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Acronis Backup Advanced Review
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Review

Acronis Backup Advanced Review

by February 13, 2015

Acronis Backup Advanced Review

Acronis Backup Advanced is designed for larger organizations with a great many devices. It has a centralized management console from which you can connect to just about any networked device and check the backups for issues or change the backup parameters.

The install package is pretty hefty at 1.84 GB. There’s a reason it is so large, it contains many other components which you’ll want to select from during the installation process. This process is a little more complex but by checking a few boxes it can be made easier. If you need a more detailed component selection you can use the custom install section located at the bottom.

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If you want to make use of use of the webpage ability to distribute components be sure to enable it here!

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When you first start Acronis Backup Advanced you won’t see many choices. Once you have made your selection from the three available connections the display will switch to that part of the main interface. Acronis Backup Advanced shares many of the same options and window layouts we found while testing Acronis Backup. If you missed that review and want to take a closer look at it feel free to check it out HERE.

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Acronis Backup Advanced builds upon the foundation of Acronis Backup by making remote management simple. It also expands upon it by making use of a wider range of ‘Backup Agents’. While these Agents are included in the install package some may require additional licenses.

There are a few ways to get an Acronis Agent installed on to a remote machine. The obvious method might be to initiate a remote session and copy, then install, them manually. However Acronis Backup Advanced has an integrated tool to help make this much easier. Simply select ‘Tools > Install Acronis Components’ from the menu.

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Select the machine(s) and input the appropriate credentials. Once you have the machine(s) you want to add the Agent to you can select from the available Agent types and optionally add other utilities. The installation was transparent to the user logged in on the test machine until after it was done. I had set it to reboot the machine if needed so be sure to use that option with care or you may very well ruin someones day.

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Installation packages can also be pushed out through group policy on a domain but this will be a bit harder to configure. Not everything can be installed remotely but what they have available would seem to cover most workstations and thus reduce the workload by quite a large chunk. If you want to set up Agents for Active Directory, Exchange, SQL, or VMWare ESXi this will require a little more manual work.

Once you are connected to a remote machine the interface becomes virtually identical to what we saw in Acronis Backup. The ‘Tape management’ and ‘Disk management’ sections of the navigation tab were the first additions I spotted.

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I wasn’t able to test out the tape management but the Disk Management tab seemed straight forward enough. It isn’t a full featured suite like the standalone Acronis Disk Director but could still be helpful in some situations. Personally I would have liked to see more options included but as its only real function is to aid in restoring drive configurations prior to a restore process I really shouldn’t complain.

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As I mentioned briefly before Acronis Backup Advanced employs the use of Agents for many different systems. These can be added to hypervisors such as ESXi(vSphere) and Hyper-V. Once the Agents are installed into the hypervisor there is no need to install one for every VM you have. It also has support for other Virtual Machines such as Citrix XenServer (fully virtualized/HVM), Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Oracle VM. Unlike the hypervisor these do require Agents to be installed. While I mentioned that you don’t have to install an agent into the hypervisor VMs you may do so if it works better for your situation. Depending on how many machines you run in your hypervisor you can backup a maximum of ten at one time. This number is one we can choose in the options under ‘Simultaneous VM backup’.

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The Advanced version also implements its own method of ‘Changed Block Tracing’ which can be toggled on instead of relying on the VMWare version.

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Under the restore options you will find a few ‘VM power management’ on / off check boxes.

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There are also a few more Agents which can be used for Active Directory, Exchange, SQL and SharePoint. After the agents have been added you can access them through the management console to monitor or adjust backup plans as needed.

Just like with Acronis Backup, you can save your archives in up to five different locations automatically with a single backup plan including using the Acronis Cloud.

One thing that I mentioned in the last review for Acronis Backup was the ability to setup default options. I’d strongly suggest making use of these where possible. I enjoyed finding the ability to filter the options by types. There are so many to go through that having the ability to remove potentially irrelevant entries was very nice.

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Upon connecting to the Acronis Management Console the Navigation tab will have a few other sections that may be relevant.

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Another thing I mentioned in the last review, but did not thoroughly cover, is the ability to create bootable media to aid in the recovery of a backup for systems that can’t even reach the OS.  There are Linux and WinPE based choices.

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The media can be created with pre-specified credentials or network information. You can then use the console to connect to any machine that has booted from such media using the IP of the machine and inputting the credentials chosen at the time the media was crafted.

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Bootable Media

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Management Console: Connect > Manage a remote machine

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Management Console

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Management Console

Once you have connected to the remote machine you can then use any of the tools available on the bootable media as if you were at the system itself. It isn’t as full featured like when connecting to an installed Agent but it has all the basics you’ll need to get a system restored and running again.

One of my favorite tools available across many Acronis products is the ability to restore an image to dissimilar hardware. Acronis Universal Restore is a separate download but don’t forget to grab it HERE if you have a licensed product. While it does most of the heavy lifting you’ll still need to be prepared to present relevant drivers to aid it in successfully altering the restored OS to a usable state for new/changed hardware.

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Conclusion and final thoughts:

I’m not an IT pro and this product is designed for larger environments which I have no experience with. There are many other features that I was unable to properly test and cover here as I have no Hypervisor or database servers laying around. As such my focus was more on the console and remote management of networked computers. In this regard I found Acronis Backup Advanced to be very easy to work with.

It doesn’t have the prettiest interface and sometimes it seemed like an option might be better placed elsewhere but those would just be my personal tastes at work. Despite having an almost overwhelming number of options they’ve grouped relevant selections together rather well and once you grasp how everything is set up it’s very easy to adjust.

I experienced no errors or crashes from either the Management Console, services or Agents. The Agents sat quietly in the background when not actively engaged in backups. The options available for throttling cpu, disk or network usage can also aid in making them less noticeable for the user at the station even when they are busy creating the planned backups.

Just like the other Acronis products we’ve covered Backup Advanced proved to be a rock solid solution for file or disk backup and restoration. I expect that those Agents I was unable to test function just as well. Don’t take a leap of faith though, make use of that free trial and see it in action for yourself.

Pros

Despite being powerful it is fairly easy to use.
It does its job well and once it is set up requires very little maintenance.

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9.9
Conclusions

Carrying on in the tradition of Acronis products Backup Advanced proved to be an easy to use and powerful solution. It did so not only by creating and managing backups in general but by making the workstation Agent installs quick, effortless and transparent.

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9.9
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