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Backup & Recovery Server 11.5 Review

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PROS / Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows provides an all-in-one solution for your small-business backup and recovery needs with scalable options, broad compatibility and world-class support to make sure it works with your network.

CONS / Backup & Recovery Server for Windows provides no backup protection for Advanced Server SBS; you will have to purchase additional Acronis software if SBS is a part of your network.

 VERDICT / Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows provides the most comprehensive set of backup and recovery tools for a variety of network configurations. Its wizard-based routines can have you managing your own backups in no time.

A single Windows Server license can cost you more than your first car. When you add in the cost of equipment, installation and maintenance, spending any more on system backup software might seem like an unnecessary expense. In fact, spending the extra money on a quality Windows server backup software might be the best investment that you make in your network. Server backup software is definitely a product where you can find yourself regretting the decision to sacrifice features for cost savings.

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Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows has a list of features that is as long as it is impressive. With this Windows server backup software, Acronis highlights the needs of many Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) users like you, and maybe even handles a few tasks you hadn’t considered. Archiving, data deduplication, even recovering to dissimilar hardware are features that are all too often taken for granted until you need them.

Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows is the best server backup software for you to use. Its feature-rich tools are packed into a complete set of wizards that take you through the otherwise complex task of setting up a variety of automated features. The Schedule Task, Restore Data and Remote Installation wizards guide you through many of the basic features to help you keep your network recoverable. It also has some of the best documentation and support we’ve ever seen for a Windows server backup, meaning you will be able to get through some of those more complex tasks. For its capabilities and support, Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows is the easy choice for the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner.

Management Tools

The centralized management console is powerful, and all agents work seamlessly with it. Using the console, an administrator can deploy through the Remote Installation Wizard to add physical and virtual machines, create groups, define backup rules and execute tasks via a command-line interface. The software includes numerous reporting options and customized alerting options. Managers can also configure security options, manage groups and password protect backup files in Acronis Secure Zones. It also includes Acronis Disk Director Lite, which allows admins to perform disk-management operations, such as cloning and converting disks; creating, formatting and deleting volumes; changing a disk partitioning style between MBR and GPT; and changing disk labels.

You can configure Acronis to perform tasks in a variety of ways. It includes compression tools. You can set up direct connections between devices; the software supports all scheduling strategies, and it can exclude files from backups. It can be set to automatically delete outdated backups, perform second-tier storage (move backups to second locations) and consolidate incremental and differential backups. It also includes disk-write-speed throttling.

Backup Features

Backup & Recovery Server for Windows does more than just Windows, with compatibility for your attached systems including Microsoft Hyper-V, Exchange, SharePoint and SQL servers. The newest version includes granular file recovery and backup staging for the Acronis Cloud. Remote installation, P2V migration and file recovery from images stored on tape is also available. Acronis provides patented disk-imaging technology to capture entire disks or volumes, and enables you to recover earlier backups to other computers.

The Schedule Task Wizard can help you set up quick incremental backups of disks, and it can back up Exchange servers while they are active. Backup & Recovery Server for Windows can send backups to up to five locations for georedundant storage of critical data, and its data deduplication capabilities help keep the size of your backups to a manageable level. It can power on LAN-connected devices when they are scheduled to be backed up, and it can run assigned applications after a backup is performed.

Specific agents are available for Windows, Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server. Backup media supported includes disks, network folders, FTP, and optical discs. Also supported are cloud-based storage services, including the Acronis Cloud. Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows, however, does not support Advanced Server SBS; you will have to purchase a separate license for support if that is an existing part of your network.

Recovery Options

Acronis provides excellent search and restoration tools. It includes a backup catalog that shows all backups in one view, or you can use Windows Explorer to browse backup files. The Restore Data Wizard can help you locate, identify and install the proper backup to help get your network operational again. When found, displayed files can be sorted by name, size or date.

Acronis is capable of restoring data with any-to-any migrations, even full servers to virtual servers or from tape to server. The software can perform active restores that allows you to use the system while a recovery is taking place. It can perform bare-metal restores, includes a startup recovery manager, creates boot files and automatically changes Windows SIDs after a restore. You can even access the boot menu automatically with a hotkey if your system will not boot correctly to start Acronis Backup & Recovery. In a recovery situation, Backup & Recovery Server for Windows will create a customized disaster recovery plan for you with detailed step-by-step instructions.

Supported Backup Media

Whether you're performing a full system upgrade with all-new equipment or you’ve decided to integrate some of your existing technology, Backup & Recovery Server for Windows has much of your hardware compatibility issues covered. It is just as capable with an IDE-connected HDD as it is with SATA-connected SSDs or scalable storage area network (SAN). That level of support includes RAID arrays and archive tape drives, as well as your external USB- and FireWire- connected drives. Supported backup media even includes file transfer protocol (FTP) sites, online storage services and, of course, the Acronis Cloud.

Regardless of where you choose to store your backups, Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows has you covered with some of the best encryption available. You can rest easy knowing that even your offsite-stored data is secure with a 256-bit AES cipher.

Help & Support

Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows may seem like a large and unwieldy addition to your network, but it is the best. Fortunately, Acronis offers a high level of support to help make you a successful user. Acronis provides many channels for contact, along with some of the best documentation we’ve seen.

Acronis appears to have had a clear objective for your success in mind when establishing its standard of support. The documentation itself is simple enough that even a novice can accomplish a complete system recovery. Beyond that, Acronis offers chat and email support up to and including direct assistance options and 24/7 telephone support.

Summary

Acronis Backup & Recovery Server for Windows provides a fantastic array of features and options for your Windows server backup and recovery needs. It is compatible with all hardware and virtual environments and is an excellent tool for managing data migrations. It can perform universal restores, quickly clone disks, restore full systems within minutes and securely back up data to cloud services. It is fully scalable to manage your complex network needs. It is an ideal backup solution for most any type of business.

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