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Independent Reviews of Network Hardware and Software



Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veritas Backup Exec 15



Acronis Backup 12 backs up and restores data far more quickly. It costs less, is simpler to license
and Is easier to use. Moreover, we feel Veritas is financially a risky choice.

by Barry Nance

Executive Summary

Acronis Backup is:

  •          Much faster
  •          More feature-rich
  •          Easier to use
  •          More affordable
  •          Developed by a successful, stable vendor

Acronis Backup is clearly more reliable, more scalable, simpler to license and it supports more platforms. Acronis easily wins the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best backup and restore product.


Success and Failure in Business

A vendor’s financial health is a factor in choosing a product. Although rarely mentioned in a review, it’s as important as performance, features, ease of use and price. Consider the following facts regarding Veritas:

  • In 2005, Symantec bought Veritas for $13.5 billion
  • In 2015, Symantec agreed to sell Veritas to the Carlyle Group for just $8 billion
  • Following Symantec’s disappointing data backup product financial results, the Carlyle Group renegotiated the acquisition price down to only $7 billion

Click here for a Reuters business story on the sale of the Veritas company.

A cautionary note: Business analysts forecast that Veritas will have to fire many of its employees and stop the development of some of its products (perhaps Backup Exec?) in order to be profitable again.

Acronis Backup easily proved in this review to be the better product for backing up and restoring data. Because Acronis Backup needed less time to perform backup as well as restore operations, our simulated data center was more productive. Acronis Backup gave us several other reasons for making it this review’s winner:

  • Acronis Backup is intuitive and easy to use
  • It has more features
  • It costs less and licensing is simpler
  • It works with more operating systems and applications

The ideal data backup/recovery tool 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 organization. The best data backup/recovery tool does it job quickly, consumes few computing resources and is affordable.

A number of vendors offer data backup and data recovery products that, along with a disaster recovery plan, shield you from the risk of data loss and business interruption. Which one is best suited for your IT operations?

We evaluated two market-leading data backup/recovery products in our U.S. Alabama network laboratory to discovery which we could recommend to you. The two products were Acronis Backup 12 and Veritas Backup Exec 15.

Our testing revealed that Acronis Backup 12 is faster, offers more features, uses fewer computing resources, is easier to administer and is less expensive than Veritas Backup Exec 15. Acronis Backup easily won the head-to-head competition, earning itself the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best data backup/recovery product.

We benchmarked Acronis Backup and Veritas Backup Exec in three different computing environments and situations:

  • “Small Data” – a group of servers or a small data center with 20 GB of data
  • “Medium Data” – a data center hosting and processing 185 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 20 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 Veritas Backup Exec in all our Small Data tests – 45 percent faster for backups and 30 percent faster for restores.

Figure 1. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veritas Backup Exec 15 average backup and restore elapsed times for 20 GB of data.

In the second (“Medium Data”) environment, Acronis Backup’s performance again greatly exceeded that of Veritas Backup Exec.

Acronis Backup completed backup operations 46 percent quicker than Veritas Backup Exec and data recovery operations 31 percent faster on average.

Figure 2 graphically depicts each product’s Medium Data results.


Figure 2. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veritas Backup Exec 15 average backup and restore elapsed times for 185 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 33 percent faster than Veritas Backup Exec and recovery operations 30 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 Veritas Backup Exec for disk-to-disk backup operations.

Figure 3. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veritas Backup Exec 15 average backup and restore elapsed times for 4.2 TB of data.

To measure Acronis Backup’s and Veritas Backup Exec’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 Veritas Backup Exec 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.

Using Acronis Backup in one series of tests and Veritas Backup Exec 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 15.8 minutes to restore data to the servers and resume the OLTP application. In contrast, the Veritas Backup Exec administrator took 20.4 minutes, making Acronis Backup 29% faster. Figure 4 illustrates these results.

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

Figure 4. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Veritas Backup Exec 15 average elapsed RTO/RPO recovery times.

Usability and Features

The easy-to-use, data-centric 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.

Acronis Backup is image-based, which means it intercepts and copies individual operating system disk-write operations. Veritas Backup Exec 15 is file-based. However, Veritas does offer image-based backups in Veritas System Recovery Server Edition (and Virtual Edition), both of which unfortunately lack file-level integration with Backup Exec 15.

Backup Exec 15 essentially consists of its predecessor version, Backup Exec 2014, with the addition of fairly minor enhancements to support some later versions or extra capabilities of VMware (such as vSphere 6.0), Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 12c, Linux and Windows Server.

Acronis Backup and Veritas Backup Exec screens:

Backup Exec 15 retains the confusing and counter-productive new user interface that Symantec had added to Backup Exec 2012. Unfortunately, it makes Backup Exec server-centric rather than data-centric. For example, with Backup Exec 15’s user interface, an administrator must manipulate one or several server backup jobs to add data to a backup set. Strangely, many (but not all) of Backup Exec’s screens still have “Symantec” in their titles, not “Veritas.”

If you have multiple site backups, both Acronis Backup and Backup Exec 15 consolidate and centralize backup status information from all sites.

Acronis Backup disaster recovery (Bare Metal Restore, or BMR) is easier to use than Backup Exec’s disaster recover (SDR). Acronis Backup supports bare metal recovery of Linux systems as well as Windows on the same or dissimilar hardware, but Backup Exec 15 supports only Windows. Acronis even supports BMR for VMware ESXi.

Restoring data with Acronis Backup

Restoring data with Veritas

Cloud Backup and Recovery

Veritas Backup Exec can access Amazon, Google, Microsoft or Quantum Q-Cloud Protect clouds. However, you must create a unique backup job for each cloud access and then manually edit the jobs’ configurations for cloud access. Thereafter, you must manually edit and administer those backup jobs. They’re outside Backup Exec 15’s purview.

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.

With Acronis, you can also use Microsoft Azure Storage as a backup destination.

Ease of Licensing
The feature-inclusive nature of Acronis’ licensing makes Acronis Backup 12 far easier to buy than Veritas Backup Exec 15.

Veritas charges additional license fees for Backup Exec 15 features and options such as deduplication, image-based backup, synthetic (incremental) backups, etc. Making sure you specify exactly the right Veritas components – not too many, and certainly not too few – can be a nightmare. To understand the Veritas license fee for a particular component, you must know the “band” or tier assigned you by Veritas. You must also discover whether your Veritas license is a competitive upgrade, cross-grade, expired maintenance or regular purchase. Veritas licensing is a confusing three-dimensional maze.

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

Acronis’ licensing is simple and straightforward in comparison.

Also be aware that Symantec started a practice of intrusive license compliance audits in 2015, and Veritas has continued the effort. These compliance audits have caused some customers to seek replacements for their Veritas products.

Table 1. Acronis Backup License Fees



Server (physical/cloud, Windows/Linux)


Virtual Host (VMware/Hyper-V)


Client Workstation (PC/Macintosh)


Acronis Cloud

$ 499 per year for 500 GB

Acronis license fees are feature-inclusive. They include universal restore, support for Microsoft applications, host and VM backup, image and file-based backup, any type of storage, Acronis Instant Restore, on-premise and cloud web-based console.

Table 2. Veritas Backup Exec License Fees



Backup Exec Capacity Edition


per TB

Backup Exec Server



per server

Agent for Windows


per agent

Agent for Applications and Databases


per agent

Agent for VMware and Hyper-V


per server

Agent for Linux


per agent

Deduplication Option


per server

Enterprise Server Option (contains ADBO)


per server

Desktop and Laptop


for 10 users

V-Ray Edition


per CPU

NDMP Option


per server

System Recovery Server



per server

System Recovery Virtual



per server

Virtual Tape Library Option


per device

Agent for Mac


per agent

These are per feature, per machine, per agent license fees. Note that deduplication, synthetic (incremental) backups, agents, etc. are a la carte.

You can see that Acronis Backup is far less expensive than Veritas Backup Exec 15. A Veritas customer who wants to make incremental backups will pay $2,890.50 per server for the Enterprise Server Option, which includes Veritas’s Disk-based Option (ADBO). Veritas customers with virtual tape libraries pay an extra $2,890.50 per VTL device. And, ironically, the extra cost of Veritas’s deduplication option ($1,414.50 per server) means that customers who use deduplication to reduce disk storage costs will not save as much money as they had hoped.


Acronis Backup 12 emerged the winner in all our tests. It clearly offers better performance, better features and lower costs than Veritas Backup Exec 15. Acronis is also the less risky choice.

Vendor Info

Acronis Backup 12

Veritas Backup Exec 15

  Acronis International GmbH

  Veritas Technologies, LLC





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.

Copyright 2016 Network Testing Labs


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