've told all our customers that we're not reselling Vembu because of the problems with the tech support and the problems with the Application-Aware feature not working. I would rate Vembu at three out of ten because for simple configurations it works fine, but overall, their tech support is very poor. Conversations with tech support and the way they handle tech support are very poor. One example is that I was told that they want to access our servers, but that I wouldn't be allowed to be on the phone and watch what they're doing. I can't be sure that they're only accessing what they're supposed to be doing. The other thing is, they don't offer any extended or premium support. Vembu is for a low-end, small company which doesn't want to do much.
Plan accordingly. Know exactly what you're backing up, not even considering the licenses - the licenses are the easy part. Just know what you're backing up and what you're going to need to restore in the event of an outage, because if you don't have the hardware to support five virtual machines that you need to restore, you're out of luck. Plan for space and for resources to restore your virtual machines too, in the event of an outage. We've used it in production now for about three months. There was some testing and playing with it prior to that. I know that there are plenty of improvements that they're working on. None of them really reflect the kind of work environment that we have here, so as of right now, it does exactly what we need it to do. Overall, I would rate Vembu Backup at nine out of ten and that's only because of the tech support. As I said, that's specific to me. Somebody in India wouldn't have that same problem. Or somebody in a different time zone or who has a different work schedule, it wouldn't be a problem. But for me, the only deficiency would be that tech support time-zone issue. But other than that, it's been easy to deploy, easy to manage. I don't have any problems with it so far.
Although Vembu doesn't seem to be very fast for some environments, for example, banking, because it's based on Snapshots, which is a rather slower procedure, it has been just fine. But I would evaluate another solution that is not based on Snapshots. I can for sure recommend Vembu if high-availability is not a requirement. We are using the compression that is embedded in the system. We downloaded the Linux virtual appliance, Linux Ubuntu, and this appliance is now part of our live organization, it's a live system. The embedded compression system is very satisfactory and we didn't have to alter anything within it. We didn't need to activate encryption because our infrastructure is only available within our local network, it's not available outside the firewall, and the destination drive is actually an iSCSI volume that is only accessible through the Vembu backup server. That's why we didn't need to encrypt our backups and possibly add delays to the whole procedure. We don't use Microsoft Hyper-V, we only use VMware ESXi. The virtual environment that we're backing up through the Vembu solution is one ESXi that hosts three virtual machines. It's an end-to-end VMware solution. During the evaluation period, we also had the option to use the Replication function. We tested it and it's an option for the company to purchase, to upgrade the license to activate it, but this is going to be decided in the future. The number of end-users using the functionality of the backup solution is around 70, but the end-users don't know it is being used. There are just two system administrators who use the Vembu console as administrators. One is full-time and the other one is part-time, so we need one-and-a-half people to run it. The maintenance is so minor. We just follow up on the emails the server sends saying that we successfully finished a job or that there was an issue. We then visit the web interface look at the reason for that failure - because the server was busy or the like. The maintenance is very easy. I rate it at eight out of ten because, during the evaluation period, we had a server that was sizing at about 1.8 TB and the product took about 26 to 27 hours to restore it. So the slow restore is an issue. Eventually, we minimized the amount of data. Now, we are less than a terabyte, around 800 gig, so we expect the restore to take less time. But it's the slow restore that makes me give it an eight.
Download the product and give it a run through. With some products, this is a tough process as you spend a lot of time testing and they don't work correctly or have enough benefit to justify a purchase. Then, you have wasted all that time. But Vembu was quick and simple enough, it did not waste a lot of time.
Verify that you can restore a virtual machine (VM) from its backup and ensure the notification of backup results (success or fail) is readily available.
I would rate it at 9 out of 10. It's a great option for a small business looking for a cheap solution requiring two or three different backup sites. Vembu provides strong support. I am not giving it a higher score because it is complicated to recover a crashed backup server.
There is no need for any advice. A person who has infrastructure and backup experience should be able to do it. It doesn’t require any special knowledge for the configuration part or reinstalling. I rate it at eight out of 10 because of the complexity involved in reinstalling that agent. Buy, install it, use it, back it up, that’s it. It works fine.
Try it with the trial version. You get free rein of everything there. Test it out and make sure everything works right. You'll find it's easy to use and there is good support, as far as emails back and forth. That gives you plenty of time to try it, and then you can implement it once you've figured out all the items and how to get to things, as well as its limitations. That's pretty much what I did. I got a server and installed the full license and went to town. I put some backups on there and got familiar with it. It was pretty much straightforward. Also, look at some of the training videos. They make it much clearer. I like Vembu because of the price point, the ease of use, the support, and it being full-featured backup software for the needs that I have. I would rate it 10, but the one thing is the email notifications, that I mentioned above, that aren't customizable. Maybe adding more customization for the end-user, in the settings, some additional options, would help.
I would tell others looking into implementing this solution exactly what steps need to be done in the setup. I've actually documented it, and I've passed that on to the Vembu guys. Take that, and make sure that things are set up very clearly, not, "There you go, it's very straightforward, it'll take you five minutes." It's not like that at all. The marketing of the setup is so misleading. It can cause a lot of problems. They need to be more honest in the way things need to be set up. That would be okay, that doesn't put people off when you have to go through a process. But just saying it's straightforward and it's simple is a bit of a lie, especially if it causes a lot of problems. So there needs to be more documentation on exactly what to set up in what order, and how to do it and what not to do. Regarding technical support, sometimes, if you pick the wrong time of day to get through you get this constant "We value your business, we're busy at the moment..." and you can be on the phone for ages because it gets redirected to America. You get the feeling that they're not actually busy, they just have some automated lady giving you a message. Again, that engenders mistrust in the technology. It needs to be not advertised as 24/7. It needs to be advertised with the specific hours that support can be provided. That would help a lot, not just saying 24/7 and then not actually providing it. It goes to America, but it is actually answered in India. It's all confusing. If it's 3 o'clock in India, we understand that they'll be asleep, so why not say we operate at these times, and people will understand that, rather than pretending redirect to an American number, where you're expecting somebody to pick up the phone. But they're picking it up from India at 3 o'clock in the morning. It's forced us to be hanging on to the phone for a long time, while nobody has got any intention of picking up the phone. In terms of my rating of the solution, I have to do so on two levels. The first is the implementation and that would be a two out of 10. It was bad. But in terms of once it's operating, I would give it a nine.