Cloudwards Guide: The 9 Best Server Backup Solutions

obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 25 Oct'17 2015-06-29T13:29:24+00:00

Welcome to the Cloudwards.net guide for the best server backup solutions available today. During this roundup, we’ll introduce you to storage solutions designed to aid in disaster recovery for crashed or corrupted servers and planned migrations to new hardware.

If you’re looking for disaster recovery options best suited for all of your office devices, our best online backup for business buyer’s guide is a good place to start.

Servers are used to store critical data and application files, among other things. As any sysadmin can tell you, however, no server lasts forever. However, with a good disaster recovery plan in place, the inevitable crash is merely an inconvenience; without one, it’s quite possibly a catastrophe.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to avoid catastrophe, without breaking the bank or raising your blood pressure as you try and learn how to work it. If you’re in the market for an actual server, as well, we also recommend you check out our best small business server article.

How We Made Our Picks for Top Server Backup

We’ve been evaluating and reviewing backup software for servers for years and pulled from that experience to make our top selection for server backup. While a few picks, including Carbonite and CloudBerry Backup, were no-brainers, a few of the others weren’t as easy.

When evaluating server backup, there are several features we look for. For one, as cloud enthusiasts, we prefer solutions that make it easy to backup server files to remote data centers. However, we also recognize that local backup has plenty of benefits, too, including recovery. With that in mind, we tend to prefer tools that support a hybrid backup approach.

We also looked for tools that could perform both file-based and image-based backup, in addition to full, incremental and differential backup. We also considered backup scheduling capabilities that let people plan off-peak backups to limit system resources. Other key features include hot backup, which lets you backup files that are currently in use, and multithreaded backup, which lets you run multiple backup processes at the same time.

Finally, we favor a capability called bare-metal restore. With bare-metal restoration, you can restore an image to a server that doesn’t yet have any software installed, which saves valuable time in the disaster recovery process.

Best Server Backup Pick: IDrive for Business

IDrive for Business consistently ranks as one of our favorite backup options for consumers. Its business backup plans are also excellent, providing platform flexibility and features that match or exceed more expensive options like MozyPro and SOS Online Backup for Business.

 Plan One:
Plan Two:
Plan Three:
Annual Cost:$99.50
$199.50
$499.50
Computers:UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Servers:UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Total Storage:250GB500GB1.25 TB

You get a 25 percent discount on the first year of service (or two years if you don’t mind that kind of commitment), making the pricing even more attractive. 

There are more subscription options, too, all the way up to 12.5TB. Unlike Carbonite Office and some other options, it’s a bit harder to scale storage with IDrive because you have to stick to one if its set storage plans. But its low cost generally makes it a better value, anyway. 

IDrive is able to backup most server applications, including Windows Server, Linux Server, MS SQL Server, MS Exchange Server, MS SharePoint Server, Oracle Server, Hyper-V and VMWare. 

IDrive supports hybrid backup if you like to keep server files copied both locally and in the cloud. It also has decent monitoring tools to keep you on top of your backups in near real-time. Bare-metal disaster recovery and disk-image backup are both supported, too.

Phone, email and online chat options are all available for customer support, which we’ve always found to be very timely. Support is also available 24/7, as you can read in our IDrive for Business.

 

Number Two: CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup is a bit more complex than IDrive for Business in that it doesn’t offer its own cloud storage network. Instead, you have to purchase CloudBerry Backup software and then purchase cloud storage space separately from a supported service.

However, with over fifty different cloud storage options supported, those who are okay with getting a bit technical might enjoy the versatility. Supported vendors include Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Backblaze B2. CloudBerry Backup also supports local backup.

You’ll have to buy software according on what kind of server or servers you use:

  • Windows Server: $119.99
  • SQL Server: $149.99
  • Exchange: $229.99

The SQL Server and Exchange software options both also support Windows Server. There’s also an $229.99 Ultimate Plan that can be used for Windows Server, SQL Server and Exchange.

Image-based backup and bare-metal restore are both features. CloudBerry Backup also supports restoration to servers with dissimilar hardware and restores directly from the cloud using a USB flash drive.

The software has a user-friendly wizard to walk you through the options, including scheduling times for your backups to run. Both full and differential backup are supported. Files can be compressed when backing up to reduce bandwidth used, too.

CloudBerry Backup supports client-side backup to restrict access to your files in the cloud. The level of client-side encryption used is 256-bit AES. For more details, check out our CloudBerry Backup review.

Number Three: Carbonite for Office

Carbonite for Office plans include options for both cloud and local backup, making it a hybrid backup tool. It supports physical and virtual servers, plus network-attached storage (NAS), storage area network (SAN) and external drives. It’s a solid backup service, although the platform support isn’t as good as what you get with IDrive — and it costs quite a bit more.

In addition to backing up and restoring individual files, you can perform a full system restore with Carbonite. The service supports both imaging and bare-metal restores. In order to set up a disaster recovery plan for your server, you’ll need to look beyond Carbonite’s basic Core plan, which is limited to computer backup.

PlanStorageAnnual CostNo. of ComputersNo. of Servers
Core250GB$269.99UnlimitedNone
Power500GB$599.99Unlimited1
Ultimate500GB$999.99UnlimitedUnlimited

Carbonite for Office Power lets you backup one server, while Carbonite for Office Ultimate lets you backup unlimited servers. Both give you 500GB of base storage and let you add 100GB of storage for $99 per year.

Maybe what we love most about Carbonite is how much easier it is to set up compared to most other server backup options. Some of those backup options might come at a lower price tag than Carbonite, but they’re also more difficult to manage. Business owners looking to get a server backup plan in place quickly and keep it running without spending a bunch of money on support staff should be happy.

The interface is easy on the eyes and walks you through most of the process. You can schedule automatic backups with a simple scheduler and manage system resources load by setting up full, incremental and differential backup. Other options include bandwidth throttling, notification setup and monitoring tools.

For security, Carbonite uses 128-bit AES to protect content stored in its data centers. If you’d like, you can also switch to private encryption and maintain control of your encryption keys yourself. That means nobody at Carbonite will ever be able to decrypt your files.

Finally, Carbonite has some of the most helpful support staff we’ve ever dealt with, at least for a cloud backup service. You can call, email or chat online with support seven days a week. Carbonite also offers free valet installations, which means a Carbonite employee will set up and optimize your server backup for free.

Read more about this service in our Carbonite for Office review. 

 

Number Four: Acronis Backup 12.5

Acronis is one of the more popular server backup tools available today because it offers a great online interface and it’s extremely easy to use. However, it can also be a bit expensive. It’s base subscription price is $469 per year per server, and you also have to pay for storage:

  • 250GB: $299 per year
  • 500GB: $499 per year
  • 1TB: $899 per year
  • 5TB: $4299 per year

The $469 price is for a standard subscription for Windows and Linux server backup. There’s also an advanced plan for $839. Both plans get discounted if you sign up for multiple years in advance.

Both Acronis Backup Standard and Acronis Backup Advanced offer disk-imaging capabilities and hybrid storage. Local storage options include NAS and SAN. Advanced also includes deduplication, tape drive support and much better admin and reporting options.

Acronis can be used to backup physical and virtual servers, and can perform file-based, full and bare-metal recovery. It can also restore to dissimilar hardware if you need to move to a new server.

Number Five: StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX Server 

ShadowProtect SPX Server is another favorite, though it comes with quite a few more limitations than our first four picks. For one, while many will find its desktop interface pretty easy to use for backup-plan creation, it’s not nearly as easy to use as Carbonite or even IDrive, CloudBerry Backup or Acronis.

The bigger limitation is that it doesn’t integrate easily with cloud storage, meaning you’ll need someone with strong technical knowledge to help you out. The upshot of all this is that it’s best used for local backup.

However, if you can work around those limitations and primarily need an on-premise solution, ShadowProtect SPX provides a nice range of features for securing your physical and virtual Windows Servers for disaster recovery.  

Those features include full and incremental backup, backup scheduling and very good monitoring tools. You can backup files or an image, and backup images can be restored to machines with dissimilar hardware.

ShadowProtect SPX Server does have another issue which might not make it suitable for individuals or small business in need of server backup: cost. A lifetime license will set you back $1095 and one year of premium support costs an additional $164. Priority support does include 24-hour phone support, however.

Number Six: Macrium Reflect 7

Macrium suffers from some of the same issues as ShadowProtect SPX Server, has fewer features and is less user friendly. However, despite not facilitating cloud backup, it’s still popular among IT departments as a on-premise backup tool. That may be because it costs quite a bit less that ShadowProtect SPX.

Macrium Reflect 7 Server costs $275 per server for a perpetual license. As with StorageCraft, support does cost extra, though, even if you elect for standard support over premium. However, you get the first year of standard support free. The first year of premium support adds $13 to the cost.

 Standard:Premium:
Renewal Cost:$55$69
Response Time:24 hours
12 hours
24/7:
NoYes
Telephone Support:NoYes
Dedicated Case Manager:NoYes

The software can be used to backup entire physical and virtual servers into a single compressed image file, or files and folders into a single compressed archive file. A handy scheduler will let you plan full and incremental backups for when you can spare the system resources.  

With Macrium ReDeploy, you can restore files directly to dissimilar hardware in case your server disks become corrupted or it’s time to upgrade. Virtual booting is also supported.

Number Seven: NovaBACKUP Server

NovaBACKUP Server lets you backup both locally and to the cloud. Options for cloud backup include NovaStor, which you have to purchase through a managed-service provider, or Amazon S3, which you can set up yourself.

NovaBACKUP can also be integrated with a few file-sharing services, including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. However, those options aren’t really designed for server backup.

The software itself can be purchased annually for $200 or you can go with a perpetual license for $400. If you do go with a perpetual license, you’ll only get one-year of NovaCare support included. NovaCare includes email, chat and telephone support channels.

Aside from being a hybrid storage solution, NovaBACKUP supports file-based, image-based, incremental, full and multithreaded backup. It also supports bare-metal restores and restores to dissimilar devices.  

The software is also capable of encrypting data using 256-AES, whether saving it locally or sending it to the cloud, and provides tools for near real-time monitoring.

Number Eight: EaseUS Todo Backup Server

EaseUS produces some of the most popular tools for IT professionals in the world, including an excellent data recovery tool we’ve written up in our Data Recovery Wizard review. Its server backup software, Todo Backup Server, is also very good.

One of the most attractive things about Todo Backup Server is its cost. A lifetime license for the current version of Todo Backup Server costs $199. A lifetime licence for the current and all future versions costs $359.

Unfortunately, while Todo Backup Server has some very nice features, it doesn’t support simple cloud backup and that prevents it from being much higher on this list. FTP is an option, however, so you can still backup remotely if you’re up for a bit of work.

Too Backup Server provides full system backup for Windows Server, fast block-level disk imaging and file backup. It can also perform incremental and full backups, and has a nice backup scheduler. Images and files are compressed to take up more space and can be encrypted with 256-bit AES. You can also create notifications to alert you of ongoing, completed or failed processes.

Systems restores can be performed using bootable media and on dissimilar hardware. You can restore the entire image or perform file-based restores.

Final Thoughts

Those are our picks for the best server backup tools. For our money, Carbonite has earned its place as the top overall backup tool thanks a strong feature set, a user experience that really simplifies the backup process and excellent support that you don’t have to spend extra money on.

However, different tools will appeal to different users, with Carbonite and IDrive likely appealing to small and medium-sized business owners looking for ease of use, and the others more fitting for staffed IT departments. We welcome your questions and comments below, and, as always, thank you for reading.

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