Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Vembu BDR Suite.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
They said they can support Red Hat Virtualization and we assumed that they support any compatible system but we found we need to do a network backup or a network image, which is not what it said on their website. I have had many discussions with them about where this component is. Initially, I was searching for a component which would back up Red Hat Virtualization. They said they support this in the same way they support Hyper-V and VMware. I haven't found the feature in their portal or in any of their software. They haven't made a special agent for it, in the way they did for Hyper-V. When we were in negotiations and discussing this with their pre-sales, we said we haven't found any documents from them talking about how they support Red Hat Virtualization. At the end of the day they said, "No, we deal with Red Hat Virtualization in the same way that we take an image of a file through the network." It's not native in the solution itself. For VMware they have a special agent. But for Red Hat, it's just a network backup, the same as files. When I asked about a license to support Red Hat, they said you just take the network backup and it will do the same job. For the moment, that is fine for us. We will take the image. But it is not what we expected from the product.
They keep on improving and I can't see anything that they need to add for now.
There are bugs. For one month, I encountered a big issue where my storage pool could not be identified. My backups were stopped because they were not able to locate the storage pool. So, I removed the settings and started the backups again. The application is not stable. It needs some debugging and testing on the build side of production. We use Vembu with Microsoft Hyper-V. While the installation is not a problem, there is a problem with the operation side of things. It should be automated. There is something wrong with the structure affecting the product because the backup should not be disturbed. We found without any changes to the network structure then the backups would be affected and I could not fix it by myself. I did not contact support for this, as it was probably due to the new update, but I am unsure. Now, I am monitoring this issue.
What would have been most valuable for me, would have been the convenience and ease of doing the VMware backups along with the ability to provide a low-level, file level, restore all capability without having to structure the detailed Windows Backups association. So, an ease of setup with a granularity of a restore all capability without having to use a standard Windows Backup. I would need to upgrade my VM environment for this to work currently.
With the configuration of backups, there are a few things I would change with the UI. One thing that I reported with the backups: When there are accentuated characters in a path, then we can't restore documents into a folder. There is a bug with the restoration and restoring files with accentuated characters in the path. Hopefully, they have repaired this because otherwise we will restore files and find out that they are not there.
The user interface isn't that good. I don't think that the product is user-friendly. Comparing it side by side to Acronis, I would say to Vembu, "Hey, you could make your user interface a little easier." Vembu will tell you the next scheduled backup, but it doesn't show you the last successful backup. I would have them include a column under "List of Backup Jobs" and have two other columns which say, "Last Successful Backup" and "Next Scheduled Backup", because you don't know now if it's backed up successfully. It just says, "The next scheduled time is this." You don't know from looking at that pane of glass when the last time it actually happened without digging further into reports.
The system died twice and it was apparently the result of corrupted disk sectors. I tried to work with tech support to fix it, but they essentially gave up. So twice, I had to rebuild our server. I don't know why that happened and tech support didn't seem particularly concerned about figuring it out. That's my only complaint.
The product's stability needs some improvements. The support is a bit slow in resolving an issue. It takes a long time to recover.
The encryption feature seems okay. When you change versions, then I have found it to have problems. An example: I was on version 3.9, and I had an encrypted VM. It was restored from version 4 onto a newer Hyper-V server. So, I went from maybe a 2008 to 2012, and it was restored and then it didn't restore, and because of those changes, it didn't like the encryption. But, generally if the version and the hypervisor version are the same, then you shouldn't have any problems with it. There was one issue though with the hardware IDs. When I went to a different version of Hyper-V, the hardware IDs weren't restored and the machine got two new IDs. The preliminary unique IDs weren't restored, so I had to reactivate programs. That was the only downside.
The only thing with room for improvement, as everybody says, since I'm in a home lab, would be the price for the CPU; the cost. If I were to add another CPU, I would start to get into an expense where I would question, "Do I really want to continue backing this stuff up?" But from what I could tell, this was definitely the least expensive option to go with.
The problem that I had getting this up and running was that when I put in a backup plan, and wanted to run that backup plan, that plan had to go onto the server that it's going to do the backup on, and it had to pass on credentials. It would be nice, when you create the credentials for logging on to the server, if it would immediately verify that those credentials work. What ended up happening is I'd have to wait until nighttime to really figure out whether those credentials were valid or not. That prompted me to call support.
The reporting can use some improvement. I still use the old StoreGrid Cloud while I'm migrating the rest of my clients over. I am able to export all of my clients' usage for the month, which I then import into my billing program. It helps me speed up the billing process. Also, I can generate a report that gives me statuses of everyone's backup, which I don't get from Vembu Backup Online either. I would like to have something similar where I can export everyone's usage at any time for all their backups, so I can use that to import them to my billing program. I would also like to be able to have a report where I can check the status of everyone's backup. Right now, I have it programmed to where I get an email for every backup sent to me. Then, I read those emails and chart them on an Excel spreadsheet separately: success, failure, etc. I keep a weekly log of that. If I had a report, it would make this process a lot easier. I used to be able to manage the amount of space allocated to each client. Right now, I can't. I have to send in a request if I want to add space to this one or create space for another.
We have not been able to move our backups from one drive to another one. We can only create a storage pool. However, if we want to change a drive, it is not possible to delete one drive as long there is data on it. For this, we have to call the support. While they can solve this, it is not out-of-the-box. If there is a failure, the logging for the backups could be better. Sometimes, I miss some features from the old solution.
We are still exploring its features, but we want to see more features that we desire over time.
The deduplication could be better. It doesn't give the level of deduplication that I would get with a product that's stored in a more standard file format. I would prefer to be able to use a non-deduplicated store on a third-party deduplicated medium. But as far as the compression and the general structure go, I have no problems with them at all. Having some flexibility for the backup to be stored in a non-deduplicated fashion so that we could store it on more high-efficiency storage would be helpful; either that or improvement to the data deduplication. The amount of storage it requires for the backup store is excessive, compared to other solutions.
In the beginning, when we had some hiccups, I would chalk that up more to a learning curve for the product. Once we understood how it operated - where we thought it was doing something a certain way and it was not - it was easy to understand, once it was pointed out. The times when we've had problems, they've not been repeated problems, they've been addressed, and it was more learning curve issues. With any software there is a learning curve. Not all backup software operates exactly the same way, so some things were a little bit different. But once we understood why and how they worked, it made sense. It was sometimes a different approach, but not a problem for us.
The only place where I would really want to see improvement, out the gate, is more granular scheduling. With the previous solution that we were using, you could pick different times based on different days. Right now, with Vembu, I just have every X number of hours on these days, but if I want to do an offset or to only do two backups on Friday and Saturday - versus whole hourly incrementals during the week - I don't have that granularity. That would be something that I would be looking for.
Vembu software runs on a Windows Server. The Windows Server has to be connected to the internet so it can connect with Vembu’s servers. It has to connect with Vembu. For some reason, if it doesn't connect, it stops working, and I don't know why on earth they do that. They require it to connect to the internet and connect with Vembu for it to continue to function. If the internet is down or if the server can't reach the internet, it stops working after a few days. That's not great because there are some people who want to do backups but they don't want to have their server accessible on the internet. I think that's a horrible design, but it's purposely built in that way. It's something that they put in the product, and I don't know why they did that. To me, that’s a terrible design. If you bought a new car in the year 2525, a Ford, and your car had to have a connection to the Ford dealership or the Ford company and the connection stopped, and then your Ford car was going to stop working in three days, what would you think about that? But that's the way this software works. They did it, and it’s a horrible design. That's what I don't like about it.
Vembu is presented more like a multi-platform tool, where you have paper features, VMware, and Hyper-V. I would like to have a different set of products instead of having a single software which does everything. This could be beneficial. Nowadays, I don't know of a lot of people who are using tapes anymore. If you are using tapes, you don't do backup to the cloud, for instance. Therefore, maybe have a legacy version, then a cloud plus application version. It is not a well-known software. People do not know about Vembu. This is not a high-end product.
There's a feature that does syncing with AWS Cloud backup online. It's not that straightforward to get it set up.
If the English accent of the support agents was a little better, so that we, as the users, could understand it better, that would be nice. It's very hard to understand the support people when we talk to them because of the accent.
We sent a letter complaining about how the lack of customer service has caused us problems. We're actually dumping Vembu and we're going with Veeam, and we're asking for our money back. The thing that needs to be improved most is their customer support. The product itself is fine, but the customer support is basically nonexistent. Instead of helping us meet new challenges it has actually caused us problems. We wanted a backup solution so that we could quickly back up and recover all of our customer virtual machines. In case something happened to the hardware, we could quickly recover it on different hardware. We looked at different solutions such as Veeam and Vembu. Vembu was recommended to us and we found it to be cheaper than Veeam but, unfortunately, because they're based in India, not in North America, the customer service doesn't even provide phone support. We had a lot of problems getting it configured in the first place. They also wanted us to allow them remote access to our machines without us watching what they're doing, which is a huge security risk for us. We said we couldn't do that, and they said they don't offer any phone support whatsoever. The product itself actually works mostly well. One of the features of the product is Application-Aware and that does not work properly. When we tested it with the Veeam product, it did work properly. We tried to get it to work, to get support to help get it working. It went back and forth for about two weeks through email, trying to get help to get this feature working, and it just did not work.
One issue that we are facing is that, during the evaluation period, we had some jobs that were replicating three virtual machines from one ESXi to another. Then, during the license purchase and activation, that Replication functionality was disabled because we are not licensed for it. As a result, we have one job left, the replication job that we were running, but since we don't have access to that area of the product we now, we are unable to delete that job. I need assistance on how to unlist that job. Otherwise, we have no issues. It's functioning as expected and we're getting the results that we were expecting from the product.
I am still testing restores and it seems some problems may be related to our hardware. Because we have not implemented the correct hardware yet I cannot be sure where the problem is.
I have not been impressed by the data compression of the backup images. They seem to take up nearly as much space on the backup drive as they do on the server.
I suggest that the dump of the database have the option to either be backed up to Vembu Cloud or be backed up to all backup sites and not only to default storage. If the backup server crashes I create another backup server and use the backups and the database dumps. I have to use the default path of the backups. It would be a great option if I could just import the backup files.
I do have one suggestion for them. The process is a bit cumbersome when you remove an agent, delete that job, and add the agent to the same server. Even though the agent is already installed in that server, the system does not recognize it. We have to uninstall the current agent, restart the server, install the push agent - a new agent - and then restart the server. I think they should try to avoid that. Symantec doesn’t work that way. You push the agent once, the agent stays in the server for good.
Live support would be helpful. I've communicated with them via email and through incidents. It might be better if you could have a chat or phone call because backups are important. You don't want to wait for an email. I know of other vendors that have a number you can call; they have people around the clock. It would be good to have a number you can call and your call is answered and taken care of, because backups normally occur at night, not during the day. I would also like to see more documentation or videos. They have some videos out there on how to do steps, or for training, or to help you know more about their product. Another leftover issue is that when you get notifications via email on an iPhone, there is only a certain amount of space to view it without having to open the email itself. I have four backup jobs. Their subject line shows "Vembu backup software..." and at the very end they put the server name and whether it succeeded or failed. I asked them if they could put the server name, and whether it succeeded or failed, first. That way, when I look through my emails it tells me whether it's succeeded or failed, and which server. Currently what I have to do is open up each email, and then scroll through to the very end, because it's a very long subject line. They say it's not customizable, and that they are going to look at improving on that in the future.
It is very easy, unless you know exactly what you're doing, to corrupt the virtual machines and they get locked up. Just brief detail: When you are creating a system, if you don't have absolutely every other little background processes in place, it creates Snapshots of the virtual machines. Once it does that, it then won't be able to have a backup. From that point on you have to destroy the virtual machine, which is completely counterproductive on a large system. There is a fundamental flaw in the setup that can be very dangerous, potentially. So that needs to be avoided; whoever writes the software for doing that needs to make sure that that cannot happen. I have fed that back to the developers. I don't know whether they're going to make that change, but they can't put that responsibility onto customers. It's their software that needs to be able to not allow that to happen. I've not had any response to say, "Yes, we'll do it." So that's a little bit of a fault as well. When we do give feedback we don't get any commitment. Like this survey, we're being asked the questions, but when we give feedback, we don't actually get any response at all.