TO PROTECT AND
RESTORE:
Paragon’s Backup and Recovery Solution
Yields True Efficiency and Intuitive
Functionality
By Kim B...
Talk about disaster averted.
Paragon Software Group has managed to set itself apart from close competitors in
the backup a...
Installation: Administration Server and
Console
Handily enough, PPR’s Administration
Server and Administration Console are...
ESX Bridge

Backup Servers

PPR’s ESX Bridge allows users to create
an API connection to an ESX server,
which will subsequ...
Typically, when transferring data
between remote offices and the
corporate office or to a DR location, a
user has hundreds...
Perhaps the most notable part of
Machines View is its outstanding
organization options. Users can
organize by OUs in their...
any new computers added into the OU
will not only receive an installation
package and silent installation, but also
automa...
Virtual Machine Backup Policy
This policy creates a replica or clone of
a virtual machine that remains offline.
This allow...
Activities and Events
Activities are divided into Current
Progress, Running Tasks and Scheduled
Tasks. Running tasks, if b...
About Paragon Software Group
Founded in 1994, Paragon Software offers a complete line of backup & disaster
recovery (BDR),...
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Paragon Protect & Restore product review by Computer Technology Review:

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Paragon Protect & Restore product review by Computer Technology Review:

  1. 1. TO PROTECT AND RESTORE: Paragon’s Backup and Recovery Solution Yields True Efficiency and Intuitive Functionality By Kim Borg, Editor in Chief, Computer Technology Review
  2. 2. Talk about disaster averted. Paragon Software Group has managed to set itself apart from close competitors in the backup and disaster recovery space, such as Symantec, Acronis and Veeam, by combining in a single product both backup and recovery for virtual servers and workstations as well as physical servers and workstations. The Paragon Protect & Restore 3 (PPR) solution – which utilizes a distributed architecture, effectively lightening the load on individual servers and the network – supports various backup and restore scenarios, including backup of physical servers and workstations, agentless backup and replication of ESX clients, agentbased protection of virtual Windows machines on any other common Hypervisor, as Efficiency and Intuitive Functionality well as both file-based and image-based backups. Additionally, a transparent backup administration process stores backups according to company requirements and archives them in second-tier storage or in the cloud. Let’s take a closer look under the hood. “After a thorough review, it’s clear that Paragon has taken the backup and recovery game to the next level with PPR3. For SMBs and mid-enterprise businesses alike, PPR stacks up well against similar offerings from industry heavyweights such as Symantec’s Backup Exec, Acronis’s True Image and StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect.”
  3. 3. Installation: Administration Server and Console Handily enough, PPR’s Administration Server and Administration Console are the only two components in the system which need to be physically installed via the installation media. Essentially, the server acts as the brains behind the operation, telling what machines where and when to back up. Meanwhile, the console functions as a single pane of glass-type interface to the server, allowing multiple users to be logged in and making changes simultaneously. the user is in the system. This feature allows the user to quickly and efficiently restore a system without having to click around in different areas and through numerous menus. Needless to say, that’s not only significant but often vital in a backup and recovery environment. In addition to a main viewing window, the console also features tabs that allow the user to access the different areas of both the infrastructure and the backup system itself. Configure Discovery Policy PPR’s Configure Discovery Policy feature Installation: Administration Server and lends a true set-it and-forget-it Console atmosphere to the interface by tracking an Organizational Unit (OU) in the The console also allows for a silent Active Directory infrastructure and installation of additional components automatically performing a silent on all Active Directory and workstation installation upon detection of any new computers directly through the network machines being added into that OU. using Windows WMI services. This This means that any new machine will function is sure to bring smiles to IT be automatically added into the user’s administrators’ faces, as it allows them backup infrastructure and, if configured to simultaneously roll out installations with policies, also automatically added to hundreds of computers from the into a backup policy. comfort of their desks. Static tabs in the console interface remain available regardless of where
  4. 4. ESX Bridge Backup Servers PPR’s ESX Bridge allows users to create an API connection to an ESX server, which will subsequently permit them to perform operations on that ESX server directly from the console so that they can create replicas of their virtual machines as well as agentless backups. These backups can then be transferred from the data stores on the ESX server to anywhere within the backup infrastructure. In addition, the ESX Bridge allows the user to create virtual machine replicas that remain powered off. Should disaster strike, you can immediately power up the replica and instantly resume the service of this system for maximum business continuity. This is where PPR’s distributed architecture comes into play, allowing for a two-tiered solution, one that incorporates both primary and secondary storage. These two tiers of storage, quite simply, give the user more options when it comes to saving both time and money. PPR also provides users with the ability to launch a replica from the software rather than requiring them to go into the ESX client and launch it from there. This means users only need to log into PPR and handle the infrastructure from there so that they’re instantly back up and running. For example, if the user is backing up to a primary storage location that contains a RAID array of expensive SaaS hard drives and doesn’t necessarily want to keep the backups on that expensive type of storage, there exists an archiving feature that, after the backup to the primary storage, will archive it onto more affordable secondary storage. This two-tiered storage model allows PPR to perform the backup locally on site before moving it to an offsite location, such as a disaster recovery center or corporate infrastructure center. Another notable function in the Backup Server solution is its ability to import storage.
  5. 5. Typically, when transferring data between remote offices and the corporate office or to a DR location, a user has hundreds of gigabytes or even terabytes of backups that take an inordinate amount of time to transfer over a sluggish WAN or Internet connection. That’s where the import storage feature comes in: It allows users to perform the backup locally to a USB drive, which they then would ship to the remote location or corporate office and easily import that storage directly from the PPR infrastructure. After an initial full backup, users are performing only small, incremental backups which, obviously, are much more manageable to transfer over a slow WAN or Internet connection. It’s important to note that with the PPR system, Paragon bills customers based on the machines they’re actually backing up. So, in essence, whether customers have one backup server or 100, they will be billed only for the machines that are being backed up. Machines View As its name implies, the Machines View affords the user with detailed and consumable information about the machines – both physical and virtual – in the backup infrastructure. This includes information about the IP address, workgroup, domain and operating system associated with each machine, along with the roles installed, the volumes and any network adapters connected to each machine as well as if it’s online or offline. "Machines View also allows users to see all of their virtual machines and, if applicable, an OS label, host IP address and amount
  6. 6. Perhaps the most notable part of Machines View is its outstanding organization options. Users can organize by OUs in their Active Directory infrastructure, by domain, workgroup, operating system version and even time zone, which, perhaps surprisingly, proves incredibly useful when setting up policies in corporate or enterprise environments. Machines View also allows users to see all of their virtual machines and, if applicable, an OS label, host IP address and amount of occupied space. Setting Up a Machine Backup Policy Upon launching the physical Machine Backup Policy Wizard, the user will be prompted to name the backup policy and the destination. Here, users are armed with information about disk usage on individual storage locations. After selecting the settings for where and how often users want to back up, along with how long they wish to keep backups, they then designate what they would like to back up—whether it be the entire computer or just specific objects. Both types of backups allow for a full bare-metal recovery and back up all volumes connected to the computer along with system volumes and boot information. Volumes can be specified by label or by drive letter. It’s worth noting that if certain volumes exist on the system that haven’t been mounted with a drive letter, they can still be backed up through the PPR software. Of course, after choosing what they’re backing up, users can pick and choose to what computers they’d like to assign the Machine Backup Policy. In addition, the user can assign backups according to computer state – whether it’s online or role pending, for example – by domain, by workgroup, by operating system and by time zone. The time zone option is key, as most companies prefer their backups to be scheduled outside of business hours. With this policy, too, the user can choose to back up not only individual computers but also entire groups. The process of selecting entire groups to back up in an OU works in conjunction with PPR’s Discovery Policy, so that
  7. 7. any new computers added into the OU will not only receive an installation package and silent installation, but also automatically be added into the Backup Policy. A validation process then ensures that all settings have been entered correctly and deals with any problems before performing an initial backup. Scheduler As infrastructure moves outside the enterprise and the purview of the IT organization, maintaining containerbased security becomes more and more difficult. An alternate approach, embedding at least some security(specifically confidentiality) into the document itself, is fast becoming amore viable option. It provides away for IT to re-establish security policies that are meaningful and realistic, even in a cloud and BYOD environment. Retention Policy Whether it’s created on the storage itself or through the Backup Policy, the Retention Policy allows users to take a full backup as the starting point and incremental backups thereafter. A new, full backup can be performed on a regular basis, or a series of incremental backups can be rolled up into a new full backup, eliminating the need to create a full backup from scratch every time. This is a true time and data transfersaver if you’re moving that backup across a WAN connection or storing it in other locations within your infrastructure. If users do choose to set individual retention policies for the Backup Policy, they can choose not only a time-based retention policy but also a size-based one, ensuring against a certain threshold on data storage capabilities. Conveniently, the time-based retention policy can range from a few hours to many months or years.
  8. 8. Virtual Machine Backup Policy This policy creates a replica or clone of a virtual machine that remains offline. This allows the user to incrementally update that clone so that it’s always up to date. As with PPR’s other policies, the Virtual Machine Replication Policy allows users to schedule updates as frequently or infrequently as they like. Additionally, if you schedule updates to occur every five minutes, for example, then, should a virtual machine go down, all one has to do is launch the virtual machine replica or clone from the product. Voilà: the system is instantly restored to an up to-date clone. It’s no small thing that you can be back up and running in the time it takes to boot up that virtual machine in your infrastructure. Restore Policies The restore policies are such that users can back up several hundred machines as easily as they can an individual machine. To find individual machines, a user can type in “C,” for example, to bring up all machines with “Cs” in their name and “O” to further narrow down the search. When you’re in restore mode, every second counts, so we found this procedure to be equal parts fast and intuitive. In addition, as with the product’s other policies, the Restore Policies give users the option to restore the entire computer or individual volumes, after which they are supplied with a Recovery-ID in order to create the policy. What’s nice is that the policy will remain in effect until it is physically deleted out of the system. Users also have the capability of restoring individual files on either a remote or local machine, which gives them the ability to restore a file that an end-user deleted directly through the PPR product. PPR’s Notification Policies allow users to get as granular or as broad as they like with their notification preferences. For example, you can be notified one very failure and success of every maintenance policy. Notifications can be sent to as many email recipients as the user designates; plus, the email system is intuitive so that if you do add a new user and a notification, then they will automatically be added to the email list.
  9. 9. Activities and Events Activities are divided into Current Progress, Running Tasks and Scheduled Tasks. Running tasks, if backing up multiple machines, will let you know if any of those machines failed. Meanwhile, scheduled tasks allow users to modify tasks directly from the Scheduled Tasks View so they don’t have to jump back and forth between multiple tabs in the infrastructure. Past Activities In addition to detailed task information, Past Activities contains Log Entries and Policy Reports. The Log Entries will show just the events associated with a specific task that have run, while the Policy Reports show what happened and every time a task has run. Armed with this amount of information, if you do encounter a problem, you can easily determine if that problem was with the infrastructure, the operating system or even the network. Pricing and Licensing Paragon Protect & Restore 3 is available in Windows Workstation, Windows Server and VM editions and is licensed per physical machine or, in the case of the VM edition, per socket. Pricing starts at $999 per server for the Server edition, $89 per machine for the Workstation edition, and tiers down from that point. One year of maintenance comes included with the license. The maintenance contract includes unlimited U.S.-based support, as well as Upgrade Assurance, which means free upgrades during the term of the contract, to ensure users always have the latest version of the product. After a thorough review, it’s clear that Paragon has taken the backup and recovery game to the next level with PPR3. For SMBs and mid-enterprise businesses alike, PPR stacks up well against similar offerings from industry heavyweights such as Symantec’s Backup Exec, Acronis’s True Image and StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect. Indeed PPR sets itself apart, not only by providing one solution for both virtual and physical environments but also by offering up the most economical solution, based on pricing comparisons for both servers and workstations. To learn more about Paragon Protect & Restore or the company’s partner program, please visit www.protectrestore.com.
  10. 10. About Paragon Software Group Founded in 1994, Paragon Software offers a complete line of backup & disaster recovery (BDR), imaging, virtualization and hard disk management solutions. Paragon serves its customers and partners from offices around the world, delivering its software and services to SMB and large enterprise customers through a network of VARs, MSPs, DMRs and OEMs, as well as online through the company web site. www.paragon-software.com About Computer Technology Review Founded in 1981, Computer Technology Review (CTR), published by WestWorld Productions, is one of the most respected editorial authorities in the computer storage, networking and information technology industries. In fact, CTR was the first storage publication to have a Web presence. Today, the CTR website has a very loyal following and is one of the largest sites devoted to data storage and data management. Except for specialty printed publications throughout the year, CTR is entirely online. Readers of CTR are end-user IT management, VARs and systems integrators. Our mission is to provide our readers with the information needed to evaluate, specify, integrate, and implement working systems in various vertical applications.

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