Acronis is one of the largest developers of backup software. As such, you can expect a high level of thought put into every aspect of Acronis Backup Advanced for Windows Servers. This server backup software comes with a suite of backup and restore tools that you can tailor to your physical, virtual and cloud networks. This scalability makes it a valuable addition to your server backup strategy, because it can handle your business needs as you grow. The software has a very light resource footprint and no major learning curves, so you don't need to be an IT expert with a maxed-out server system to use it effectively.
The minimum RAM requirement for Acronis Backup Advanced is 420MB, which is the second-lowest RAM requirement in our review. In our tests, the CPU usage for the server side received a B+ because it used an average of 18 percent of the CPU during backups and recoveries. The client side received an A- because it used even less.
The light resource footprint is one of the best features of Acronis Backup Advanced. Compared to other server backup solutions, it has the least impact on the RAM and CPU, which means that you can run backup sets and restore data while other programs are running. You can back up an employee's computer and they likely won't notice.
In our tests, Acronis Backup Advanced had an average compression rate of 27 percent. While this wasn't the best compression rate in our test, which was 35 percent, it's still one of the highest compression rates. If you were backing up a 1TB drive, the backed-up data would only require 730GB of storage. It would save you 270GB. However, compression rates can vary by file type and existing compression, so your experience could differ. But since every product in our review compressed the same files, the results are comparative.
You can set up quick incremental and differential backups of your servers with options to back up your network on local, remote and cloud locations. All the while, the data deduplication feature ensures that your backup doesn't consist of copies, which keeps the storage requirements more manageable. In addition, you can encrypt your backups with three options: 128-bit, 192-bit and 256-bit AES cipher encryption. This means that you can store your archived backups off-site without fear of the data being stolen.
Once of the best features of Acronis Backup Advanced is the instant recovery, or recovery-in-place. This recovery feature launches the backed-up data onto a virtual server so that users can still access the data while you work to restore the original server. There is virtually no downtime. In addition, the disk-imaging restoration allows you to store entire disks to dissimilar hardware on a granular level. This allows you to convert backups of physical servers to virtual machines (physical to virtual) and convert work in progress from those virtual machines back to bare metal (virtual to physical) and even dissimilar hardware.
Acronis Backup Advanced has one of the smallest learning curves of any of the server backup software we reviewed. We simulated the most common small-business scenario – the business has someone who has some technical experience with servers, but isn't an IT expert.
The installation was the easiest part of the software, receiving the only A in our server backup software comparison, because our tester was able to install it without consulting the user guide. In fact, the software was installed and ready to run backup drives in less than 20 minutes. It was the only product we tested that received an A, as this is typically very complicated software being installed on a complicated server.
The backup and restore features received a B, which means that they have a small learning curve. You can implement backup and recoveries from anywhere in the world, as long as you are on a computer with an internet connection. When you combine this with the wake-on-LAN feature, you can essentially access any computer connected to your network and run backups without having to physically access the computers. However, even a tech-savvy administrator will have to consult the user guide to make the most of these features. Fortunately, the user guide is well written and easy to follow.
The interface received a B as well. The centralized web-based management console makes Acronis Backup Advanced very easy to use, but the number of features and tools make it too easy to get lost in. You'll need to rely on the user guide until you get used to navigating it.
Another advantage is the integration with the cloud service, which received an A in our tests. You can fully integrate the Acronis Cloud Backup service with Acronis Backup Advanced, which means that you can back up straight to the cloud. While this saves physical server space and can provide immediate geo-redundant protection, it can limit quick recovery times, so it's best used for data that you don't need restored quickly. This saves physical server space and ensures geo-redundant storage.
According to Acronis' support team, the emergency response time from one of its IT experts is four hours, which is average. This is a support feature that lets you request help from one of Acronis' IT experts. When you experience a major issue with the software and submit a support ticket, this is how long it takes, on average, for the support expert to contact you. For low-level problems, the website features excellent resources, like software guides, documentation, user forums and a knowledgebase.
Acronis also offers 24/7 telephone and email support, including remote assistance. There is a chat option as well, but we were a little less than impressed with the help we received there, mostly because the support agent kept linking us to the Acronis site blog rather than answering our questions directly.
Acronis Backup Advanced for Windows Server is the best server backup software in our review because it offers a comprehensive list of backup and restore features, doesn't require an IT expert to manage, and won't crash your server when it runs backup sets. It's scalable for most networks, so it can grow with your needs. With this software, you can run your servers confidently, knowing that your data is safe.
How Does Your Business Stack Up? Get a Free Business Report Card!Get My Report Card