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Independent Reviews of Network Hardware and Software

 

NETWORK TESTING LABS REVIEW

Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veeam Availability Suite 9

 

 



Acronis Backup was nearly twice as fast as Veeam. It was also easier to use and less expensive
than Veeam. A critical difference: Acronis backs up virtual, physical AND cloud IaaS environments.

by Barry Nance

Executive Summary

Acronis Backup:
        •    Is 60% to as much as 100% faster
        •    Works with virtual machines, physical systems and cloud VMs
        •    Costs far less
        •    Is intuitive, responsive and easier to use

The Acronis Backup developers have done an excellent job. Impressively, Acronis Backup jobs (both backup and restore operations) only took a little more than half the time that Veeam needed. Acronis Backup was far easier to use and it helped us better manage our data. Acronis Backup easily wins the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best backup and restore product.

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Time is Money - Quicker Backups Are Better
Making backup copies of your data is absolutely necessary. Ironically, the backup operation performs no information processing – no edits, no computations, no analyses, no business reports and no information updates. The less time the backup operation takes, the quicker your server (and client) machines can get back to doing real work. This is true whether you make backup copies once a day or many times throughout the day.

The ideal data backup/recovery product stores up-to-date copies of your data in one or more safe locations. It’s easy to use, produces useful reports, gives you finely-granular recovery of important data and works with the computing platforms you have in your data center(s). It protects all your environments – physical, virtual and cloud – and it can move data and systems from one environment to another.

Significantly, the best data backup/recovery tool does its job quickly, consumes few computing resources and is affordable.

In addition to a good data backup/recovery product, you also need a flexible disaster recovery plan that allows for all the different data recovery options you might face.

We evaluated two market-leading data backup/recovery products in our U.S. Alabama network laboratory to discover which we should recommend to you. The two products were Acronis Backup 12 and Veeam Availability Suite 9.




Our testing revealed that Acronis Backup is far better than Veeam Availability Suite at protecting data. Acronis Backup performed backup and restore operations much faster – typically using almost half the time that Veeam Availability Suite needed. It uses fewer computing resources, is easier to administer and is considerably less expensive than Veeam Availability Suite. Significantly, Acronis Backup supports physical, virtual and cloud computing environments, but Veeam only works with virtual environments.

Acronis Backup easily wins this head-to-head competition. It earns itself the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best data backup/recovery product.




Performance

We benchmarked Acronis Backup and Veeam Availability Suite in three different computing environments and situations:

  • “Small Data” – a group of servers or a small data center with 22 GB of data
  • “Medium Data” – a data center hosting and processing 235 GB of data
  • “Big Data” – 4.2 TB, with most of the data in a large database
  • RTO/RPO system recovery time (i.e., disaster recovery)

In the first test environment (“Small Data”), we measured the elapsed time to back up and restore 22 GB of server data stored on a variety of computers – file servers, email servers, Web servers and database servers. Figure 1 shows the averaged results.

Acronis Backup was significantly faster than Veeam Availability Suite in all our Small Data tests – 61 percent faster for backups and 65 percent faster for restores.




Note that Veeam Availability Suite had to work at the virtual machine level and could not back up or recover physical machines, as Acronis Backup can and did.




Figure 1. Acronis Backup vs. Veeam Availability Suite average backup and restore elapsed times for 22 GB of data.




In the second (“Medium Data”) environment, Acronis Backup’s performance again exceeded Veeam Availability Suite’s by a wide margin. Acronis Backup completed backup operations 70 percent quicker than Veeam Availability Suite and data recovery operations 78 percent faster on average. Note, that these are average figures for a number of test iterations. The fastest time in one of the iterations for Acronis Backup 12 backup was 35.6 minutes, while Veeam Availability Suite has shown times as slow as 71.2 minutes – making Acronis Backup 100% faster than Veeam. Figure 2 graphically depicts each product’s Medium Data results. 




Figure 2. Acronis Backup vs. Veeam Availability Suite average backup and restore elapsed times for 235 GB of data.





Our “Big Data” tests used a multi-Terabyte database that we “sliced” horizontally into 6 shards, with each shard containing data for a particular global region. Acronis Backup finished backup operations 68 percent faster than Veeam Availability Suite and recovery operations 70 percent faster. Figure 3 shows the averaged results.




For all three environments, Acronis Backup needed, on average, 12 percent less backup server disk space than did Veeam Availability Suite for backup operations.




Figure 3. Acronis Backup vs. Veeam Availability Suite average backup and restore elapsed times for 4.2 TB of data.




To measure Acronis Backup’s and Veeam Availability Suite’s Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) performance, we simulated the destruction of four Windows Server computers containing a total of 50 GB in a single data center. One of these computers ran SQL Server 2008, one ran Internet Information Server (IIS), one ran an OLTP business application and the fourth was the backup server. In our tests, both Acronis Backup and Veeam Availability Suite copied data from primary servers to backup servers at a second data center at a remote location. Four computers at the remote location stood by, waiting to go to work in case of a disaster. We measured the minutes needed to recover data and resume operations.

For Veeam Availability Suite’s sake, note that all the servers – at both the primary and secondary locations – were virtualized with VMware ESXi. Veeam does not support physical environments. If any of the servers in our disaster recovery scenario were not virtualized, Veeam Availability Suite would have been useless. Also note that Veeam’s backup/restore software cannot restore a VMware environment onto a Hyper-V environment (or vice versa) – the primary and secondary data centers must use the same hypervisor. The much more flexible Acronis Universal Restore can recover data to any physical or virtual machine.

Using Acronis Backup in one series of tests and Veeam Availability Suite in another series of tests, the administrator at the remote location restored the transferred data onto the waiting secondary servers. The test concluded when the administrator had restored all servers and had brought the OLTP application back online.



In the Acronis Backup tests, the administrator needed just 12.5 minutes to restore data to the servers and resume the OLTP application. In contrast, the Veeam Availability Suite administrator took 21.8 minutes. Figure 4 illustrates these results.

Acronis Backup was the clear winner in our disaster recovery testing.




Figure 4. Acronis Backup vs. Veeam Availability Suite average elapsed RTO/RPO recovery times.



Usability and Features

Acronis Backup works equally well in physical, virtual, cloud and hybrid environments. Unfortunately, Veeam Availability Suite only works in virtual environments. Moreover, Acronis Backup supports physical Windows, Linux, cloud Microsoft Azure VMs, Amazon EC2 instances and a multitude of other platforms. Veeam Availability Suite only works with VMware products and Hyper-V, with no interoperability between them. Sadly, Veeam has a history of adding features that first support only VMware and then, only several months later, Hyper-V.

Veeam Availability Suite uses Microsoft design standards and Microsoft user interface guidelines to present a tree view of backup sets and objects. Veeam Availability Suite’s user interface is not as intuitive or as responsive as that in Acronis Backup. Also note that you must have at least one VM actively running in order to administer Veeam Availability Suite.




Acronis Backup and Veeam screens:



The easy-to-use Acronis Backup interface presents an administrator with clear, uncomplicated task choices (i.e., back up now, recover, create a backup plan and manage my account), a list of recent alerts and a list of recent activities.

If you have multiple site backups, both Acronis Backup and Veeam Availability Suite consolidate and centralize backup status information from all sites.

Note that Veeam Availability Suite operates only in the virtual world and cannot perform Bare Metal Restore (BMR) operations. In contrast, Acronis Backup can restore both Windows and Linux machines to their most recent running states on the same or dissimilar hardware. Also, Acronis Backup can protect physical servers, virtual servers, cloud VMs, and workstations (client machines) – both PCs and Macintoshes. Veeam Availability Suite works only with virtual machines.

Restoring data with Acronis Backup


Restoring data with Veeam


Cloud Backup and Recovery

Veeam has discontinued its Cloud Editions. Veeam customers wanting to use a cloud must find a Managed Service Provider (MSP) offering both Veeam support and cloud access.

In contrast, Acronis maintains a set of SSAE-16-certified data centers through which the company offers cloud backup for Acronis Backup customers. Acronis’ cloud backup can be used as a backup and staging destination or a disaster recovery option.


Acronis Backup’s cloud support is built-in, and the cloud is a data target or source just like any other. You don’t need to perform extra configuration steps or use an external tool to access the cloud. With Acronis Backup, backing up to or recovering from the cloud is perfectly seamless and transparent. Depending on bandwidth, of course, it’s also quick and responsive.



Pricing
Acronis’ licensing is per server (host), without regard for the number of CPU sockets. Unfortunately for Veeam customers, Veeam’s licensing is per socket. Servers typically have two, four, six or eight sockets.

A Veeam customer with a very simple configuration of four dual-processor (2 socket) servers requires a license for eight sockets (4 hosts x 2 sockets = 8 licensed sockets). Veeam Availability Suite Enterprise Edition would cost this customer $14,400. If each server had four sockets, the cost doubles to $28,800.


For four hosts, Acronis Backup in a VMware or Hyper-V environment costs only $4,796.

Acronis Cloud for 5 TB is only $4,299. Note that Veeam does not offer cloud access from within Veeam Availability Suite. If you want to use Veeam Availability Suite in a cloud environment, you must find an MSP that offers both Veeam support as well as an MSP-supported cloud that you can access.


The following two tables provide detail on Acronis and Veeam licensing.


Table 1. Acronis Backup License Fees

 License

MSRP

Server (physical/cloud, Windows/Linux)

$999

Virtual Host (VMware/Hyper-V)

$1,199

Client Workstation (PC/Macintosh)

$89

Acronis Cloud

$ 499 per year for 500 GB


These per machine license fees are feature-inclusive. They include universal restore, support of Microsoft Applications, host and VM backup, etc.



Table 2. Veeam License Fees

License

MSRP

Standard

$1,150 per CPU socket

Enterprise

$1,800 per CPU socket

Enterprise Plus

$2,650 per CPU socket


The Standard Edition includes basic backup, Veeam Cloud Connect support, basic recovery and basic replication.

The Enterprise Edition adds SureBackup and SureReplica, On-Demand Sandbox, enhanced recovery for Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and Active Directory, lost password protection and enhanced replication.

Enterprise Plus adds WAN acceleration, backup from NetApp or HP Storage snapshots, secondary backup to NetApp, self-service recovery and the ability to use Veeam's programming interface.



Conclusion

Acronis Backup Advanced emerged the winner in all our tests. It clearly offers better performance, better features and lower costs than Veeam Availability Suite. And it works with physical as well as virtual environments.



Vendor Info

Acronis Backup 12

Veeam Availability Suite 9

Acronis

Veeam

781-782-9000

678-353-2140

www.Acronis.com

www.Veeam.com





Testbed and Methodology

The testbed network consisted of six Gigabit Ethernet subnet domains connected by Cisco routers. Our lab's 150 clients consisted of computing platforms that included Windows 2000/2003/2012 and Windows Vista/7/8, Macintosh 10.x and Red Hat Linux (both server and workstation editions). Our remote testing took place across T3 and OC-9 WAN links.

The relational databases on the network were Oracle and both Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012. The network also contained two Web servers (Microsoft IIS and Apache), three e-mail servers (Exchange, Notes and iMail) and several file servers (Windows 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 servers).

 

Our virtual computing environments consisted of VMware, XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V.

A group of four PowerEdge R720 servers with Dual Xeon E5-26xx processors, 384 GB RAM and 32 TB disk storage and running Windows 2003Server, Windows 2008 Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, was our test platform for all the products’ server components. A second group of four computers simulated our backup site for disaster recovery.



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