SMB Backup Mega-Battle: CloudBerry Backup vs Acronis Backup 12 vs StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX vs Macrium Reflect 7

obrBy Joseph Gildred — Last Updated: 21 Jun'17 2017-05-26T03:47:46+00:00
Not backing up your business data in today’s data-driven economy is like playing a game of Russian roulette with two extra bullets chambered. It’s only a matter of time before things go kerplooey.

The good news is that there are plenty of exciting backup options out there for SMBs, ranging from simple, yet effective tools to more sophisticated software capable of accommodating critical production environments. In fact, there are so many options that, even if you’re an experienced IT admin, sorting through it all can be major hassle.

How do we decide which is best here at Simple. We make them fight for our affection.

During this review, we’ll be taking a look at four top backup solutions built for power users: CloudBerry Backup, Acronis Backup 12, StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX and Macrium Reflect 7. Four backup solutions enter, one backup solutions leaves.

Spoiler alert: the one leaving is CloudBerry Backup. And it’s not a particularly fair fight. For a quick overview, check out our video below.

Small Business Backup: Cloudberry vs Acronis vs StorageCraft vs Macrium

The Battle: CloudBerry Backup vs Acronis Backup 12 vs StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX vs Macrium Reflect 7

All four featured solutions are capable of supporting enterprise clients. However, they can be used by SMBs and even solo developers, too. So, don’t think you need to be running a Fortune 500 IT department to take them for test drive.

To help keep things organized, we’ve broken our analysis down into four separate rounds: cost, backup features, security and support. After each round, we’ll discuss the results and pick a round winner. Then at the end of the article, we’ll take a look at the results and crown the king.

Round One: Cost

If you run an IT department, chances are you hear way too much about the importance of controlling overhead. So, we decided to kick things off with a look at the bottom line.

CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup can be used to backup Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, plus Windows Server, SQL Server and Exchange. You can purchase separate modules capable of backing up any one of these platforms or you can buy CloudBerry Backup Ultimate edition, which which includes all of them.

PlanDescriptionLifetime license
Windows DesktopFile-based backup for Windows.$29.99
MacFile-based backup for Mac.$29.99
LinuxFile-based backup for Linux.$29.99
Windows ServerFile-based and image-based backup for desktop and Windows Server.$119.99
SQL ServerFile-based and image-based backup for Windows Server and SQL Server.$149.99
ExchangeFile-based and image-based backup for Exchange.$229.99
UltimateFile-based and image-based backup for Windows Server, SQL Server and Exchange.$299.99

If you’d like to try the software out before purchasing it, CloudBerry Backup offers a 15-day free trial. The desktop software also has a freeware version for personal use. However, that version doesn’t have some advanced features like compression and client-side encryption, which can slow your backup down and make it less secure.

While any CloudBerry software license is good for life, it can only be used on one computer at a time. If you want to transfer the license between two computers, you can do so by releasing the license from within the software itself or contacting CloudBerry Lab directly.

CloudBerry Lab doesn’t run its own cloud storage servers, though it does support local backup. That means you’ll also need to find and pay for storage if you want to work remote backup into your backup plan. While you can get a small amount of free space from many vendors, it generally won’t be enough to backup all of your data.

While this does mean you’ve got an added, ongoing expense with CloudBerry Backup, that’s true of pretty much any backup service. The beauty of CloudBerry Backup is that it can be integrated with over 20 different cloud storage services, such as Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and many more.

The advantage of this model is that you can shop for the best combination of performance and value for your needs. Another plus is that you’ll pay the lowest storage rates without any vendor markup, as well as giving you flexibility to change vendor whenever you wish.

The options are too broad to dive into completely but here’s a simplified look at a few common choices and what you’ll pay on average for storage.

 Multi-regionalRegionalCold storage
Amazon S3N/A$0.023$0.004
Google Cloud$0.026$0.020$0.007
Backblaze B2N/A$0.005N/A

Costs in the above examples are per GB per month. So, for 1TB of backup, you’d be looking at around $20 for regional storage with Azure, S3 and Google Cloud. BackBlaze B2 would cost around $5 per month.

That’s a very simplified look at the pricing, though. With Azure and S3, you get a slight discount the more you store. Plus, each of these services also has usage charges for data transactions.

For a better idea of those four services stack up in terms of cost, our Azure vs Amazon S3 vs. Google Cloud vs Backblaze B2 can help.

Acronis Backup 12

Like CloudBerry, Acronis has separate software packages for different operating systems. Licenses are also for one computer and can be transferred. However, they are much more expensive.

 WorkstationWindows serverVirtual host
One-year License$69$499$599
Perpetual license$89$999$1,199
Supported OSesWindows PC, MacWindows Server, Linux Server, Exchange, SQL Server, Active DirectoryVMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V

Unlike CloudBerry Backup, Acronis does run its own cloud storage data centers. However, there is no cloud storage space included with your license; you’ll still have to pay monthly storage costs.

StorageOne-year subscriptionTwo-year subscriptionThree-year subscription

The value here isn’t nearly what you get with the CloudBerry Backup approach. Rather than paying $20 a month for 1TB of storage with Amazon S3 or $5 with Backblaze, you have to pay $74.92 for Acronis Cloud Storage.

Maybe the more important point is that with a service like Amazon S3, you only pay for what you use. With Acronis Cloud Storage, you have to pay for the entire bucket up front and don’t get refunded for any unused space.

You also have to pay for 12 months at a time. You can get slight discounts for paying for 24 or 36 months in advance but unless you’re absolutely certain you’re going to stick with Acronis and use most of what you pay for, that probably isn’t the smart play.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX

You can buy ShadowProtect SPX from a reseller or go directly through StorageCraft. While you can generally get a better price through a reseller, we’d recommend just buying from StorageCraft. Dealing with middlemen presents other problems that business users may want to avoid.

Here’s a look at the direct StorageCraft license costs for ShadowProtect.

PlanLifetime license
ShadowProtect SPX Windows Desktop$100
ShadowProtect SPX Windows Server$1,095
ShadowProtect SPX Linux Server$1,095
ShadowProtect SPX Windows Virtual Server$395
ShadowProtect SPX Small Business$549

The above table is for ShadowProtect SPX. If you shop around, you’ll also see ShadowProtect v5 still sold. SPX is basically v6 and what you’ll want to go with since v5 is no longer being updated.

ShadowProtect doesn’t come with cloud storage. It also doesn’t easily integrate with cloud storage like CloudBerry Backup does. It’s not impossible to set up but it’s really best used for backing up to external local storage.

No matter which you go with, you’ll have to consider those added storage costs on top of the software license.

Macrium Reflect 7

Much the same as with the three options, Macrium sells Reflect 7 licenses for both desktop and server backup. Licenses are per computer, good for life and transferable.

PlanDescriptionLifetime license
Home EditionConsumer backup for Windows PC$70
Reflect WorkstationBusiness backup for Windows PC$75
Reflect ServerBackup for Windows Server$275
Reflect Server PlusBackup for Exchange and SQL Server$599

Macrium does not currently support Mac and Linux operating systems.

You can test drive the software like we did with a 30-day trial, although restoring files isn’t an option with the trial version.

As with StorageCraft, Macrium does run its own cloud storage network and doesn’t play well with other cloud storage solutions like S3 and Azure. So, you’ll need to figure out your storage solution separately and factor that into the cost, too.

Round One Thoughts

Doing a cost-to-cost comparison with these four services is made difficult by the fact while each has the same basic goal (backup), each one takes a very different approach. That said, here’s a look at the basic software costs (lifetime licenses) again for both desktop and server software:

CloudBerry Backup$30$120
Acronis Backup 12$90$1,000
ShadowProtect SPX$100$1,095
Macrium Reflect 7$75$275

CloudBerry Backup is far and away the cheapest option.

With any of the four vendors you’re going to have to take into account storage costs, too. Only CloudBerry Backup provides easy integration with multiple third-party cloud storage vendors. This makes it easily the most flexible and cost-effect solution — and also our round one winner.

Winner: CloudBerry Backup

Round Two: Backup Features

Now that we’ve got an idea of platforms and costs for each service, let’s turn our attention to capabilities. We’ll examine the user experience and how to go about creating a backup plan in the process. In evaluating these tools, we examined the desktop software packages and created backup plans with each.

CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup can be used to create both file-based and image-based backups of your workstation or server.

Image-based backups are ideal for disaster recover. By taking a full image of a data volume, you can restore an exact copy of your system onto another machine in the event of a crash. CloudBerry Backup’s excellent image-based backup features, which include bare metal restores, in fact placed it at the top of our list for best image-based backup tools (Acronis is a distant second).

Performing image-based backup does require the more expensive Windows Server software, though. If you’re using CloudBerry Backup Desktop or the freeware version, you can only do file-based backup.

Beyond that relatively minor hiccup (most desktop users only need file-based backup), the overall backup experience with CloudBerry Backup is superb. Use the desktop interface for just a few minutes and it becomes clear CloudBerry spends a lot of time thinking about user experience.

Once started, create a backup plan by clicking on the “files” (file-based backup) or “image based” buttons in the top-left corner. CloudBerry will launch a wizard to walk you through the entire setup process.

During the process, you’ll be asked to connect CloudBerry Backup to a storage account. Doing so usually requires that you obtain keys from your storage platform’s portal. Most services make doing so a relatively simple process.

CloudBerry Backup lets you set block-level backup if you prefer. With block-level backup, after initially backing up a file, from then on only the parts of files that are altered get backed up again. This both reduces the amount of time backups take and the amount of storage space.

Another key backup feature is that the tool lets you backup specific folders and files or backup by file type. Rather than pick specific file types to backup, you can even pick specific file types to not backup.

File-type backup is a nice way of making sure you don’t overlook important files. The disadvantage is that for most it means using quite a bit more storage space. CloudBerry Backup helps you lessen this impact by excluding specific folders.

CloudBerry Backup lets you design your own versioning plan. Versioning means your backup plan retains copies of altered files. Customized retention options include:

  • Setting how many versions you retain
  • Deleting versions older than a certain date
  • Deleting files that have been deleted locally
  • Delaying purge of older versions by a certain number of days

A key component of any good backup tool is a scheduler. CloudBerry Backup’s is as good as any we’ve used without being overly complicated.

While setting up your schedule in the backup wizard, you can pick from several different options:

  • No schedule: run all backups manually
  • Specific date: run one backup on a specific date
  • Recurring: run backups daily, weekly or monthly
  • Real-time: run continuous backup to ensure files are always protected

You can tell CloudBerry to abort backups that run longer than a set amount of time and run missed backups on startup.

CloudBerry Backup also supports backing up NTFS file permissions, so when you restore, you don’t have to reapply the necessary permissions on a file or folder.

Other CloudBerry Backup options to make your life easier include:

  • Only backup files modified before or after a specific date
  • Restrict backup to files under a certain size
  • Compress files before backing up to reduce space
  • Execute customizable pre and post-backup commands
  • Receive backup email notifications (for example, on failure)
  • Generate and email post-backup reports
  • Automatically create diagnostic logs for troubleshooting
  • Limit the amount of bandwidth backup uses
  • Limit the amount of memory backup uses
  • Change chunk size of uploaded files (5MB to 5GB)
  • Change how many backup threads run at once
  • Change the backup priority relative to other processes
  • Prevent your computer from sleeping while backup up
  • Create a bootable USB device for bare-metal restore

The list is exhaustive and we’re leaving some neat features out. After all, we do have other some other backup tools to talk about.

Acronis Backup 12

Acronis Backup 12 uses a browser-based console to set backup processes rather than a desktop one. That said, you’ll still need to download and install Acronis Backup 12.

From a user-experience standpoint, the backup process is simpler than with CloudBerry Backup. However, that’s mostly because you have fewer choices with Acronis. You’re restricted to using Acronis Cloud Storage and the Acronis backup tool doesn’t have nearly as many feature to play with.

To create a backup for your computer, just log into the web console and click “enable backup.”

A pane will emerge from the right-side of the browser so you can create a backup plan.

In the “what to backup” field, you can choose to backup your entire drive, specific partitions, specific folders and files or your system state.

If selecting folders and files, you can browse your directory by your file structure. However, if you’ve got a small computer screen, the console can cut off the end of file names making it hard to find what you’re looking for.

Zooming out with your browser doesn’t fix the issue. A better approach would have been if Backup 12 used your operating system’s file explorer like most other applications do.

Acronis’ scheduler is simple to use but a bit skimpy on features. Backups can be set to run everyday, on specific days, once a month or hourly.

You can either go with incremental or full backups. You can also choose to do daily incremental backups and weekly full backups, which is probably the way to go. We wish there was more granularity here, though: CloudBerry Backup lets you define exactly when and often full backups run.

You can also direct Acronis Backup 12 to keep backups for a certain number of days or keep a certain number of versions.

Once your backup has been created, you can set options to:

  • Generate email notifications
  • Retry backup in case of errors
  • Set various levels of file compression
  • Backup or not backup specific file types
  • Create pre- and post-backup commands

Key missing features include the inability to throttle bandwidth and memory usage, change the size of file chunks uploaded, alter the number of threads running and set your backup priority.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX

Backup with ShadowProtect SPX begins with installing the desktop tool. When you login, you’ll be prompted to enter a username and password, which some users might find confusing because StorageCraft doesn’t ever ask you to set one up.

Okay, so it might have taken this reviewer way too much time and a good night’s sleep before figuring this one out.

I’ll spare you my pain: the user credentials are a new feature StorageCraft added when updating from ShadowProtect 5 to ShadowProtect. You have to enter your Windows credentials, which will work so long as you have admin privileges. Also your username is actually the email associated with your Microsoft account rather your Windows username.

Pretty simple, right? Hurdle aside, the ShadowProtect interface is pretty straightforward. Well, relative to brain surgery, anyway.

Get started creating your backup plan by clicking the “plus” button in the top-left corner.

A “new job” pane will open. Pick a job name and set a destination folder. The destination can be a local folder, external drive or network share.

ShadowProtect prevents you from backing up to the same drive you’re trying to backup, which makes sense, but does mean you’ll need to do some tinkering if you want to backup to a cloud sync folder. Basically, you’ll need to create a separate partition and move your sync folder to that partition.

Sadly, StorageCraft doesn’t let you quickly and easily integrate ShadowProtect with cloud services like CloudBerry Backup does, which does limit its appeal substantially.

StorageCraft does have a separate Cloud Backup service that’s completely separate from SPX and integrates with G Suite and Office 365. We have yet to put that service through its paces as it’s still a somewhat new product that isn’t particularly well-developed yet.

Why StorageCraft didn’t take the route of just letting you upload from ShadowProtect to its cloud service is anyone’s guess.

After getting your destination worked out, you’ll need to select what you want to backup. StorageCraft spares you the hassle of decision-making by only letting you backup whole volumes, which means you can’t do file-based backup.

Once you’ve made your picks, click the “schedule” tab to plan when your backup runs. Here the options are much better. You can run a continuous backup, incremental backup, full backup or a combination of the three. There’s also an option to run a full manual backup.

We prefer the mixed approach, since it provides the best level of protection.

You can plan your backup schedule anyway you want. That includes setting daily, weekly or monthly backups, plus restricting continuous backups to certain hours of the day.

You can tell ShadowProtect to compress your files before backup to reduce storage space, too.

The advanced tab lets you set additional options like:

  • Throttling bandwidth used to backup
  • Create pre and post-job scripts
  • Split images into smaller volumes
  • Retain previous image versions
  • Keep full backups and delete incremental

Overall, the feature list offered by ShadowProtect is okay despite not being able to do file-based backup. Without better cloud integration, though, unless you’re looking for a local backup tool, its usefulness is limited.

Macrium Reflect 7

Reflect 7 lets you perform file-based and image-based backup from its desktop tool. While not quite as attractive as the interfaces of CloudBerry Backup and Acronis Backup 12 (it’s boxy, pixelated and uses multiple font sizes), it presents a much better user experience than ShadowProtect.

With file-based backup, you can tag specific folders for backup but you can’t tag files. You can choose to backup specific file types, though, or exclude specific file types if you decide to backup all files.

Macrium doesn’t have its own cloud-storage service. Also, the tool doesn’t let you integrate with advanced cloud storage options like Amazon S3. So when it comes to backup options, you’re pretty limited in what you can do.

During the backup creation process, you’ll be asked to choose a destination folder for your backups. This can be a local folder or an external drive location.

If you really want to backup to cloud storage, you can also choose a sync folder location. Doing so will let you push your content to your cloud storage solution, whether it’s Dropbox, OneDrive, or another service that creates a sync folder (Amazon S3, Azure and Google Cloud do not).

We tested the process by sending some files to Microsoft OneDrive and didn’t experience any difficulties. However, this approach feels pretty clumsy when compared to the more sophisticated integration capabilities of CloudBerry Backup.

One nice thing about Macrium is that it can perform full, differential and incremental backups of your files and you can tell it to maintain as many versions of each as you want.

Full backups default to once a month, differential once a week and incremental daily. However, Reflect 7 lets you schedule your backups pretty much anyway you’d like.

Additional features include:

  • Compress files prior to sending them to backup
  • Throttle backups to reduce impact on system resources
  • Clone your hard drive onto another drive
  • Create a bootable USB drive to recover non-booting machines

Round Two Thoughts

If you want to keep it old school, Reflect 7 is the tool for you. It does a good job with local backup and presents an overall nice user experience compared to ShadowProtect.

However, the reality is the limitations of both services make round two a two-horse race.

Both CloudBerry Backup and Acronis Backup 12 offer excellent user experiences. Users who want to get up and running quickly may feel drawn to the fact that Acronis has its own cloud storage platform, so you don’t need to go shopping.

Those who prefer scalability and choice, however, will find CloudBerry Backup to be a far superior product. Moreover, CloudBerry Backup has more features to limit the resource impact of your backup processes.

Round Two Winner: CloudBerry Backup

Round Three: Security

Next up, we’ll examine encryption capabilities. Encryption lets you scramble your data before sending it to local or remote storage. It’s particularly important with cloud storage. While most cloud storage services store data in hardened data centers built to withstand breaches, cybercrime is on the rise.

CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup can encrypt your content prior to sending it to cloud or local storage. You can choose between AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256. This comes in especially handy for pairing with cloud services that don’t encrypt for you, like Backblaze B2.

Client-side encryption like this means you don’t have to rely on your cloud storage service to keep your content secure. You control your encryption key and the service never knows what it is.

If the cloud storage service offers server-side encryption, you can configure those options from the backup plan wizard, too. Most good cloud storage solutions for businesses also use AES. That includes Amazon S3, Azure and Google Cloud.

Another CloudBerry Backup security advantage is that you can use a key management service (KMS) if your cloud storage provider offers one.

A KMS lets you create and manage your organization’s cloud storage keys. While the provider still holds the keys, the KMS lets you quickly change them and monitor key usage. For industries with strict compliance regulations, a KMS is often a must-have feature.

Both Amazon (Amazon KMS) and Google (Cloud KMS) offer this feature for a small price. Azure is reportedly working on one.

Acronis Backup 12

Acronis Backup also uses AES. You can choose between 128-, 192- and 256-bit encryption, but you can only make that choice when you first create your backup plan. You can also choose not to encrypt your files at all.

The bigger issue, though, is that if you enable encryption with Backup 12, you have to set your own password. What that means is that only client-side encryption and not server-side encryption is available.

While we recommend setting your own encryption key, we also prefer choices. The central problem with client-side encryption key is that if you lose your key, Acronis can’t recover or reset it for you: you’ll be locked out of your data for good.

Acronis also doesn’t have a KMS, meaning it’s not great for compliance.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX

ShadowProtect SPX lets you encrypt all of your data prior to sending it to storage. Encryption options include AES-128 and AES-256. There’s also an option for RC4-128 encryption, which, while not as secure, does give you faster transfer speeds than AES.

If you set up encryption, you’ll need to create a password, too.

If you don’t add encryption during setup, ShadowProtect won’t let you add it later. There’s also no option to encrypt filenames.

Macrium Reflect 7

Like the other three products, Reflect 7 uses the favored AES protocol to protect your files if you choose to. Encryption levels include 128-, 192- and 256-bit.

If you’re sending content to your sync folder, this is a nice way to add client-side encryption to services that don’t typically support it like Google Drive does (check out our Google Drive review for more on that great service).

Unlike with Acronis and ShadowProtect, you can also go back and add encryption later if you don’t do it during setup. You can also alter the encryption level and change your password.

Round Three Thoughts

ShadowProtect SPX and Acronis Backup 12 both force you to set your encryption options when you create your backup plan. If you decide to add encryption later, you’ll have to start from scratch. We also don’t like the fact that Acronis doesn’t offer SSE.

Configuring security with Reflect 7 offers more convenience than either ShadowProtect or Backup 12, but it’s hard to rank it ahead of CloudBerry.

The advantage of CloudBerry Backup when it comes to file security once again derives from the tool’s flexibility. The ability to not only encrypt files client-side but pair the tool with a cloud service that offers additional advantages like key management wins CloudBerry Backup its third-straight round.

Round Three Winner: CloudBerry Backup

Round Four: Support

During our fourth and final round, we’ll examine how far each of these four services go to support customers. We’ll dig deep into the support portals, gauging both direct touch points and depth of DIY resources (i.e., tutorials, troubleshooting guides and forums).

CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Lab offers a thorough knowledge base where you can browse and search support articles on a range of topics written by both support engineers and fellow users.

While the knowledge base pertains to all CloudBerry Lab products, there’s also an FAQ page and support documentation page just for CloudBerry Backup.

If you’re having trouble finding answers in these resources, CloudBerry Lab help center will let you reach out to technicians and the user community. From this page, you’ve got three options to seek help:

Ticket support is for paying customers only and isn’t available on weekends. Support turnaround times for tickets are quite good, coming in under two hours during weekdays. During weekends, you’ll still get a response but may have to wait a few more hours.

We appreciate the fact that you can check your ticket status on the CloudBerry Lab support page. This keeps you from wondering whether your request was ever received.

Posting your questions to Reddit and Server Fault often results in a faster response because you can get help from users in addition to CloudBerry Lab technicians. Often times, crowdsourcing questions leads to more creative solutions, too, since you’re putting more brains on the problem.

While very good, we’d love to be able to get in touch with a live person at CloudBerry Lab, even if just during business hours. So, live chat or telephone support would be appreciated. However, turnaround times are such that the absence of those two channels isn’t as important as it is with some services.

Acronis Backup 12

While the Acronis customer support page has .pdf documentation for all of its products, finding information on Backup 12 is made easy thanks to good organization and search. Acronis also has video tutorials for all of its products for visual learners.

Plus, there’s a dedicated page for Backup 12 that includes both a table of contents and an index. Documentation on the dedicated page is in HTML rather than PDF.

For direct contact, Acronis has customer support call centers with dedicated contact numbers for paying customers around the world. If you prefer to type rather than talk, there’s even live chat support. Both channels generally put you in touch with a live individual within a couple of minutes and are available 24/7.

If you’d prefer to bounce ideas off of fellow users, Acronis also has a user forum.

Finally, email support is available, though if you go that route you may wind up waiting two or three days for a response.

Overall, however, Acronis handles support very well.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX

StorageCraft maintains a broad support portal that includes sections for a knowledge base, FAQs, product documentation, white papers, feature requests and a user forum.

The knowledge base is searchable or you can browse articles by post date. Categorization would be nice, though, since it can be a bit hard to find what you’re looking for.

The bigger issue is that available documentation isn’t very deep or written very clearly. Most of the resources are written by technical engineers and read like Ikea instructions. More screen captures and clearer writing would go a long way to improving product support.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the user support forum might help. However, activity in the forum is sporadic, with postings from users made only once every few weeks. Infrequent usage may be because StorageCraft seems pretty lax on responding to postings, themselves.

StorageCraft does offer direct support via email, however. We fired off a test questions and received a response back within 24 hours. Granted, the response came from a lower level support agent whose job was to ask us to “use the following KB to collect the DTX logs” (thanks, Zach) for the support technicians.

Actual technical support is a much longer time coming, often taking up to a week. It seems like the technicians are pretty overworked, which isn’t surprising given the combination of poor UI design and nebulous resources.

It probably comes as no surprise that StorageCraft does not offer live support.

Macrium Reflect 7

Macrium maintains a thorough, easily searchable knowledge base that provides detailed documentation for Reflect 7. Explanations are bolstered with step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

If you can’t find answers there, the Macrium user forum is a good place to look next. You won’t see many responses from Macrium there but that’s okay. Fellow users actively respond and are very helpful.

For paying customers, direct support comes via a ticket system. Responses typically arrive within 24 hours on weekdays.

If you need more regular support, you can purchase premium support for $13.80 a month. This nets you 24/7 ticket responses and telephone support.

Round Four Thoughts

All four services offer knowledge bases but StorageCraft’s clearly lags behind the other three when it comes to both clarity and depth.

Macrium’s support options are quite good and we appreciate the option for 24/7 telephone support, even if you have to pay for it. That’s something we wish that CloudBerry Lab would offer.

However, if you wind up going with Amazon S3, Azure or a similar cloud storage service to pair with CloudBerry Backup, those options generally offer comprehensive production support that includes helping you with third-party tools. So, live support isn’t quite as necessary with CloudBerry Lab as it is with a tool like Acronis, which supplies its own cloud storage.

We also really like that CloudBerry Lab has worked in both Reddit and Server Fault forums since those tools tend to generate more eyes than a native user forum would.

All that said, it’s hard not to award this round narrowly to Acronis solely on the basis of speedy live chat and its broad call-center network.

Round Four Winner: Acronis Backup 12

The Verdict

With three round victories and close-fought fourth, could we possibly declare any of these four services other than CloudBerry Backup the winner? The answer is an emphatic “no.”

CloudBerry Backup earns the runaway defeat because the backup model that CloudBerry Lab has built gives user more flexibility, scalability and cost control than any other competing tool on the market. It’s for those reasons and it’s fantastic user experience that in addition the best imaged-based backup tool, we also named CloudBerry Backup the best backup for Windows Server.

The real head scratcher isn’t so much picking CloudBerry Backup over Acronis Backup 12 (and let’s be honest, Macrium 7 finished a distant third and ShadowProtect never actually finished the race) but figuring out which over 20 cloud storage services to integrate with it.

If you’d like to find out more about cloud storage integration works with CloudBerry Backup, you might be interested in:

Of course, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out our CloudBerry Backup review.

Thanks for sticking with us. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

Final Winner: CloudBerry Backup

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