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Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by mkyb14 » Jan 27, 2011 5:15 pm

To anyone that might have more insight on this.

The company I work for is currently evaluating the Veeam Essentials Plus. I'm a big fan of it, but the CEO is centered more on AppAssure because of the volume cost. I don't want to let the cost decided what is a better product to choose from. So I need a little help in breaking down the differences between the two, as I'm sure there are features of Veeam that I'm not aware of that might be a scale tipper.

Here are the demo videos on their website
http://www.appassure.com/demos/

On the phone they talked about verifying MYSQL and Exchange DB files in real time vs checking to see if the backup successfully verified. His argument was that who cares if the backup verifies if the MYSQL tables are corrupt. I thought during the demo I had with Veeam that it does have the ability to run scripts and verify this as well.

Any help or insight would be much appreciated as we are coming up to a deadline with a few projects, and I don't want a knee jerk reaction and to choose a product based on price.

Cheers,


Mike

*edit: we are a MSP and service about 70+ clients, so our focused clients are between 10- 70 users depending on the location and company.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Jan 27, 2011 8:21 pm

We do not have competitive comparison with AppAssure, as this is not really a competitor to Veeam, and we never see them in competitive situations... basically, AppAssure does legacy agent-based backups (like some hundred of other legacy vendors out there, obviously we cannot evaluate every single one). This approach requires data mover agent to be installed in each protected VM, like they are physical machines. And this is completely against VMware recommendation to backup virtual machines with agents, as backup agents running in each VM eat host resources, affect other VMs on the same hosts, and reduce consolidation ratio. Basically, it is just too expensive to use agent-based backup from TCO standpoint. You can read some VMware whitepapers for more information about this, they have great papers with detailed explanations why this should be avoided.

You may have noted that right now software companies (at least those with sufficient resources, like Symantec) are all quickly moving to image-level backup for virtual machine, exactly to comply with VMware recommendations... and other smaller companies just keep selling you agent-based backups for VMware in a hope that this "will fly". This is just one example right here...

Bottom line, your CEO should realize that no immediate/upfront discount will really affect TCO for solution much, in a course of few years... think how much money you are going to have to spend on extra ESX hardware, VMware licenses, networking to handle load produced by agent in each VM. One agent kicks in - no big deal. Thousands of agent kick in (on all of your VMs), and your systems are now crawling - you need to buy more resources for your virtual infrastructure for it to be able to handle this load without affecting production VMs. This is all quite obvious after you start thinking in this direction, right?

One other major thing to keep in mind about AppAssure is that it rides on top of Microsoft VSS, and thus does not support backing non-Windows OS, nor older Windows OS without VSS support. I think this is big deal for MSP... you know, most shops today use Linux heavily.

Hope this helps.

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[MERGED] AppAsure

Post by J1mbo » Aug 09, 2012 1:37 pm

This doc makes no reference to Veeam in its text, but according to the filename it's apparently a comparison to Veeam.

I make no secret at my bias in favour of Veeam B&R - but the first claim in the AppAssure doc does seem somewhat implausible...

AppAssure Smart Agents™ are 9X faster running incremental backups on vSphere and 15X faster on Hyper-V, and provide a perceived Zero Recovery Time on BOTH hypervisors.

Come-on Veeam, v6.2 to be 15x faster please...

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 09, 2012 2:23 pm

OK, first things first - I personally tested AppAssure (like most other competitors), and can say for sure that this claim is either not about Veeam, or is a completely false statement.

Generally speaking, due to the nature of agent-based backup, such solutions can indeed be faster backing up a handful of VMs. However, agent-based solutions flip over when you need to backup hundreds of VMs - agent inside of each VM is just not suitable approach for virtualization backup, and this was widely recognized by the industry and analysts even back few years ago.

Of course, you will hear otherwise from those few remaining vendors with legacy architecture, because they need to sell what they have. They will downplay impact of data mover agent, impact on the production network, and so on. But even if you don't trust me or major analysts, just look how even all those legacy solutions (such as Symantec) who had enough resources to redesign their tool went away from using data mover agents inside of each VM. That would mean something, right? In fact, I am having hard times naming ANY major VMware backup vendor who is using in-guest data mover agent these days. Do you?

Finally, looking at this at totally different angle - note how despite having 2 years handicap (established 2 years before Veeam), for all these years AppAssure achieved 10 times less customer base than Veeam according to the stats on their Wikipedia page. As I like to say, people are ultimately voting for the best solution with their money, right? So, putting everything else aside, is 10 times difference (by an order of magnitude) glaring enough to say whose approach to VM backup is better overall?

More thoughts above in this topic.

This does not mean we will not continue innovating in the field of agentless image-level backup and keep improving, but I can promise you that going back to legacy backup architecture will never happen here.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by BackDatAsciUp » Aug 09, 2012 2:27 pm

My company has been using Veeam for a few years now and it's really easy to use. They are constantly improving the product. When i clicked the link for appassure i noticed the DELL logo and was immediately turned off :( sorry to be biased based on that, but as far as i know Veeam is it's own entity and their product is versitile. That's my 2 cents! BTW do you have a link to appassure's forums?

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by mongie » Aug 09, 2012 9:23 pm

The annoying thing is, when you talk to Dell about backup storage, they tell you that you should be using AppAssure. Most of the reasoning I got was "OH CAUSE ITS BETTER". "OH YOU DONT NEED TO MOUNT VMs TO GET DATA OUT OF THEM".

It was pretty :roll:

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 09, 2012 9:36 pm 1 person likes this post

With Quest acquisition, Dell now has all kinds of backup crapware in stock besides AppAssure. As I like to say, all worst backup products on the market have ended up in one place.

Couple of things are really interesting to me here now. First, which of those products are going to be shutdown - since there is absolutely no good reason to keep all of them around, as they are all doing the same stuff (and equally bad). Second, how is it going to affect Dell's reputation as a corporate vendor when they start aggressively pushing sub-par products to their customers.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by J1mbo » Aug 10, 2012 6:41 am 1 person likes this post

Gostev wrote:Second, how is it going to affect Dell's reputation as a corporate vendor when they start aggressively pushing sub-par products to their customers.
Sorry, but is that a new thing? Their servers are solid enough and of course the EqualLogic purchase was a good one (v5 shambles notwithstanding), but I'm not fussed about the rest of it and less still by the pricing based on which paper you happen to have read that day.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by dellock6 » Aug 11, 2012 2:46 pm

I worked with Dell only by their servers and some storage systems, and to me they are good. Well, ok, servers are all the same after all, but anyway they are smart, let's see what they ar going to do with multiple backup solutions.
IMHO, their best bet for the virtualization market is to keep vRanger from Quest and revamp it. AppAssure has tools and plugins for physical systems too, so there is a meaning also in their acquisition.
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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by pendragoncrw » Aug 13, 2012 12:36 am

Our firm is a consulting group with about 100 consistent clients ranging from business of 10 users/1 server to 300 users/15 servers and has traditionally been a Veeam (virtual) and BackupExec (physical servers) shop. We've been evaluating AppAssure and here's been our experience with it so far.

1. For mixed physical and virtual environments (common as clients increase the length of time between upgrades or address aging infrastructure in pieces), AppAssure offers better value. We can cover both physical and virtual machines along with the odd workstation which may host some oddball piece of software. As a benefit, the export from AppAssure to VMWare or Hyper-V has performed flawlessly, much better than VMWare converter to make it easier to migrate a client from a physical to virtual environment

2. For environments with 3 or fewer servers (physical or virtual), AppAssure is very cost and feature competitive. Above 5 servers, not so much.

3. Although it is agent based, the compression and de-duplication it achieves typically surpasses what Veeam has been able to deliver. We have a SQL server with 200gb used on a 250gb volume. Veeam full backup is about 125gb, AppAssure full backup is about 80gb. This was honestly the biggest surprise when were trialing AppAssure. This was tested on different server types by running a full defrag and sdelete followed by a full backup for each product.

4. Backup speeds are generally much faster with AppAssure, especially if frequent snapshots are scheduled (hourly). It is not uncommon for the hourly snapshots of a basic environment (DC, Exchange, SQL, App Server) to finish before Veeam has made it 1/2 way through the job.

5. AppAssure offers much better backup rotation scheduling (grandfather, father, son, etc.) to enable us to setup comprehensive retention policies that match existing document or other retention policies. What we can do in AppAssure in 1 screen takes multiple jobs in Veeam.

6. The equivalent of the application restore wizards require much less configuration. If needed, you could restore an Exchange mailbox item or SQL record in 5-10 minutes without needing to run through the equivalent of the Virtual Lab etc.

7. The relationship with eFolder (cloud backup vendor) makes it very easy to provide small clients with good off-site backup for organizations that don't want to roll their own cloud for off-site storage.

We see AppAssure as fitting into the toolbox on the lower end of the spectrum, but we do not anticipate displacing Veeam due to Veeam's robust handling of many virtual machines and our mostly solid experiences with Veeam support. That being said, some features in AppAssure are definitely features that would make Veeam a better product in our eyes, especially: 5, 6, and 7.

One question, Gostev. It is my understanding that Veeam does inject an agent into the backup process to aid in VSS copying and removes it when it's done. Could you elaborate the responsibilities of this agent vs. the responsibilities of an agent in an AppAssure/BackupExec/Acronis style product and how Veeam's agent represents a better architecture?

Thanks

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by DataAssure » Aug 13, 2012 1:27 am

pendragoncrw's analysis was spot on but I would like to add Veeam B&R 6.1 "per job" instead of "per repository" "Deduplication" is really disappointing and AppAssure In-process Deduplication or Global Dedup in AppAssure 5 does a much better job! Telling my Veeam's customers to purchase a de-duped appliance or a software Global de-dup iSCSI addon which usually costs so much more than the Veeam licenses has been a pre-sales problem and in some cases deal loss to PHDVirtual for us. I hope and request product team to treat Global Dedup is one of y/our priorities.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Andreas Neufert » Aug 13, 2012 6:09 am 1 person likes this post

Hi just 2cents about global dedup. Just wait till Win 2012 and every Backup to Disk product will have global dedup.

The interessting thing with Win 2012 is that you are able to configure that only old files are deduped. So fast restore (and VirtualLab/Surebackup) + global dedup. I'm really looking forward to the release to test this when final Win 2012 is released.


...

Deduplication is only one side. pendagoncrw did you tested the restore times from this 80GB sql server backup file?

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 13, 2012 8:53 am 2 people like this post

pendragoncrw wrote:One question, Gostev. It is my understanding that Veeam does inject an agent into the backup process to aid in VSS copying and removes it when it's done. Could you elaborate the responsibilities of this agent vs. the responsibilities of an agent in an AppAssure/BackupExec/Acronis style product and how Veeam's agent represents a better architecture?
What Veeam uses is not an agent by the very definition of software agent, as it lacks the key attribute - persistence. What Veeam uses is a runtime coordination process that orchestrates required VSS activities, prepares applications for hot backup and for VSS restore upon the next VM boot from the backed up image. It also performs any required application-specific processing (such as issuing the log truncation command upon successful backup).

Comparing to AppAssure and any classic legacy data-mover-agent-based backup products, Veeam's approach does not present any load on guest or production network, as it does not collect, process or move backed up data to a backup server over the production network. The problem with this approach is that in environments with more than a few VMs, this will cause too much impact on your production. On top of that, you have to deal with the agent management hell classic software agents bring you (see below).

Comparing to modern BackupExec with image-level backup jobs, BackupExec agent DOES NOT perform data processing like AppAssure does, and does not cause any issues described above, making it much better alternative than AppAssure.

You can consider that the BackupExec agent performs almost the same functions as our runtime coordination process. However, the actual piece of software is real, persistent software agent (not a run-time process), which results in issue known as "agent management hell". You need to license, deploy, manage, update and monitor those agents to make sure they behave. Because they are present on VM all the time (and not just when backup runs), you need to make sure they don't affect other applications (with Veeam, VM stays "clean" 99.9% of time). And we are talking hundreds or thousands of VMs... this is why people don't like dealing with agents, and prefer Veeam's approach so much.

My personal experience during evaluation:
- Spent few days installing AppAssure agent on any server other than local server with backup software install. It just would not install, and I simply could not run backups!
- BackupExec agents would install fine, but would not perform metadata collection on some VMs with different errors. As a result, while backup was created (image-level), all restore types would be disabled (other than full VM restore). Not much use of such backups.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by vmexpert » Aug 13, 2012 8:55 am

pendragoncrw wrote:That being said, some features in AppAssure are definitely features that would make Veeam a better product in our eyes, especially: 5, 6, and 7.
6. The equivalent of the application restore wizards require much less configuration. If needed, you could restore an Exchange mailbox item or SQL record in 5-10 minutes without needing to run through the equivalent of the Virtual Lab etc.
Woo hoo where have you been last month... check out Veeam Explorer for Exchange. Works tons faster than any similar tool!

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 13, 2012 9:07 am

Andreas Neufert wrote:Hi just 2cents about global dedup. Just wait till Win 2012 and every Backup to Disk product will have global dedup.

The interessting thing with Win 2012 is that you are able to configure that only old files are deduped. So fast restore (and VirtualLab/Surebackup) + global dedup. I'm really looking forward to the release to test this when final Win 2012 is released.
Correct, we knew well in advance that this was coming, and our tests have shown excellent results (Server 2012 beats most software-based dedupe solution, and is close or on-par with hardware deduplication vendors). And most importantly, as Andreas have already mentioned, it is one of the few dedupe approaches that is excellent for vPower.

What many people asking for global dedupe are missing, is that global dedupe produces backups you cannot move around. Because of their size (and often architecture), you cannot copy a backup to external hard drive or tape. Likewise, imagine the time to restore from such a backup even if you somehow manage to split it in pieces and write to multiple media units. And because offsite copy is the mandatory requirement of proper backup, it was just not logical to implement this type of backup storage. Global dedupe kind of "encourages" not to have a copy of your backup, just because you cannot make one easily.

We decided it only makes sense to have actual storage do the global dedupe, and the current picture is perfect and has really no place for global dedupe in backup software whatsoever:
- Smaller customers will get global dedupe for free with Windows Server 2012
- All larger customers are buying deduplicating storage appliances to store their data anyway

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Andreas Neufert » Aug 13, 2012 11:11 am

... and finally our Reverse Incremental can save a lot of disk space, because you only need to hold a single full on disk.

Real life example: 933 VMs; daily backup of 94TB on VMware disk space; 14 restore points => 41TB Backup space on disk (Reverse Incremental, Compression & Deduplication Veeam standard setting).
Restores are very fast because we do not use global deduplication things.
Veeam deduplication is cost free and came with each version.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by pendragoncrw » Aug 13, 2012 2:53 pm

Andreas, I have our retention policy to setup to roll snapshots up at the end of the day, week, month, etc. and keep enough of each kind around that restores are about the same as Veeam reverse incrementals. I prefer the granularity of AppAssure's and similar retention policies due to our requirements (especially at institutions with serious compliance concerns and more than enough storage). At the small-medium size clients, the lack of retention policy is more of a minor annoyance. On some of our busy SQL and Exchange servers, I have had to use forward incrementals with transforms, because the snapshots would grow so much while the backup was taking place removal became a problem during production hours. In 6.1, the transform speed is now a problem so I have to apply the patch for it this week. We are currently evaluating Server 2012 in our labs, but staying away from it in production environments until we have a bit more confidence in the product, especailly after the Server 2008-2008 R2 transition.

Gostev, thanks for the additional information about Veeam's functioning. I have not experienced any problems installing the AppAssure agents in our test lab (about 15 mixed Win2k3, Win2k8, Win2k8 R2, 2012 boxes). My experience with BackupExec has been quite the contrary though. Seems like everytime I turn around, Symantec has changed the engine, interface, and boosted the price. I have experienced more VSS problems with BackupExec than Veeam, AppAssure, and Acronis combined.

VMExpert, I am very conservative when it comes to deploying beta software in production environments so although I know the Exchange Explorer exists, I only recently got into the beta myself and have not had a chance to test it. According to the thread discussing it, there are no plans to add support for Exchange 2000, 2003, and 2007 so it's not currently comparable to the AppAssure or similar offerings. Many of our clients do not update their mail server everytime a new Exchange release comes out so a product with a limitation like that is not a good fit for me. To overcome this with Veeam and facilitate other restore efforts (corrupted db's, etc.) we have a organization wide Digiscope license (love that tool BTW).

Not trying to advocate for AppAssure, just discussing my experiences with it as it compares to Veeam. Although they are both backup tools, where they fit in the toolbox is very different. That being said, I would love to see a Veeam relationship with an appropriate cloud provider for easy of replication and a more fine grained retention policy so I don't need many jobs just to get it what I need.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by DataAssure » Aug 15, 2012 1:48 am

Chris: You should definitely check out TwinStrata if you are looking for "the" appropriate cloud provider. I don't work for TwinStrata but I was surprised to find out TwinStrata CloudArray does support both AppAssure, Veeam & almost all leading data protection solutions out there.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 15, 2012 9:39 am

TwinStrata works with many vendors, but has a special offer for Veeam customers ;)
Free Backup to Cloud with Veeam and CloudArray®
FREE Offer for Veeam Customers:

• TwinStrata CloudArray® 1TB edition (a $2995 value)
• Handles up to 1TB of data in the cloud
• 30 days of free Google Cloud storage
• Limit one per customer

This is free forever and fully featured; it's not a trial copy.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by pendragoncrw » Aug 16, 2012 3:30 pm

I will definitely check out TwinStrata. Right when we were looking at AppAssure (early June), I asked our Veeam rep if there were any vendors with Veeam relationships and he wasn't aware of any.

Is this a recent development? If so, great. If not, I would try to do some heavy promotion of it.

Chris

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Aug 16, 2012 3:37 pm 1 person likes this post

No, actually this was in place for 2 years now...
http://twinstrata.com/pr-veeam-091310

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[MERGED] Veeam or AppAssure

Post by Saintly » Oct 16, 2012 10:15 pm

Hi,
I am currently looking for a new backup system and I am looking at Veeam and AppAssure as the two front running options.
I have found comparisons between Veeam and Backup Exec and others between AppAssure and backup Exec but i cant seem to find any that compair Veeam and AppAssure so i thought i would come here and ask:
a) Does anyone have a comparison between Veeam and AppAssure
and
b) Why would you choose one (i assume Veeam given the forum's location) over the other?

A bit about my current environment:
I have 3, 2 socket servers running VMware Essentials Plus ESXi (i.e. 6 sockets)
these connect to a SAN to house the VMs
current backups is with backupexec to a tape autoloader. very slow and clunky. not really looking after the linux servers
running 8 Windows 2008r2 VMs and about a dozzen Linux servers
I have 3 remaining, stand alone servers running windows with local tape drives and running their own copies of backupExec

I am adding extra space to the SAN for production and 2 Dell DR4000 as a backup target (one in our office which will replicate to one offsite). The DR4000 can be the target device for the Veeam / AppAssure software as well as the BackupExec on the stand alone servers.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Rumple » Oct 17, 2012 2:29 am

If you are talknig virtual environments, then there is no comparison Veeam is the winner hands down both in functionality and pricing
If you are talking an environment where its mostly physical boxes you need to protect that I would lean more toward appassure (but I'd wait until version 5.7) I currently use appassure for SMB clients and its ok...pretty unstable at moment but starting to look better

Appassure is great for protecting physical server data with snapshots. Its less successful right now at Bare Metal Restores. I'd say its P2v capabilities are suspect at moment (although It does appear to be getting better)

Veeam is great for restoring VM's, extrating data from backups, replication (and more importantly failback)
I have never tried it with physical servers so I can't comment on that.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Saintly » Oct 17, 2012 3:25 am

Thanks,
The Veeam Vs AppAssure question is really only for the VM servers as the few old physical server can continue useing BackupExec.

It's funny, when i started looking at this topic, it was my Dell rep that said "use Veeam" now i'm getting closer to getting the money they say "use AppAssure".. I hope they don't cry if i tell them i want Veeam.

Ian

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Gostev » Oct 17, 2012 9:34 am

First recommendation was from the heart... and then, Dell acquired AppAssure - so they simply stopped selling Veeam because they have to be selling their own solution, no matter how bad is it. And obviously, they could not care less about you actually having success with what you are buying.

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Re: [MERGED] Veeam or AppAssure

Post by jpeake » Oct 17, 2012 6:37 pm

Saintly wrote:Hi,
I am currently looking for a new backup system and I am looking at Veeam and AppAssure as the two front running options.
I have found comparisons between Veeam and Backup Exec and others between AppAssure and backup Exec but i cant seem to find any that compair Veeam and AppAssure so i thought i would come here and ask:
a) Does anyone have a comparison between Veeam and AppAssure
and
b) Why would you choose one (i assume Veeam given the forum's location) over the other?

Sounds like your environment is nearly identical to mine. I am currently evaluating both AppAssure 5.2 and Veeam 6.1. 3 X 2 socket servers, EqualLogic SAN, vSphere Standard. About 24 Win servers and 6 Linux servers. 11.2 TB of used storage total.

I started my AppAssure trial first. It was so awesome compared to Backup Exec/tape. After a few days the honeymoon effect wore off and I started to see some issues. Had a webex with an AppAssure engineer. We went over my setup, and he began showing me how it works. I had a backup of an Exchange server and wanted to see single item restore. It failed miserably. 90% of our mailboxes gave a Jet error when opening them. THe engineer said it worked a lot better in 4.7, before the Dell acquisition. That scared me, and the next couple weeks brought a lot more concerns. The web GUI is terribly slow at times, and I was getting lots of errors. Pushing the agent failed most times when launched from the GUI. Trying to unmount backup images I had captured would often crash and require a server reboot. Etc etc.

Another big issue was the documentation. It is awful for AppAssure. Take a look at the user guide, and look at the chapter where it details how to restore Exchange data, and do single item restores. Oh wait, there is no documentation on it at all. Not a single mention. Crazy. My Dell contact says Dell is dumping resources at it, and proper documentation was coming, someday. Turns out you need to install Outlook on the server before you install the Core, otherwise the Exchange tool (which is a separate app) won't install. There is zero documentation on any of this. Even the engineer wasn;t sure about it.

I started my Veeam trial about 3 weeks ago after I was done messing with AppAssure. I am running VMware 5.1, so I haven't been able to try the advanced features yet. But the core functionality has been solid. I have only had one issue (errors about CBT not being available on a VM, cleared up after restarting the job). I have had a ton of questions and the Veeam dude I am working with has answered them all. This forum is also a great resource.

For me, it's not even close. I need to see Veeam 6.5 before I can fully commit, but I plan to go with Veeam Enterprise barring anything crazy happening in 6.5.

I had a couple of physical servers still lingering, just never got around to migrating (one was a license server with a bunch of USB HASP keys on it, didn't want the headache). This was a good excuse to finally migrate them over, now we are 100% virtualized.

With all the goodness I am seeing with Windows Server 2012, I may even dump VMware and go with HyperV. Setting up a lab now to test out. When 6.5 comes out, it's going to be a busy time. Can't wait.

Saintly
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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Saintly » Oct 17, 2012 9:52 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.
Marketing fluff can't compare to real world users.
ian

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by zoltank » Oct 22, 2012 12:54 am 1 person likes this post

Saintly wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone.
Marketing fluff can't compare to real world users.
ian
The best endorsement I can give Veeam is saying it has made my life much better, instead of being another application I have to struggle.

It works extremely well for VM backup, and it's pretty obvious Veeam has been doing this for a long time. Veeam's SureBackup is also an incredibly powerful tool. We not only use it to check the viability of our backups (it's much better than "verify") but we've used to troubleshoot network, application, AD, and Exchange issues since we can bring up that portion of our network from a previous point in time to see how things looked then. We also use SureBackup to test changes and updates.

As already mentioned, Dell is recommending AppAssure because they bought them.

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by bmcchesney-nv » Oct 23, 2012 11:53 am 6 people like this post

Hello,

I work for a small solutions provider company where I spent a very long time evaluating AppAssure and put it in production for five months. Last month I abandoned it because of costs and support that I found poor. I made the switch to Veeam. Here are some of my thoughts on AppAssure in case they are of use to anyone, but they are only my experiences and YMMV. (Some comments have been made already about how AppAssure will have trouble scaling up in a virtualised environment because of the agents. While I believe that is true, I'm going to talk mainly about administrator experience and features which will be most relevant to small and medium companies.)

Deployment

AppAssure is very simple to install and get running. The application installs without offering tens of intricate features that require additional licenses. You create a backup repository, you select the retention plan (e.g. I want hourly backups for 1 week, then keep daily backups for 1 month, then keep weekly for 1 year, etc.), and then you push the agent out to machines on the LAN. It's works very smoothly. That is the total work for getting your machines backed up.

Veeam Backup is just as easy to get running. It lacks the control of retention periods that AppAssure has - something I would like to see improved. Veeam seems to be more simple: take recovery points according to this schedule, and keep the last X of them. Having hourly backups 'roll-up' into daily and then weekly backups after certain periods would be very nice to have.

That's covered local backups, but if you have a catastrophe at the site you're in trouble. As Gostev has said already, there is no way to archive backups to tape or to another disk for off-site storage (though I believe they are working on this). However, there is the ability to replicate backups to another backup server's repository on another site. This works great too. There's a simple 'seeding' feature where the data for replication can be dumped to portable disk and then consumed at the other site. After the initial seeding, it is impressive just how little is sent over the WAN after each hourly backup. It's tiny! The dedupe is highly efficient. It also handles unreliable WAN connections very well. If, say, 1GB of data needs to be replicated across the WAN, but the connection drops 10MB short of the total and the TCP connections timeout, then when the link is back and the replication is attempted again it only sends the last 10MB.

Veeam by comparison appears to be less efficient with WAN usage at this time and does not tolerate unreliable WAN connections so well; in a connection failure, the machine being backed up across the WAN needs to be started again. I decided that Veeam was efficient enough and hassled our ISP to improve availability to remove issues. Also, to backup to both a local and a remote location, two separate jobs are required. Some have suggested using one local job and using rsync to replicate the changes, but in my experience it is unsuitable for large amounts of data. I use separate remote and local jobs and it works well. It would be nice to have it reduced to a single local job that is synchronised to the remote site in the future.

Although backups and the replication to another site work very well, all backups are still not archivable and they are all in a big opaque disk repository. A nefarious administrator could delete all of your backups and leave you in a very bad situation. With Veeam, backups are nicely identifiable in files that can be archived to any medium you like. If you do not have a second site, then you will be anxiously waiting for the disk-to-tape feature to become available in AppAssure.

When I was using AppAssure, it only supported Windows. They now have Linux support, but I had just decided to remove it when it became available so cannot comment on it. Veeam by comparison doesn't care what OS you're using.

Restore features

Three types of restore are of interest: file restore, Exchange/SQL Server item restore, and full restore.

File restore is very nice. You can mount any recovery point as an NTFS volume in the OS. File restore is easy. (Veeam is just as easy.) Exchange item restore is very clever in AppAssure. It just mounts the volume as per file restore, but then you run a program that can interrogate the Exchange database directly and restore individual items/folders/mailboxes. (Veeam requires a Virtual Lab to be run - effectively a full restore of the production system - and then items are copied from there. However, it's quite easy to set up a virtual lab and the restore process is just as simple as AppAssure's thereafter. Veeam Explorer for Exchange will ostensibly make this process even easier.) Unfortunately I did not get a chance to evaluate SQL Server restore and can't comment on that.

Finally, full system restore. To restore a system you require a bare metal recovery disc. This loads up a simple Windows PE that makes contact with the AppAssure server. Restore seems to work without you having to hunt for drivers; even to different hardware. I think it's quite impressive how well this works, but the machine will start up discovering devices, losing some operating system settings, etc. AppAssure is also able to allow users to use the machine while it is still being restored, provided the volumes were originally partitioned in a suitable way. For example, restore a minimal C: volume in the Windows PE, start the server, and then restore D:, E: etc from the restored machine. In this case, AppAssure has a driver that intercepts requests for data on these volumes and prioritises the restore of the data being requested. SQL Server and Exchange services can start while the data isn't all there, and users can work. All of this is very smart stuff. However, a virtual environment and Veeam make it all redundant. Machines can be brought up instantly with Veeam in a catastrophe without the need for specialist software components on the machines. I also feel much more at ease knowing that a Veeam restore is going to start identical to the original machine imaged.

Cost, sales, and support

Using monthly service provider licensing, AppAssure is around ten times the cost of Veeam. Getting AppAssure sales to take us on as a service provider was extremely difficult. Getting information about pricing and making an order was resisted (even although we had spent several months working with them evaluating and testing v5 which was pre-release at the time). Getting on board with Veeam as a service provider was easy by comparison, our company being an Microsoft SPLA and VMware VSPP licensee.

I encountered several moderate issues with AppAssure. These included recovery points being deleted before the retention plan should have allowed, one release having a memory leak crippling SQL Server machines causing embarrassing downtime on a critical server, Exchange and SQL Server logs not being truncated nightly as required, the AppAssure management website becoming unavailable and requiring service restart, and the test restoration of a machine failing due to CRC errors (which we ironically did not get to the bottom of because the recovery point got deleted because of the first issue). Most of these issues consumed a lot of time and the rate of response was usually days, not hours.

Based on all of this, I decided that money and time was better spent moving towards an entirely virtualised infrastructure with Veeam performing the protection. I hope this is of use to other small/medium companies who have limited time for evaluation.

Regards,
Bob

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Re: Veeam vs AppAssure

Post by Saintly » Oct 23, 2012 8:06 pm 1 person likes this post

Wow,
Thanks for the detailed assessment bmcchesney-nv.
I attended a webinar yesterday and i think i will go with Veeam (Veeam Essentials Enterprise) but the information and real world assessment by you and the others that contributed before you was invaluable.
I agree that the retention policy ability that you described in AppAssure (hourly for a week, daily for a month, monthly for a year) would be a perfect addition to Veeam. I'm still a little unsure on how Veeam will handle that but I’m calling a sales/tech back this morning and will be asking him then.

Thanks again
Ian

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