Full vs. incremental vs. differential: Comparing backup types Types of Backup Explained: Full, Incremental, Differential, etc.

Examine these 21 top cloud backup services for business

Before selecting a service from a cloud backup provider, identify your organization's specific needs, including which features are important for security and data management.

As data becomes more valuable to enterprises, backup and data protection become increasingly critical in delivering IT services to internal business customers. Over the last 15 years, IT has gradually adopted public cloud services and moved toward a hybrid IT model. In many cases, this is simply using public cloud tactically to deliver some IaaS or SaaS offering. However, over time, we can expect the complexity and integration of services to become more dynamic, and, as a result, we'll see a complementary evolution in cloud backup services for business and data protection.

How organizations are using the public cloud

Public cloud adoption is becoming increasingly more widespread. Let's examine three scenarios where public cloud is being adopted to improve data protection.

Cloud as a target. Public cloud storage as a data target offers operational and cost advantages over traditional media, such as tape or disk. Public clouds are essentially infinitely scalable, with no ongoing user planning needed to meet evolving business demand. Public cloud moves IT to an Opex model, where organizations pay for the capacity based on consumption rather than as a capital purchase. Usage can increase and decrease without incurring long-term financial commitments.

However, public cloud does present some challenges. The most notable is networking capacity and bandwidth between the on-premises applications and the cloud itself. Highly centralized IT organizations benefit less from public cloud backup compared to a highly dispersed business because they can manage network throughput of dispersed applications more easily in parallel. Another consideration is the efficiency of how data is stored in cloud archives. Efficient deduplication is essential, as cloud service providers don't expose the benefits of dedupe to their customers.

As we've seen in recent press coverage, it's easy to inadvertently expose data from the public cloud to the wider internet. This means organizations need to implement operational standards to support data encryption at rest and in flight. Cloud backup services for business also need to support these security standards natively because data may not always reside within one cloud provider.

Cloud-native workloads. Applications can be divided into two main groups: IaaS-delivered offerings and SaaS products. Typical IaaS products include virtual instances and VMs, file services and databases. SaaS offerings include messaging and collaboration products, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). Public cloud providers offer only the basic data protection necessary to ensure they can resume service in the event of an infrastructure failure. Cloud backup vendors are now providing additional data protection capabilities that support both IaaS and SaaS platforms. In turn, data protection vendors are using IaaS and SaaS as delivery models for their software.

Cloud-native data protection. Cloud-native offerings use the benefits of public cloud to deliver data protection. This is more than simply taking advantage of cheap and scalable object storage. Cloud-native products use the cloud for storing metadata, delivering search and managing backups through a web-based portal. These products can protect applications running in the public cloud, on premises or both.

Cloud-native products enable organizations to scale their backup environment on demand. Users don't have to plan for the high watermark of backups that may occur once a month or only a few times a year. Instead, these products and services can spin up and shut down cloud resources to meet demand, greatly reducing costs.

Cloud backup services market focus

One disadvantage of cloud-native support is that these services can reintroduce agents into a backup environment. Many cloud backup services for business support agents remotely from the cloud, upgrading them as necessary for new features and fixes.

Cloud storage is generally charged on a capacity basis, with extra charges for read/write activity and network egress traffic or moving data out of the cloud. While it costs nothing to get data into the public cloud, restoring data en masse is expensive and can make DR from the cloud a costly proposition. As a result, some vendors enable data to be kept on-site and in the cloud to reduce the overhead of mass recovery.

The cloud backup services market

Data protection vendors and cloud service providers have either amended their products for cloud or brought new offerings to the market. In the public cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure provide native managed backup services for virtual instances, files and databases, whereas Google currently only offers managed backup for SQL databases.

There's widespread support for public cloud storage as a repository for data. This is typically through native support for the Amazon S3 API interface and Azure Blob storage API. In many cases, this data is simply written in the vendor's proprietary format and isn't easily available for search and analytics. But organizations can use the images for DR. Some cloud backup vendors are integrating data and metadata in the cloud, making it easier to use the data for archive purposes.

Many vendors offer products that span on premises and public cloud, with cloud support enabled through virtual appliances. This offers some degree of hybrid capability and data mobility for moving applications to and from the cloud.

Cloud backup service considerations

The choice of public cloud as a target also includes the use of proprietary clouds from some vendors. Here, the cloud backup provider runs and manages a private cloud exclusively for customers and separate from any public cloud hyperscaler. This helps the vendor provide better service levels and make costs more predictable but does lock the data into that vendor's product with no clear way to migrate historical backups to another provider in the future.

Finally, there are several cloud backup providers that are entirely cloud-native. Rather than simply running a virtual instance with backup software, these services take advantage of cloud-native features, such as modern databases, key-value stores, search and storage. They can scale up and down on demand, making their services highly efficient and simple to deploy in any public cloud region. If and when these vendors support multiple public clouds, applications will get a new level of data mobility and protection.

As this article demonstrates, there's a wide variety of vendors and providers that are addressing the growing need for cloud backup services and taking advantage of the cloud for data protection. To help simplify the selection process, we examine, in alphabetical order, the features and functionalities of 21 top cloud backup services for business and how each addresses integration, data protection, DR and pricing.

Changing requirements

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt workplaces across the world, data protection vendors are adapting their offerings to meet a changing set of requirements. Employees working from home need better endpoint protection for desktops and laptops and improved self-service functionality. Vendors are offering products that integrate with video conferencing platforms and identify and block suspicious content. Implementing data protection is more than just backup and restore, as there's now a focus on the preemptive process of mitigating issues before they occur.

With lockdowns still in place in many countries around the world, businesses will be looking to extend their capability to manage and recover data assets remotely. This represents a massive opportunity for cloud-based backup and recovery offerings, where the challenges of managing the infrastructure are already in place.

Considerations for selecting a cloud backup service

Which features should organizations consider before selecting a cloud backup service? The following are some initial considerations:

  • Performance. This can be difficult to gauge, as most backups are dependent on the size of network available, the performance of cloud storage targets and the number of streams being backed up in parallel. Ideally, services need to meet recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective service-level requirements. Some vendors show RTO and RPO targets within their services' dashboard.
  • Security. This includes credentials management and encryption. Where possible, cloud backup vendors should enable organizations to use private keys to prevent access by the service provider. Another consideration is the ability to use multiple cloud accounts and object locking capabilities. This creates a logical "air gap" between primary and backup data, reducing the risk or impact from challenges such as ransomware.
  • Efficiency. How efficiently is data being written to and from the public cloud? With restricted bandwidth and service-level objectives to meet, cloud backup services must implement WAN optimization and efficient block-level deduplication of data across the network.
  • Content management. A public cloud provides the perfect place to implement value-added services, including ransomware detection, search and e-discovery, and archiving. Products using a public cloud as a simple target typically don't offer additional content features. Backup software should also take advantage of cloud tiering functionality and pass these savings back to the customer.
  • Data mobility. How easily can data be moved between on premises and public cloud? On-premises virtual instances need to be manipulated, or seeded with the appropriate drivers, before they can be booted in a public cloud, for example. This kind of bare-metal support will become increasingly important for implementing cloud-based DR.
  • Feature depth. What features does the cloud backup platform support? How mature are these features compared to traditional data protection products? Cloud backup services should deliver managed backup features that enable users to automatically schedule backups and implement retention policies.
  • Cost. Determining the cost of data protection can be complex. Vendors charge license fees, either per gigabyte of capacity stored or per virtual or physical instance. Moving data out of a public cloud generally incurs an additional charge, unless the vendor has absorbed the cost within the service itself. In this case, the customer doesn't have to be anxious about the impact and cost of offering features like self-service recovery to internal customers.

1. Acronis

Products: Acronis Cyber Backup, Acronis Cyber Protect
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Acronis Cyber Backup (formerly Acronis Backup) offers data protection across more than 20 platforms.

Acronis Cyber Protect, which is an edition of Acronis Cyber Backup, integrates cybersecurity and management capabilities and helps to streamlines data protection.

Notable features. IT departments can use Acronis to back up data to one of more than 14 global Acronis managed data centers. Acronis lets users move workloads between public clouds, virtual servers or physical servers in multiple configurations. AI and machine learning models within Acronis Cyber Backup detect and identify ransomware and other suspicious behavior. Service providers use Acronis Backup Cloud to offer branded data protection.

Integrations. Acronis Cyber Backup supports a range of hardware and software platforms. This includes SaaS cloud protection for Office 365 mailboxes and Google Workspace, virtual infrastructure running in AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. Acronis Cyber Backup integrates with major hypervisor platforms, including VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, to provide physical-to-virtual, virtual-to-physical, virtual-to-virtual and physical-to-physical recovery options. The Advanced release protects Oracle databases and client or Type 2 hypervisors.

Acronis Cyber Backup offers data protection for endpoint devices, including Windows desktops, Windows Surface tablets and Apple Macs. Endpoint protection also extends to iPhone and Android devices. Acronis continues to increase its focus on cybersecurity and both prevention and recovery from ransomware. This includes training programs and best practices for its more than 50,000 partners.

Pricing. Acronis Cyber Protect products are licensed by the number of workloads per server, workstation or virtual host.

2. Actifio

Product: Actifio Sky Copy Data Virtualization Platform
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Actifio offers data protection and copy data management products for the enterprise. The company's focus on protecting data enables IT departments to reuse that protected content as part of data workflow processes for multiple business activities. Actifio sells services either as physical on-premises appliances or virtual appliances that organizations can deploy on hypervisors or public cloud.

Notable features. Actifio's Virtual Data Pipeline (VDP) ingests, secures and manages data over its lifetime within the platform. Organizations can reuse data for test/dev, analytics and machine learning, or security and compliance.

The Actifio Sky virtual appliance runs the VDP data ingestion engine on virtual infrastructure or in the public cloud to provide data protection for cloud-native applications running as virtual instances. Sky runs on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM and Oracle public clouds.

In December 2019, Actifio announced Actifio 10c, a major platform upgrade that focuses on multi-cloud disaster recovery automation and extending the data management features of VDP to support database cloning to container-based platforms.

Integrations. Actifio protects hypervisors, including VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Physical server support extends to Microsoft Windows, Linux and Unix. Actifio provides native support for all common database platforms and NoSQL databases, including MongoDB.

Pricing. Actifio products are priced per terabyte by volume of source data protected.

3. Arcserve

Products: Arcserve Unified Data Protection Cloud Hybrid, Arcserve UDP Cloud Direct
Market focus: On-premises cloud backup and cloud DR

Arcserve UDP Cloud Hybrid, an extension to the on-premises UDP product, uses a UDP Recovery Point Server (RPS) in the public cloud as the replication point for data stored in an on-premises appliance. Arcserve UDP Cloud Direct backup and DR as a service (DRaaS) eliminate the need for on-premises backup infrastructure.

Notable features. Arcserve runs a private cloud for backup and DR that's based in global data centers in California, New Jersey and the U.K. Organizations that don't want to run on-premises data protection can use Cloud Direct, a web-based SaaS service that's delivered from the public cloud.

Integrations. Replicated data is stored in Microsoft Azure, AWS, Arcserve Cloud and other public clouds. Users can restore data from the cloud or recover into the public cloud using UDP Cloud Direct. Arcserve implements Cloud Direct protection using virtual agents and appliances installed on either VMware vSphere or on physical Windows servers.

Pricing. Cloud Direct is priced per terabyte of cloud storage used, independent of the number of host machines protected or agents deployed. DRaaS users can also purchase reserved RAM to recover virtual instances in a disaster scenario.

4. Asigra

Product: Asigra Cloud Backup
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Asigra provides a wide range of data protection products under the banner of Asigra Cloud Backup. The company has delivered products to the market through partners and managed service providers (MSPs) for more than 30 years.

Notable features. Asigra Cloud Backup covers all aspects of data protection including traditional cloud services, SaaS offerings and on-premises data centers. The company was the first to claim data protection for containers in 2016.

Integrations. Asigra integrates with on-premises VMware and Hyper-V platforms, containers, storage appliances, OSes and databases. The company claims this support can be achieved without the use of server-based agents.

Pricing. Pricing is based on data capacity consumed, virtual and physical instances protected, individual SaaS licenses -- such as mailboxes -- or as a per-socket license.

5. AWS

Product: AWS Backup
Market focus: Cloud-native backup

The AWS public cloud service platform includes the following:

  • EC2 for running VMs;
  • Elastic Block Store (EBS) local block storage;
  • Elastic File System (EFS) local file storage; and
  • a range of database as a service (DBaaS) platforms.

These DBaaS platforms include Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), which runs common relational database systems, and Amazon DynamoDB, a key-value and document database.

Notable features. AWS Backup is a natively integrated managed service that enables users to schedule backups and set policies for the most common Amazon services. The vendor recently extended the backup of EC2 instances to cover the data and configuration components, making it easier for organizations to restore an entire EC2 instance.

Integrations. AWS Backup provides native support for EFS and Amazon DynamoDB from within the application. RDS and EBS backups use block-level snapshots that they offload to the S3 object store. AWS Storage Gateway supports hybrid and on-premises environments. The gateway software exposes local block devices to on-premises compute resources, shipping snapshots back to S3. Users can access Backup through a web console, command-line interfaces and APIs. EFS data protection now provides the capability to perform individual file restores, rather than an entire file system.

Pricing. Backup is priced per gigabyte, per month, based on the volume of data protected and the volume of data restored. Backup is offered in a limited number of AWS locations -- three of the eight U.S. locations, two of the five locations in EMEA and only one of nine locations in Asia. Backup only supports application protection within the same region.

6. Barracuda Networks

Products: Barracuda Backup, Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup
Market focus: On-premises cloud backup and cloud DR

Barracuda physical and virtual appliances can use cloud as a backup target. Barracuda focuses its offerings on on-premises data protection and recovery.

Barracuda backup products provide an on-premises copy of data for fast, local restore and cloud-based copy that can satisfy the 3-2-1 backup strategy, which calls for at least three copies of data, at least two copies on different media and at least one copy off site. The cloud represents the off-site copy and one of the two media types.

Data protection vendors and cloud service providers have either amended their products for cloud or brought new offerings to the market.

Barracuda runs a private data center branded as Barracuda Cloud as a storage target for backup data.

Notable features. MSPs use Barracuda to resell backup services. Barracuda can also protect Office 365 SaaS applications using web-based access and data stored in Barracuda Cloud. The Instant Replacement subscription option ships an appliance back to the business's IT department, preloaded with recovery data from Barracuda Cloud in the event of an on-site disaster.

Integrations. Barracuda Backup supports Windows, Linux and macOS, as well as VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Pricing. Barracuda Cloud pricing is based on a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription model. Virtual appliances are licensed per socket for virtual hosts and per server for physical servers, where the virtual server runs on the organization's own hardware.

7. Carbonite

Products: Carbonite Endpoint, Carbonite Server, Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup and cloud storage target

Carbonite mostly targets small businesses. Carbonite Endpoint protects endpoint devices and data stored in Office 365 SaaS applications, including Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Exchange and SharePoint. Users can store backup data in their organization's data center, in a Microsoft Azure Enterprise account or within Carbonite's own Azure-hosted vault.

Carbonite was acquired by OpenText in December 2019.

Notable features. Carbonite Server creates backup images that can also provide DR capabilities with Carbonite Availability. It replicates data in near real time to provide recovery point objectives (RPOs) of a few minutes or even seconds. In a disaster scenario, applications fail over to Carbonite Cloud through automation and runbook information that identifies boot order and implements DNS changes.

Integrations. Organizations can deploy Carbonite Server on a local backup server and provide wide backup protection for common OSes and Microsoft applications. This includes on-premises Microsoft SQL, Exchange and SharePoint, as well as Oracle databases. The service replicates a backup copy to Carbonite Cloud, a proprietary public cloud storage target.

Pricing. Carbonite pricing is based on protected capacity per server, per month, with additional license costs for protection of databases and optional bare-metal restores. This includes up to 500 GB on Carbonite Cloud. Additional backup capacity is charged in 100 GB increments on an annual basis.

8. Cohesity

Products: DataPlatform, DataProtect, CloudArchive, CloudArchive Direct, CloudReplicate
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Cohesity DataPlatform stores secondary and unstructured data. It runs on premises on appliances, at the edge as a VM and in the public cloud as a virtual instance. The DataProtect feature implements policy-based data protection for physical and virtual workloads on premises and in the public cloud.

Users can archive old snapshots into the public cloud using the CloudArchive feature or use the CloudArchive Direct feature to archive and move files directly from NAS to the cloud. CloudReplicate can replicate on-premises backup data into the public cloud and restore applications as public cloud instances with automated VM conversion.

With cloud-native backup, DataPlatform can take backups of cloud-based applications. It can also back up on-premises data directly to public cloud without the need for an on-premises appliance.

Notable features. DataProtect natively supports on-premises storage arrays, including those from Pure Storage, NetApp and Datrium. The Cohesity platform also provides file services as a primary platform and has recently introduced an application marketplace to run analytics products directly on the appliances.

In October, Cohesity announced a partnership with AWS to provide native data protection capabilities under the banner of "Data Management as a Service." The first implementation will be a SaaS cloud backup offering.

Integrations. DataProtect supports virtual workloads running on VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV and physical servers running all common OSes. This includes Linux, AIX, Windows and Solaris. DataProtect also supports traditional databases and on-premises applications, such as SQL Server, Exchange, Oracle and SharePoint. The platform can also protect SaaS applications, including Office 365.

Pricing. Appliances are priced based on the model size and capacity. Virtual appliance licenses for DataPlatform Cloud Edition are priced per terabyte of capacity managed.

9. Commvault Systems

Products: Complete Backup & Recovery, HyperScale Appliance
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Commvault's software platform protects applications and data on premises, in the public cloud and in SaaS applications. The Commvault Complete architecture enables management control to run on premises, while data movement is performed in the public cloud, on premises or in both locations to support true hybrid environments.

Commvault HyperScale Appliance packages Commvault Complete with scale-out hardware. Appliances support the archive of backup data to public cloud targets.

Notable features. Commvault Command Center can migrate applications between public clouds with in-place conversion of virtual instances to work with the target platform. Commvault offers backup as a service within AWS. This is a managed instance running the Commvault Complete software. Complete backup as a service protects workloads running as virtual instances and common cloud-native relational databases. Commvault recently announced a partnership with Microsoft across sales, marketing and engineering of cloud-native backup offerings. Expect to see further integration of Metallic into the Azure cloud platform.

Integrations. Commvault supports more than 40 common public cloud storage vendors and private cloud object and file store platforms, acting as a cloud storage target. Commvault Complete supports a wide range of client OSes, databases, NAS platforms and SaaS applications. Metallic now supports secondary storage in Microsoft Azure. This offering is implemented as SaaS, with no customer configurations necessary.

Pricing. Commvault Complete as a service is charged by front-end gigabyte protected per month, depending on the type of data protected. Commvault Complete platforms are charged under a traditional features license, a capacity license for the amount of data protected or the number of client devices and platforms being protected.

10. Dell EMC

Products: Avamar Virtual Edition, Cloud Snapshot Manager, Data Domain Virtual Edition, Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA)
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

The Dell EMC suite of cloud backup services integrates with and protects resources in the public cloud. Avamar Virtual Edition runs data protection in the public cloud, on either AWS or Microsoft Azure. Cloud Snapshot Manager enables users to orchestrate and manage the native snapshot features of public cloud to protect virtual instances and applications. Data Domain Virtual Edition gives users the ability to store and deduplicate backup data in the public cloud.

Notable features. Dell EMC Cloud Disaster Recovery lets users copy protected VMs into the public cloud from on-premises Data Domain, IDPA or Avamar systems. Dell EMC has expanded this capability to copy data directly to AWS S3 and use for on-demand recovery into VMware Cloud on AWS.

Integrations. Dell IDPA supports the tiering of data to public cloud storage as VM images.

Pricing. Dell EMC provides custom pricing for each of its data protection products that's typically negotiated individually for enterprise accounts.

11. Druva

Products: Phoenix, InSync, CloudRanger
Market focus: Cloud-native backup

Druva has built a data protection product wholly implemented in the public cloud. The Druva platform uses public cloud services, such as object storage, elastic search and NoSQL databases.

By centralizing backup data in one place, Druva can deliver value-added services, such as search, governance, e-discovery and compliance checks across all data, regardless of the source platform.

Notable features. Because Druva is cloud-based, users don't need to deploy infrastructure on their own premises. They can simply deploy a virtual agent that acts as the on-premises-to-cloud data mover. The use of public cloud enables Druva to scale up resources to meet demand, rather than having infrastructure idle for large parts of the business day. Equally, this helps solve the capacity planning issue many enterprises experience, where growth in storage isn't always matched by an increase in the capacity of the backup platform.

Integrations. Druva offers data protection for the following four main workload types:

  1. data center applications running on physical or virtual servers;
  2. virtual instances in AWS public cloud;
  3. endpoint devices such as laptops; and
  4. SaaS applications, including Office 365 and Google Workspace.

Druva recently introduced backup for NAS platforms to complement data center protection offerings.

Pricing. Druva protection for servers and applications is priced per terabyte. SaaS applications are priced per user, per month. Endpoint devices are charged per user, per month, and native cloud protection is charged by the number of virtual servers and accounts.

12. Google

Products: Google Cloud Platform, Database backup
Market focus. Cloud-native backup

GCP currently provides no native backup capabilities on its platform to protect virtual instances, other than the ability to take snapshots from persistent disks. IT departments need to manage the snapshot process manually through scripting and coordinating file system Quiescing.

Notable features. Organizations can use GCP as a backup target. Google offers three levels of product based on access frequency, ranging from Standard with frequent access, to Nearline with access less than once a month, to Coldline with access less than once a year. Google Cloud Storage has a native API and can support the S3 API for applications that aren't specifically written for GCP.

Integrations. Google offers native backup capability for database platforms, including MySQL and PostgreSQL. Organizations must ensure data has moved to cloud storage before deleting a backup instance, as GCP doesn't retain the backup images by default following the deletion of a database.

Pricing. Cloud storage is priced based on capacity, with decreased costs for less frequently used data. Additional charges are also incurred for API read/write operations and data egress. Database backup charges are based on the quantity of backup data stored.

13. HYCU Inc.

Products: HYCU and Protégé
Market Focus: Multi-cloud backup

HYCU was initially data protection for Nutanix on-premises workloads. The company now supports VMware vSphere, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. The HYCU product implements backup and restore capabilities while Protégé delivers disaster recovery and centralized management.

Notable features. HYCU supports hybrid data protection between on-premises and the major cloud providers with a SaaS-based model for backup and restore. Organizations can also use the public cloud as a storage target and migrate workloads dynamically to Google Cloud and for disaster recovery purposes.

Integrations. HYCU supports Nutanix AHV and VMware environments, including Nutanix Files, VMware vSphere, traditional on-premises databases and the protection of public cloud instances in GCP and Azure.

Pricing. HYCU is priced per socket, per VM and is based on capacity in the public cloud.

14. Microsoft

Products: Azure Backup, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Recovery Services
Market focus: Cloud-native backup

Azure Blob Storage is an object storage target in the public cloud for third-party backup products. Azure Backup provides protection for Azure public cloud VMs and SQL databases. Microsoft Azure Recovery Services protects on-premises resources using the public cloud.

Azure Backup protects Azure Files and cloud-native workloads in Azure, as well as VMs and SQL Server. Azure Backup operates from within the Azure portal and can restore data down to file-level granularity.

Notable features. Microsoft Azure can protect on-premises infrastructure. Azure Backup supports on-premises VMware vSphere infrastructure through either Data Protection Manager or Microsoft Azure Backup Server. Microsoft Azure Recovery Services provides direct backup of on-premises Windows servers. Microsoft doesn't support backup of physical Linux servers.

Microsoft is partnering with HYCU to offer cloud-integrated backup and with Commvault to license Metallic for SaaS-based cloud data protection.

Integrations. Microsoft uses a proprietary interface and doesn't support its rival Amazon's S3 API. This means backup vendors must provide native support or use a gateway to convert from S3 to the Blob API.

Pricing. Blob Storage pricing is based on data redundancy requirements, performance and usage metrics that include read/write operations and network egress traffic. Backup pricing is based on a per-instance charge and varies by the storage capacity of the instance.

15. MSP360 (formerly CloudBerry Lab)

Products: MSP360 Backup, MSP360 Managed Backup
Market focus: Cloud storage target

MSP360 Backup targets its software at small businesses. The software supports local storage as a backup target, can use public cloud storage or can use both.

The MSP360 Backup software is available in the following six editions:

  • Windows Desktop & Server;
  • SQL Server;
  • Exchange;
  • Oracle Database;
  • Ultimate; and
  • NAS.

The Ultimate edition provides data protection for all supported platforms. Organizations install and manage MSP360 Backup as local software on the server being protected.

Notable features. MSP360 Backup can restore Windows backup images as AWS or Microsoft Azure virtual instances. MSP360's managed backup service enables MSPs and IT departments to deliver cloud backup services to their internal and external customers through a SaaS web portal.

Integrations. MSP360 Backup supports Office 365 and Google Workspace SaaS platforms. Public cloud storage target support is available for approximately 60 vendors, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, Wasabi and Google Cloud Storage.

Pricing. Licensing is per server, with increasing costs for each software version from Windows Pro to Ultimate. Organizations still need to provide a public cloud storage account and pay for any data backed up separately.

16. NetApp

Products: NetApp Cloud Backup, NetApp Data Availability Services (NDAS)
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

NetApp Cloud Backup is a SaaS offering that takes backups of Cloud Volumes running in the public cloud. The Cloud Volumes service delivers the functionality of NetApp OnTap in public cloud platforms.

Organizations can use NetApp-managed virtual instances for both AWS and GCP implementations, whereas, in Azure, the service is natively integrated as Azure NetApp Files.

Notable features. The NetApp Cloud Backup SaaS offering is accessible through NetApp Cloud Portal. It backs up data to physically separate storage within the public cloud to reduce the risk of loss through hardware failure.

NDAS protects on-premises or cloud-based installations of OnTap by offloading snapshots to an NDAS deployment running in the public cloud. Unlike traditional SaaS applications, NDAS software runs in the user's AWS account.

Integrations. NetApp SaaS Backup protects Office 365 and Salesforce data and is accessible through NetApp Cloud Portal. It can write data to multiple target destinations, including S3, Azure Blob Storage or on-premises deployments of NetApp StorageGrid.

Pricing. Charges are based on an NDAS license and the cost of the organization's AWS EC2 and S3 usage. Cloud Backup pricing is based on terabytes stored per month, with an additional charge for protected data restored.

17. Rubrik

Products: Cloud Data Management platform, Polaris, Datos IO
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Rubrik protects data on appliances, typically installed in the organization's data center. Users can choose from white box physical appliances, appliances deployed on hardware from leading server vendors, virtual appliances designed for remote or branch offices, or virtual appliances in the public cloud. Appliances can scale out for additional capacity and throughput.

Notable features. Rubrik Polaris is a SaaS management portal that aggregates the information across all appliance deployments. This provides search and other data management features across the entire protected workspace. Users can also extend the capabilities with Polaris through open APIs. Rubrik's Datos IO application provides NoSQL data protection.

Integrations. Rubrik supports on-premises virtual environments, including VMware, Hyper-V, Nutanix and AHV, as well as NAS appliances and Pure Storage FlashArray. OS support includes the major Linux distributions, AIX, Solaris and Windows. Appliance support includes common databases platforms, such as SQL Server and Oracle. In public cloud, Rubrik runs as an appliance that protects virtual instances in GCP, AWS and Azure. Rubrik recently added support for Office 365 appliances.

Rubrik users can offload archive data to public cloud providers -- such as AWS, Azure and GCP -- with additional support for private cloud object stores that support the S3 protocol. Rubrik also supports NFS and tape.

Pricing. Physical appliances are charged per node, depending on the size and capacity. Organizations can also opt for a SaaS-based three-year subscription model called Rubrik Go.

18. SolarWinds

Product: SolarWinds Backup
Market focus: Cloud-native backup

The SolarWinds Backup SaaS offering is for SMBs. Users register through the SolarWinds portal and then install a local agent on each server to perform direct-to-cloud backups. Backup is targeted at smaller businesses that use Microsoft technologies.

Notable features. SolarWinds Backup uses TrueDelta technology to deliver byte-level deduplication, which improves the performance of both backup and restore tasks. SolarWinds' private cloud is available in 15 global private data centers that meet regional certification standards, including ISO 27001, ISO 9001 and SOC.

Integrations. SolarWinds Backup supports Windows servers and desktops, Linux servers and Mac desktops, and Microsoft applications, including Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server. Users can target recovery from backups directly at public cloud, either to Microsoft Azure or to a hosted implementation of VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V.

Pricing. Licensing is based on the number of servers being protected and includes storage capacity on the SolarWinds private cloud.

19. Unitrends

Products: Recovery Series Backup appliances, Forever Cloud, Spanning Backup
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Users can deploy Unitrends physical backup appliances and software as a virtual appliance on premises or in the public cloud. The company recently added Spanning Backup to its portfolio to support Office 365 SaaS applications.

Notable features. Users can back up Recovery Series appliances to a private Unitrends cloud and restore protected data using the Unlimited DRaaS feature. The Forever Cloud feature of Unitrends Cloud offers low-cost, long-term retention of data.

Unitrends offers its Rapid Return service for DR. It copies the most recent backup data to a physical Recovery Series appliance or NAS device and ships it overnight back to the customer.

Integrations. Public cloud support for virtual appliances is available on Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Pricing. Forever Cloud and DRaaS are priced on protected capacity in units of 500 GB over a one-, three- or five-year subscription term. Spanning Backup is licensed at a fixed cost per user, per month.

20. Veeam Software

Products: Backup & Replication, Availability Suite, Veeam Backup for Office 365, Veeam Backup for AWS
Market focus: Cloud storage target

The Veeam Backup & Replication software-based data protection product was originally developed to protect virtual server infrastructure. Availability Suite incorporates Backup & Replication with Veeam One, adding monitoring and analytics. The company also offers the Veeam Backup for AWS appliance for protecting EC2 instances.

Backup & Replication is available in three commercial editions: Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. The main differences among versions are in support for advanced restore and testing capabilities.

Notable features. Cloud Tier enables public cloud storage as an archive tier. This supports AWS S3, Azure Blob Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage and other S3-compatible public cloud and on-premises object stores.

Integrations. Veeam supports VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. In 2017, Veeam acquired N2WS for its protection of AWS data, but in late 2019, Veeam sold the company back to its founders. Veeam supports Office 365 SaaS applications with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, which is a standalone product separate from Availability Suite. In September, Veeam acquired Kasten, to add data protection for Kubernetes and container-based workloads.

Pricing. Backup & Replication and Availability Suite are licensed based on server socket count and edition or the number of virtual instances being protected. Pricing for Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is based on a monthly or annual charge per user for a three-year subscription.

21. Veritas Technologies

Products: Backup Exec, CloudPoint, NetBackup, SaaS Backup
Market focus: Multi-cloud backup

Backup Exec supports SMBs, NetBackup provides enterprise-class data protection and CloudPoint provides data protection for public cloud applications. SaaS Backup is a hosted service that protects Office 365, Google Workspace and Salesforce data.

Notable features. NetBackup uses CloudCatalyst to deduplicate data written to public cloud as a storage target. The CloudPoint platform offers data protection in public cloud, simplifying the backup process with the use of policies and recovery objectives. Enterprises can consolidate reporting and view data protection information by integrating CloudPoint backup activity data into the NetBackup GUI.

Integrations. NetBackup supports all common OSes and virtualization platforms, as well as native databases and snapshot-based physical storage platforms. CloudPoint supports workloads running on AWS, Microsoft Azure and GCP.

Pricing. CloudPoint is free for up to 10 TB of front-end protected data and for NetBackup users up to their on-premises licensed storage capacity. Enterprise and Cloud editions of CloudPoint are licensed either per VM or front-end terabyte protected. SaaS Backup is licensed per user, per month, with a minimum one-year commitment. NetBackup licensing options include volume discounts and preferred pricing for specific market segments.

Editor's note: Using extensive research from TechTarget surveys and research from analyst firms such as Gartner, TechTarget identified 21 leading providers of cloud backup services, taking into consideration market share and capabilities.

Next Steps

Explore the best free cloud backup services on the market

Pros and cons of cloud backup

Two cloud backup problems that organizations need to consider

Dig Deeper on Cloud backup

Disaster Recovery