Datto vs eFolder: Who’s got your back after a data disaster?

by | Jan 23, 2018

When comparing Datto vs eFolder, who comes out on top?

This question has become more common than you might think in the last year or so. After eFolder made some high-profile acquisitions of companies like Axcient and Replibit, many industry experts saw the moves as evidence that eFolder was trying to dethrone Datto from its BDR pedestal.

And that certainly seemed like eFolder’s intentions. The mergers enabled eFolder to consolidate several backup and disaster recovery solutions built with similar objectives as those offered by Datto. eFolder’s new CEO, Matt Nachtrab was even quoted as saying, “From a scale standpoint, [the merger with Axcient] gives us a lot of resources under one roof to better compete with Datto.”

So, who wins in the battle of Datto vs eFolder when you stack their offerings side by side?

To answer that, we’ll need to take a deeper look at both companies’ solutions and see how they approach the end goal of business continuity.

A Quick Background: Datto vs eFolder

  • Datto: Founded in 2007, Datto offers a range of business continuity solutions and data protection systems, including BDR appliances, private cloud backup, file sync and share technology and networking technologies. The company’s solutions are provided through a network of roughly 6,000 managed-service providers (MSPs) and are currently implemented at more than 140,000 businesses around the world.
    • Headquarters: Norwalk, CT
    • CEO: Austin McChord
    • Backups: Cloud and on-site BDR appliance
  • eFolder: Founded in 2002, eFolder got its start as a reseller of other technologies in the Atlanta market, eventually releasing its own cloud-based data backup solution in 2005. In the years since, the company has expanded its offerings (especially with its recent acquisitions of Axcient and Replibit) to include a comprehensive suite of business continuity products, which are marketed through roughly 4,000 MSPs. (Axcient products are still marketed via direct sales teams.)
    • Headquarters: Denver, CO
    • CEO: Matt Nachtrab
    • Backups: Cloud and on-site BDR appliance

A Key Differentiator

An interesting differentiator between Datto vs eFolder is the way its cloud-based services and backup software are offered.

Datto backups are replicated exclusively to the Datto Cloud, a private cloud that consists of several data centers around the world. Additionally, the backups themselves are handled by Datto’s BDR appliances, running image-based backup software.

eFolder offers the same: its own cloud, BDR devices and software. However, eFolder also gives the option of an “open-cloud strategy,” using other public clouds, as well as custom-built BDR appliances and other backup software brands, like Replibit, Veeam and ShadowProtect.

In an interview last year, Datto CEO Austin McChord argued that the speed and efficiency of its cloud-storage architecture was unmatched. He also pointed out that companies relying “on the public cloud for their back-end storage are exposed to the potential high costs that accumulate over time.”

eFolder views its open-cloud strategy as a benefit, giving MSPs more options for how their solutions are deployed.

We have to side with McChord on this point, based partly on the power of the Datto Cloud, which we address in more depth below. But also, a unified all-in-one approach to implementation of BDR software and hardware is arguably one of Datto’s greatest strengths. MSPs and their clients have greater confidence in the design, performance and reliability of Datto solutions knowing that Datto has designed all of it to work together seamlessly.

BDR Technologies Compared

Datto and eFolder BDR appliances are similar in concept. Both use image-based backups, taking snapshots of data and operating systems at regular intervals. Backups are stored both on-site on the BDR device, as well as in the cloud. And, in the event of a disaster, files can be restored individually or the entire backup can be virtualized on other machines.

There is no shortage of debate online about which companies’ BDR technologies are “better,” and these opinions are usually based on the individual experiences of the MSPs who use them. So let’s focus on some of the features that each company markets as their system’s greatest benefits:

  1. A) Datto SIRIS

    For Datto, we’ve singled out its SIRIS offering, since it is the company’s most powerful backup appliance, designed for enterprise-level data protection. Here’s what Datto wants you to know about it:
  • Inverse Chain Technology: This is Datto’s exclusive process for image-based backups. It eliminates the traditional backup chain, which is notorious for problems, and uses Copy-on-Write snapshots to create application-consistent recovery points of protected servers.
  • Instant Virtualization: Datto says that its backups can be virtualized on the appliance or from the Datto cloud in as little as six seconds.
  • Ransomware protection: With the rise in ransomware, Datto has been heavily pushing its new built-in ransomware protection, which automatically monitors for signs of malware and alerts administrators.
  • Windows, Mac and Linux: Datto SIRIS can protect Windows, Mac, Linux or HyperV servers with agent-based protection, as well as VMware via agentless options. The Datto Mac Agent is particularly unique in that it was the industry’s first block-level backup solution for Mac.
  • Advanced Screenshot Verification: The SIRIS can automatically test-boot backups to verify integrity, and it will email the results to administrators. Datto says verification can happen as often as every five minutes, using “a combination of screen recognition and patented CPU register algorithms” to verify data at the application level (which the company says is unrivaled in the industry).
  • Backup Insights: This is Datto’s proprietary platform for identifying changes between backups via a web interface. The platform allows administrators to rapidly find “what has been modified, created, or deleted” between backups, including those in long-term retention, to recover files.
  • Flash: Datto incorporates SSD drives in all its appliances to accelerate performance. The OS Drives are SSD in all offerings. The SIRIS 3 line uses a combination of SSD OS drives with HDD for data storage. The SIRIS X1 and X2 are entirely flash with SSD used for both OS and storage.
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  1. B) eFolder Replibit

We’ve singled out eFolder’s Replibit for comparison, since the offering is perhaps most similar to the Datto SIRIS.

  • Chain-free technology: Like the Datto SIRIS, eFolder Replibit is marketed as “chain-free,” eliminating broken backup chains and “labor-intensive reseeding of data.”
  • Virtualization: Like Datto, entire servers can be virtualized on the Replibit appliance via the cloud.
  • Windows and Linux: eFolder’s BDR is built on a Linux Ubuntu hardened kernel and the backup software can run on Windows or Linux. However, there does not seem to be an option for Macs.
  • Automated Screenshot Verification: eFolder Replibit offers a similar backup verification process as Datto, though it’s unclear how deep the verification process goes or if eFolder can match the frequency (up to every five minutes with the application-level verification with SIRIS).
  • File recovery: Like Datto, files also can be recovered at the file level for those times when only a single file or select folders have been lost. However, it’s unclear if eFolder’s solutions offer the same instant backup-comparison power of Datto’s Backup Insights interface.
  • Flash: Like Datto, eFolder Replibit offers some all-Flash devices, as well as higher-end appliances incorporating both SSD and HDD, which it calls “Hybrid Flash.”

Not all clouds are created equal

When you compare the physical on-site technology with the dependability of cloud backup, this is where Datto really starts to pull away from the competition, in our opinion.

Both companies assure that you can reliably back up to the cloud and recover quickly after a disaster, whether it’s via a virtualized recovery or just a file that was accidentally deleted. But where Datto really stands out is its innovative cloud storage architecture, which enables faster, more efficient and deeper storage and unifies seamlessly with Datto BDR appliances.

When questioned about eFolder in a 2017 interview with ChannelE2E, Datto CEO Austin McChord noted, “Our custom built hyper-converged infrastructure, innovative storage architecture and patented IP enables us to store data much more efficiently than any of our competitors.”

Here are a few features of the Datto Cloud you should know about:

  • Dual cloud backups: Backups performed onsite are mirrored to the Datto Cloud in two locations, providing even greater assurance in the event of a widespread disaster. (Datto has nine datacenters worldwide, with two located in the continental United States.)
  • Infinite cloud retention (ICR): Unlike other cloud backup solutions, Datto lets customers store an unlimited amount of data to its cloud with no time restriction. In other words, all your backups are archived and kept forever. So even if you need to recover a file from years ago, you can access it easily from the Datto Cloud. The infinite cloud retention is also a big cost saver for both MSPs and their clients, as it provides a single dependable solution for businesses’ rapidly growing data.
  • Data compression: The same Inverse Chain Technology that Datto uses to back up data on its BDR devices is also at work in the Datto Cloud. Datto uses ZFS (Zettabyte File Systems) for efficient data compression and continuity integrity checking. In its cloud (and on the appliances), this compression enables Datto to “protect the same number of backup clients as an alternative solution, using less than half the capacity,” while also allowing more recovery points.

eFolder is undoubtedly trying to match Datto in all of these areas, and its existing product suite does offer many of the same business-continuity benefits on the surface. But from our standpoint, Datto is still unmatched for the sheer speed of its backups and recoveries, the reliability of the Datto cloud and Datto BDR appliances, and all the support that comes along with these offerings.

Get More Information

Are you comparing BDR options for your business? Get a closer look at Datto’s business continuity solutions: request a free demo or contact Invenio IT today by calling (646) 395-1170 or email [email protected].

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Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!