Which backup products should I test?

An open letter to my IT Pro friends:

It’s been several months since I last set up my Dallas test lab for playing with the various Data Protection products in market. I used to change one of the backup tools every few months, but it’s been a busy year, so I am going to refresh all of them. To be clear, this is not a ‘free Lab Validation‘ – but it does give me some hands-on experiential insights to what are the most current DP tools in market, which may appear in blogs/articles/etc. down the road. I test several in-parallel, so here is what I am looking for your suggestions on me testing up to four products:

Cloud-Backup or Cloud-Storage for on-prem backup (see below) – looking for something that uses Windows Azure storage/services or AWS Glacier. My last six months were using a BaaS solution that stored my data directly with the service provider. And the time before that, I tried AWS.

Hyper-V backup – must include granular file-item recovery and some type of rapid-VM-restore feature. Equitable vSphere backups is a plus. My last tests were using a VMware-centric tool, so I am mixing it up.

Unified solution – must be able to protect the same WinSvr 2012 server as above and a few Win 7/8 machines, as well as Hyper-V and vSphere VMs, writing to both disk (will be my iSCSI Drobo) and an LTO tape drive. Am currently using an LTO5 drive, but hopeful to eval an LTO6 in the future. Software-based deduplication is a plus.

– I’d like to add a virtualized deduplication appliance to my test bed. As stated earlier, my last test bed ran on my vSphere host, so this time, I’ll be running things on a WinSvr 2012 Hyper-V host – backup solution and deduplication appliance, if possible. I’d be open to running a physical appliance, but it would have to be a small-business form factor (110 power and quiet) and I’d need to secure a long-term eval unit with a vendor.

My only rule is that the initial software must be gold-code (no beta, sorry) as of 8/30/13. Will be downloading trial software and setting up baseline backups and replication over Labor Day Weekend, and then will ask vendors for extended keys for those installs that go well (6+ months).

So, what do y’all suggest? I have a few VMs that create minor data churn, but most of my production data is relatively flat, which means that these tests are for user-experience/function, not performance/scale.

Please feel free to leave your suggestions as comments below, email or tweet me.

As always, thanks for reading.

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