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Unitrend Free Enterprise Backups

I know, I know, you've probably seen these banner ads all over the place, but I have to say - It's pretty awesome.

I have a small VMWare lab at home where I build VMs for testing or for doing "I wonder what would happen if I..." type of things. I've been using Windows Server backup and/or a bunch of cobbled together .bat files to do most of my backups in my home lab for years. It's worked pretty well, but a restore has always been a very manual process and thankfully I've never had a complete loss of anything where a true bare metal restore was required, because I had no good way of doing that.

My wife has started working from home more, and I'm starting to generate more data and files related to my circuit board layouts and hardware code revisions that I don't want to loose. I've used a variety of back up solutions in my professional life from Backup Exec, CA Brightstore, Storage Craft Shadow Protect, and pretty much every version of the Windows Server backup since NT4. I hate them all. Well, Shadow Protect isn't bad, it's just a pain to license/unlicensed and the support is pretty rough. I good friend of mine in the same industry has been using Unitrends for years and keeps bugging me to give them a shot. Well, free is pretty hard to pass up. So I downloaded their free appliance and installed it into my VMWare environment in my home lab.

It was super easy to configure. In probably less than an hour I had all my VMs backing up on a schedule. It can do the Master/Incremental forever type of thing, or you can do a standard Full/Inc/diff setup. It supports Windows, Linux and will back up entire VMs at the host level too which is REALLY nice. Retention times are easy to understand and setup, and the restores are really easy to do.

Back in my consulting days I wish the had been available. I had so many customers that were too cheap to buy a backup solution, yet they wanted me to help them when they deleted something or a server went belly up. This would have been perfect. I would have installed it without even telling them.

There are some restrictions however. You can only backup, 8 total VMs, which is fine for my home lab and what most of my old customers would have had. The free version also won't do replication or vaulting. Support is also limited to chat/forums/FAQs, so there is that. I stopped by the Unitrends booth at a conference I was presenting at to confirm with them that the free version is licensed for production environments, not just labs or other non-production use and it is. So if you are a consultant, go install this at all your customers's sites where they are too cheap to buy backup software.

I just wanted to share this with you all, it's a remarkably good solution.



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