Unitrends Free – Review of the free edition

I have reviewed the Unitrends backup solution in the past. I have had some very good experience with it. The solution was licensed on a per socket basis and worked on both ESXi and Hyper-V. Unitrends have now announced the “Unitrend FreeTM” Edition, which is FREE.

FREE vSphere and Hyper-V VM Backup – Unlimited VMs and Sockets – Hypervisor level protection for vSphere and Hyper-V for up to 1TB of production VM data – there’s no tie to the number of VMs or sockets in the environment.”

Installation:

The installation process is pretty straightforward. But you will need at least one windows machine to launch the installation from. Basically, the windows installer (exe) needs to be executed from a machine running .Net framework 4.0. That will fire up the installation wizard that requires some very basic information (IP address of the new backup appliance etc). I have only tested this for the ESXi version. In the ESXi version, I provided by vCenter address and credentials and it was pretty much next next next from that point on.

What happens in the background is an appliance is deployed with the information you have provided. Once the wizard is complete, the appliance is up and ready to be accessed via the web using the IP address you have provided.

In case you are skeptical about this approach versus just having access to an OVA/OVF that you can deploy yourself. Imagine this, you work in an environment that has a separate backup team, as a virtualization engineer you will only have to provide them with an account that has permissions to deploy the appliance and turn it on without giving them access to anything else. They can simply use the installation wizard without ever hitting the vSphere client. For that use case that approach makes a lot of sense. Read the rest of this entry »