Acronis Inc. is adding a cloud version of its small- to medium-sized business (SMB) data backup product, and giving customers the option of backing up locally, to the cloud or both. The vendor will launch Acronis Backup and Recovery 10 Online next week at VMworld, building upon its local backup and recovery product for SMBs and its cloud data backup product for consumers.
Acronis' specialty is backing up image-based bare-metal backups and restores of servers and PCs. Acronis first launched Backup and Recovery 10 in July 2009 and added an online consumer version a year ago.
The online product gives customers another layer of backup that can serve as disaster recovery (DR) for SMBs by replacing the need for offsite tape, Acronis VP of business and corporate development Ismail Azeri said. Customers can also use local backup for some data and the cloud for others. For instance, companies can use the online backup for critical files, workstations, or for remote employees while backing up other systems locally.
"We think the market is moving towards a hybrid model," Azeri said, pointing out EMC Corp.'s Mozy Pro added local backup to its online service in May.
Acronis' cloud backup product protects customer data at one of two data centers. One is in the U.S. and the other in Germany. Azeri said the data centers are SAS-704 II facilities and use AES-256 encryption. Acronis also offers an initial seeding and Large Scale Recovery options. For the seeding option, the first backup is placed on a hard drive and sent to the data center for uploading instead of using the customers' bandwidth to move data to the data center. For Large Scale Recovery, Acronis will load a server's backups onto an external hard drive and ship it to the customer.
Pricing for Backup and Recovery 10 Online starts at $49.99 per workstation up to 250 GB of data, $499 per server up to 1 TB, and $1,199 for virtual machines (VMware ESX/vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V) for 2 TB. The seeding option is $100 for up to 2 TB and Large Scale Recovery costs $280 to ship a 2 TB hard drive.
Azeri said Acronis is priced aggressively in the face of heavy competition. Symantec Corp. has a service around Backup Exec, and other vendors with on-premise and local backup for SMBs include EMC Mozy Pro, i365 EVault, SOS Online Backup and VaultLogix.
"This is becoming much more pervasive," Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Lauren Whitehouse said of the hybrid approach. "You can have an on-premise copy and a cloud-based copy of data. If I had to do a whole server recovery from a cloud copy, it would be a real nuisance to drag that over the wire. It would be nice to have that copy locally and do the whole server right from on-premise. And anybody who doesn't want to go offsite to tape for DR or long-term retention has a cloud repository."
She said Acronis' differentiator in the crowded market is its image-level backup, especially for virtual machines.
"It comes down to what type of backup you want," she said. "Some vendors do CDP [continuous data protection], some do image level, and some do file level. And then you look at what kind of optimization they have to make use of bandwidth to the cloud."