Virtual Machines have gone from a niche and rarely used technology, to a staple of enterprise infrastructures in the last few years. Most businesses will have at least some use of virtualization, with many running their apps and databases on VMs.
VMs generate massive amounts of data, and much of businesses’ crucial information is stored on them. However, since VMs are quite unlike physical devices, traditional data protection, and backup software tend to not work with them. Some businesses rely exclusively on monitoring software, and while that’s a great step towards ensuring security, issues can still occur. In these cases, it’s necessary to have your VM backed up so your business doesn’t suffer delays.
Today, we’ll be looking at the best VM backup tools on the market to ensure you never lose your valuable data.
Here is our list of the best virtual machine backup software:
- SolarWinds Virtualization Manager – FREE TRIAL An excellent VMware management and backup solution that integrates seamlessly with the rest of the SolarWinds suite. Get a 30-day free trial.
- Vembu BDR Suite – FREE TRIAL An extremely customizable tool with hybrid deployment options and native encryption. Start 30-day free trial.
- Veeam Backup & Replication One of the two most popular VM backup software in the world. Veeam Backup & Replication is an incredibly flexible tool with a variety of high-level features all packed into an intuitive package. It’s highly scalable and offers a variety of different
- Altaro VM Backup A great VM backup software that can simultaneously back up multiple VMs to different locations.
- Iperius Backup A very simple and intuitive dedicated backup software that comes completely free of charge.
- Nakivo Backup and Replication A tool designed specifically for high-end modern environments with a variety of testing and high-level backup features.
- Uranium Backup Pro Virtual An Italian-made SMB-first software made to be simple and effective at performing tasks needed in smaller businesses.
- Veritas NetBackup An enterprise-first software designed to bring a holistic and versatile approach to data management and protection.
Why Use A VM Backup Tool?
Virtual machines tend to run as guests on hypervisors emulating a computer system. This method allows more than one VM to run on the same host hardware. The most common of these hypervisors are Microsoft’s Hyper-V and VMware ESX, with a myriad of cloud-based VMs getting used as well.
Backup tools are an often underestimated part of business IT infrastructures. After all, if you prevent issues from happening in the first place with monitoring software, you’ll never need to backup your data, right? While this is true in theory, in practice, unintended events happen, be they power outages, negligence, or simply an advanced attack. These events can set a business back weeks or even months to restore its data to its past state.
Ensuring regular VM backups lets a business gain full VM protection, and protects their businesses from having to deal with the consequences of unfortunate events. With more and more businesses using virtualization, providing support and protection to these devices becomes more challenging. This is especially true for businesses with a worldwide presence or a hefty amount of remote employees.
The Best Virtual Machine Backup Software
The SolarWinds Virtualization Manager is a VM backup and management software. It not only backs up your VMs and their data but also helps you configure them so that they’re easier to back up and are performing at peak efficiency.
- Lets you look at dependencies before backing up
- Helps prepare backups by revealing configuration inefficiencies
- Takes regular VM snapshots
- The Virtual DNA feature helps with troubleshooting
- Quite scalable
The SolarWinds VMAN pays close attention to exactly how your VM is configured, and lets you optimize its resource use and capabilities. Incompatible configurations or updates might lead to slowing down performance, and you don’t want to back up VMs that are underperforming. Before starting a backup, the VMAN looks at these configurations and determines if they’ve led to a drop in performance, suggesting changes if that is the case.
The tool is packed with a Virtual DNA feature that lets you look at all historical changes to a specific VM’s configuration over time. This helps with troubleshooting and preparing for backups. Before backing up, you can also look at its dependency map to see how your VMs, VM clusters, and other infrastructure elements depend on each other.
The tool takes regular snapshots on your VMs, but it also lets you look at how those snapshots are affecting performance, as well as delete them if they’re taking up too much space. All in all, the SolarWinds VMAN is the ideal tool for you if you’re mainly looking for a virtualization manager, but also want it to have backup capabilities.
As the SolarWinds VMAN is mainly a virtualization manager, its backup features are nothing too extraordinary. The SolarWinds VMAN has a 30-day free trial.
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The Vembu BDR Suite is a comprehensive backup and recovery solution designed to protect all of your data regardless of the medium it’s held on. Regardless of whether you rely on SaaS apps like Google Workspace, cloud technologies like AWS, physical devices, or VMs, the Vembu BDR suite will protect your infrastructure.
- Hybrid deployment options
- In-built encryption and compression services
- Extremely customizable
- Automation capabilities
- Cross-hypervisor migration support
One of the main appeals of the Vembu BDR suite is its sheer customizability and automation capabilities. It lets you test your backups and restoration strategies before implementing them to see if they’re prepared for the worst attacks. You also have a lot more granularity in terms of how you structure your backup.
The tool provides agentless image-level backup and replication features both for cluster servers and Hyper-V standalone hosts. It’s priced on a per CPU socket, per VM, or per-server basis. It also has extremely flexible deployment, you can deploy it either offsite, on-prem, or in a hybrid cloud deployment.
The pricing can get a bit steep when it comes to larger IT infrastructures. The tool features a 30-day free trial.
3. Veeam Backup & Replication
Veeam Backup & Replication is made by the Veeam company, world-renowned for its development of high-end data recovery, backup, and management solutions. The Veeam platform comes in two different packages, the Veeam Availability Suite which covers monitoring and backup, and the Veeam Backup & Replication suite.
- Excellent scalability
- Extremely lightweight
- Access to guest file system indexing
- Can be simple to use with its one-click file restore option
- Supports a variety of backup options and hypervisors
- Intuitive user interface
The Veeam Backup & Replication suite provides businesses with enterprise-grade backup software that can restore, replicate, and back up data from VMs, cloud-based workloads, as well as physical devices. The tool can back up a variety of different hypervisors and cloud software including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and AWS.
Backup & Replication lets you manage backups and replications for both virtualizations and physical machines. It used image-based VM replication to store snapshots of VM data. You can also set up a full or incremental backup depending on what works for you.
The tool offers the following backup methods:
- Forward incremental
- Forward incremental-forever
- Active full
- Synthetic full
- Reverse incremental
Having access to all of these backup methods lets you customize the backup process so that it fits your business perfectly. This also lets you optimize storage use, as an active full backup will take up more storage space than say, a forward incremental backup.
The tool doesn’t require you to install any software, agents, or utilities to perform, and is quite price-efficient for the breadth of features it provides. Due to this, the tool is also immensely scalable, servicing enterprises as well as SMBs.
If you choose to get a more expensive tier of the software like Scale-Out Backup Repository, you also get access to infinite storage. You can also test out backups with these tiers to ensure that your data is protected even in the worst-case scenarios.
For smaller businesses, not all of the tool’s features might be necessary. Veeam Backup & Replication comes at a 30-day free trial.
4. Altaro VM Backup
Altaro is a company dedicated to providing the best backup solutions on the market. Their flagship tool is the Altaro VM backup, made to ensure quality replication, backup, and recovery of Hyper-V and VMware VMs. The tool provides a quick, affordable, and high-quality backup and replication solution. Altaro prides itself on ease of installation and use, it takes less than 15 minutes to install, and just about as much to learn to use from scratch.
- Natively integrates with multiple cloud storage providers like Azure, Amazon S3, and the like.
- Simultaneously backs up multiple VMs to multiple locations
- Live VM backup capabilities with no downtime
- Cluster Shared Volumes and VMware vCenter support
- All of your backups are automatically encrypted
- You can schedule backups and set up retention policies individually
Altaro lets you conduct daily VM backups and replicate them to multiple locations within a single click. It lets you back up multiple VMs simultaneously as well as set up specific backup retention policies for any individual VM. The tool is also optimized for MSP users, letting MSPs offer their backup services. You can even set up the tool’s CDP(continuous data protection) to run backups in time intervals as short as five minutes through their continuous data protection model.
Furthermore, all of these backups are automatically encrypted under strong, 256-bit AES encryption. If you’re using Microsoft VSS, you can back up live virtual machines without experiencing any downtime whatsoever.
Some customers report the backup functionality itself is a bit slower than some competitors. The tool is available on a 30-day free trial.
5. Iperius Backup
Iperius Backup is a dedicated backup software for Windows desktop and server devices, cloud storage, VMs, and databases. You can automatically schedule any of its backups, with one of its main perks being that it works with SaaS software like Dropbox and Google Drive. It is also extremely simple to use, making it great for SMBs relying on a lot of SaaS technologies.
- Completely free of charge
- Provides application-consistent Linux VM backups with both a pre-freeze and post-thaw script
- Allows you to create hot, incremental, and differential backups
- You can backup to a network, HDD, cloud storage, NAS, or LTO tape
- Extremely simple to use
- Integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Iperius suite
You can conduct incremental, differential, and hot backups of Hyper-V, ESXi, and vCenter remotely. This can be extremely useful in conjunction with monitoring software, as you can immediately schedule a backup when an alert pops up.
Iperius Backup doesn’t have quite the breadth of features of its paid counterparts. You can purchase its perpetual license model and take advantage of its centralized management capabilities to elevate the software.
6. Nakivo Backup and Replication
Nakivo is a firm that’s dedicated to developing data protection and recovery tools. The NAKIVO Backup & Replication software is designed for high-end modern environments. It’s made for a quick deployment lasting only a couple of minutes.
- Image-based, incremental backups of a variety of platforms
- Backup testing and verification
- Deploys on Windows, Linux, NAS, Amazon Machine Image, and more
- Instant granular recovery
The tool works on a variety of platforms like VMware vSphere, Nutanix AHV, Microsoft Hyper-V, Windows, and Linux. The configuration is incredibly simple and can be completed in a matter of minutes with ease.
The tool also allows you to test your backups to ensure that your data can easily be recovered when you need it. The tool is also very flexible with pricing and features, with its Basic package providing the simpler features, while the Enterprise Plus edition has enterprise-grade features meant to satisfy the needs of large businesses.
The tool can have some performance issues with extremely large files. There’s a 30-minute live demo and 30-day trial available.
7. Uranium Backup Pro Virtual
Uranium Backup Pro Virtual is an Italian software made primarily with SMBs in mind. It’ll let you back up, replicate, and recover VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines. It also lets you store these backups to any service provider like Google Drive, Dropbox, Azure, Amazon S3, and others.
- Simple installation and deployment
- Easy to use
- Targeted at SMBs
- Can perform VSS backup of locked and open files
- Flexible pricing
- Unlimited backups when subscribed.
There are no extra costs on the software for having multiple hosts or CPUs, so you have unlimited backups available when subscribing to the software. It can also perform incremental and parallel backups.
All in all, the tool provides all of the essentials in one neatly tied-up package that doesn’t get bogged down with features that most SMBs will never use.
Larger businesses will find themselves looking for more features than Uranium can provide. There is a 21-day trial of its highest edition available.
8. Veritas NetBackup
Veritas is an enterprise-focused storage and data management software firm. Veritas NetBackup provides a wide range of highly advanced capabilities to help you manage data across VMs, including Red Hat Virtualization environments. The tool is made to protect data center environments, however, it’s a great fit for all enterprise infrastructures.
- Enterprise-focused software
- A holistic approach to data management and protection
- Supports a vast swath of environments and infrastructures
- Extremely in-depth and customizable
The tool can back up your data to the cloud, disk, or tape, all the while protecting VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. The tool also includes data snapshot, replication, and deduplication features.
The tool works with a wide variety of environments and infrastructure stacks to help you take a holistic approach to data protection. This allows you to rely on a singular tool for both VM management and backup software. All NetBackup appliances come together with the hardware and software components necessary to set it up within a few minutes. A variety of recovery and disaster recovery options are also available to help with devastating issues.
SMBs will struggle with getting the most out of the software, as it’s mainly geared towards large enterprises. You can request a demo from the company to try the tool out for free.
As always, the best VM backup software for your business is the one that fits your needs the best. All of the tools on this list have their uses and will be great choices depending on what your business needs. If you’re an enterprise looking for holistic data management and backup software, Veritas NetBackup might be the tool for you, if you’re looking for a free tool to provide the essential features of a VM backup software, Iperius Backup is the tool for you.
With that in mind, we tried to ensure that the top three entries are ones you can’t go wrong with including in your business’ IT infrastructure. Veeam Backup & Replication takes the top spot for us due to being lightweight, immensely scalable, and providing a variety of different backup methods.
What is your favorite virtual machine backup software?
What feature do you wish more tools had?
Let us know in the comments below!