Acronis update aims to make VMs safer

The latest version of Acronis's vmProtect software brings features to speed up recovery, integrate with VMware's software and resurrect virtual machines onto new hardware in the case of total server failure
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Acronis has launched the third version of its virtual machine management, backup and recovery software, Acronis vmProtect 7.

The software was released worldwide on Tuesday. New features allow administrators to run virtual machines directly from their backups, integrate the software directly with VMware's vCenter management software, and facilitate virtual machine resurrection in the case of hardware failure.

"VMware is a clear leader in the enterprise space and the small and medium-sized business space," Laurent Dedenis, president of worldwide sales and marketing for Acronis, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. "We built vmProtect for all those small and medium-sized businesses that are virtualising in a hurry."

The software has a perpetual licence of £375 per processor. It integrates with Microsoft Exchange objects, so administrators don't need to create two storage sections — one for Microsoft and one for everything else — when designing their backup environment.

In the case of server failures, virtual machines can now be recovered from one server to another with dissimilar hardware via a 'bare metal recovery' (BMR) feature.

The software is targeted at small businesses, who may not even have a dedicated storage IT worker, so usability is a priority: vmProtect 7 comes with a simple GUI and a semi-automated disaster recovery plan that supports remote backup and recovery services.

Cloud competition

Acronis's product faces competition from large IT companies, such as Amazon, which are attempting to gain a foothold in private datacentres by providing cloud-based backup and recovery solutions.

In late January Amazon launched the Amazon Web Services Storage Gateway beta, a piece of software that hooks into on-premise applications via a software agent that is installed on a business's server; it then provides a backup and recovery service to Amazon's S3 storage cloud.

Amazon is priced properly for large SMBs maybe, but not for small SMBs.
– Laurent Dedenis, Acronis

"Amazon is priced properly for large SMBs maybe, but not for small SMBs," said Acronis's Dedenis. "Finding their own datacentre is going to be a lot cheaper than working through Amazon," he added.

Although Amazon regularly cuts the cost of its cloud — it last reduced storage costs in February — Dedenis believes the gap between using Amazon's storage and simply buying drives for use in a private datacentre is still too large.

He noted that the cost-per-gigabyte of storage on modern hard drives today typically runs to around $0.03-$0.04 (2-3p). According to Amazon's most recent prices, the cost of storing the first terabyte of information in S3 in its Ireland datacentres is around $0.12 per gigabyte, per month.

"[Amazon's] cost is going to reduce, this gap is going to reduce, but it's still very significant," said Dedenis.

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