Unitrends vs. Datto: Which Backup Solution Fits Your Needs?

by Oct 15, 2019Business Continuity

Data backups can literally save your business after a catastrophe. But not all disaster recovery solutions are made equal. If you’re comparing Unitrends vs. Datto, we’ve put together this short guide to help you identify the right fit for your needs:

  • What are the key differences between the offerings?
  • Which solution is better for continuity?
  • How do the capabilities differ in terms of deployment and management?
  • What about features like backup virtualization and cloud storage?


The simple truth is that Unitrends and Datto both offer very good backup solutions. And once they’re deployed, they deliver similar results: frequent backups and rapid recovery of data, so that disruptions are minimized.

That said, there are some important distinctions between the two BC/DR systems. So let’s break down both products to see where they differ.


Unitrends Overview

Unitrends was an early innovator of software designed to help businesses recover when their operating systems unexpectedly crashed. Founded in 1989, the company steadily built upon its offerings over the next decade, releasing its “Backup Professional” data backup solution in 1999.

By 2002, Unitrends was offering its own backup appliances as well. The company merged with IT-management provider Kaseya in 2018 and is now headquartered in Burlington, MA with offices around the globe.

Today, Unitrends offers a range of disaster recovery solutions positioned as “all-in-one enterprise backup and continuity,” though its products are also geared toward small and mid-sized businesses.


Key Products

1) Unitrends Backup Software

Unitrends Backup Software is the brains behind several of the company’s solutions. As a standalone application, it offers a “full-featured virtual appliance that runs on your choice of hypervisor or cloud.”

The software can be deployed on a business’s own hardware to fit their specific infrastructure needs. Businesses can choose a virtual deployment on environments such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer. Or, they can deploy it in public clouds like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Unitrends Backup Software can also be integrated with the company’s dedicated backup appliances for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), allowing businesses to spin up their backups in the Unitrends cloud (more on DRaaS deployments below).

The software is available in several editions to meet the varying needs of businesses:

  • Unitrends Free: A free edition that provides a limited feature set for protection for up to 1 TB of data, but without any customer support.
  • Essentials: This builds on the free edition, protecting “up to 10 resources” and adding global deduplication, as well as integration with the Unitrends Cloud.
  • Standard: The standard edition provides protection for “any size environment,” and adds features like WAN optimization and NAS protection.
  • Enterprise: As the name suggests, this edition is designed primarily for enterprise businesses, adding more granular protection for enterprise applications.
  • Enterprise Plus: Larger companies who need stronger continuity will want to choose this edition, which adds recovery automation, AWS/Azure migration, Exchange item recovery and other features.


Comparing Unitrends vs. Datto:

Datto’s backup software is integrated with a dedicated Datto backup appliance, so you can’t really do a true “apples to apples” comparison with Unitrends Backup Software alone. Datto does offer a software-only solution known as Cloud Continuity, which protects individual PCs with image-backups stored in the Datto Cloud. However, businesses looking for greater protection will want to compare Datto’s fully integrated BC/DR solutions with a Unitrends deployment that combines several Unitrends products configured together.


2) Recovery Series Backup Appliance

Businesses that don’t want to rely on their own hardware to run the backup software will want to look at Unitrends Recovery Series Backup appliances.

This is Unitrends’s “all-in-one” solution, converging on-site backup with cloud continuity. Businesses again have the choice of using their own third-party cloud, such as AWS or Azure, or Unitrends’s own cloud.

The appliance is available in 15 models, including the newest offerings, Gen8 and MAX, offering storage capacity of 2 TB to 120 TB. All models provide backup for physical and virtual environments, Nutanix, Cisco UCS and other systems. On-site backups are stored on the appliance and replicated to the cloud.

Key features include:

  • Recovery Assurance (automated backup verification to ensure an error-free recovery)
  • Instant recovery via backup virtualization
  • Built-in ransomware detection
  • Synthetic Full backup chains via “Incremental Forever”
  • Adaptive Deduplication for greater storage efficiency


Comparing Unitrends vs. Datto: Datto’s flagship backup appliances are the SIRIS and ALTO. Both come in a range of models and form factors (mini desktop, desktop, rackmount, etc.) to fit the needs of each business. ALTO is designed primarily for small businesses, while SIRIS can meet the needs of small to enterprise businesses. Like Unitrends’s Recovery Series, SIRIS and ALTO provide all-in-one business continuity, protecting physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure.


3) DRaaS

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is the concept of protecting on-premise data and infrastructure, and enabling full recovery in the cloud. For many BC/DR providers, it’s a buzzword for hybrid cloud backups (backups stored on-site and in the cloud), combined with instant recovery capabilities, like virtualization.

Unitrends and Datto both offer the benefits of DRaaS via the solutions outlined above: Unitrends Backup Software with Recovery Series Appliances, and the all-in-one Datto SIRIS.

Where they differ has a lot to do with the capabilities of each system (as we address further below), combined with the emergency support you get from each company and/or the managed-service providers (MSPs) who offer the products.

For example, Datto’s solutions are delivered and managed through a network of specialized MSPs, who can support your in-house teams through any aspect of the deployment or a disaster scenario. Unitrends DRaaS uses a more direct approach, removing MSP technicians from the picture.

Customer ratings compiled by Gartner show how both DRaaS solutions have been evaluated by businesses and IT providers who have first-hand experience with the systems.


Key Comparisons: Datto vs. Unitrends

So, which BC/DR solution is better for business continuity?

The answer is complicated, because it ultimately depends on unique factors, such as your existing infrastructure, business needs, disaster recovery objectives, budget and preferences. However, there are some key distinctions that can help guide your decision.

  • Cloud choice: Unitrends gives customers the option of choosing a public cloud, such as AWS, while Datto touts its private cloud. Some businesses may prefer choice, though a potential downside is a more complex configuration. Additionally, if you plan to rely on a providers’ own cloud, you should request more information on their cloud infrastructures to ensure it meets your needs for security, speed, availability and redundancy.
  • Backup verification: Both providers offer automated processes that test backups to ensure they are viable. Automation is key here: you shouldn’t have to manually test-boot every backup; Unitrends’s and Datto’s systems will do this for you. However, be sure to compare how much control you have over those processes. For example, can you define what constitutes an error? Can you create scripts to eliminate false-positive detections?
  • Virtualization: Being able to instantly virtualize your infrastructure locally and in the cloud is a key benefit of both Datto and Unitrends. If you’re comparing both, consider the simplicity of configuring those virtualization capabilities, as well as the requirements for the local appliance. For example, do VMs consume more space on the device, or can they be spun up without the need for additional space allocation?
  • Ransomware detection: Amid fresh warnings of the threat of ransomware, businesses are under increased pressure to deploy stronger layers of defense. Unitrends and Datto are among the only leading BC/DR providers to build ransomware detection directly into their backup technologies. Where they differ is the scripts that trigger those detections in each backup. But still, either solution is far better than having no detection at all. Detecting early signs of infection can drastically reduce the spread and impact of ransomware.
  • Backup efficiency: Unitrends and Datto both offer unique backup processes that are designed to increase efficiency, backup speeds and resiliency. With some deployments, Unitrends offers the option of “Incremental Forever,” which is a form of synthetic full backup in which a full backup is combined with incrementals to create a separate file, which continues as incrementals after that point. Datto’s Inverse Chain process eliminates the dependence on the backup chain entirely, so that each new backup is stored in a fully constructed state, without the need to take additional full backups.
  • Backup frequency: Both solutions offer frequent backups, enabling businesses to maintain aggressive recovery point objectives (RPOs). Datto SIRIS enables a maximum backup frequency of every 5 minutes, and Unitrends touts a frequency of every minute via its Recovery Series Appliances. Keep in mind that not every business will need to back up all its data that frequently, so you’ll want to select and configure your BC/DR based on your specific needs.

The time and costs of deployment

An important final consideration that every IT manager needs to make when choosing a BC/DR solution is the ease and cost of deployment. More configurations and complexity will naturally require more time and more resources, not just for the initial deployment but also for ongoing management, testing, scaling and so on.

Both Datto and Unitrends tout their platforms as being simple to deploy, right out of the box. But again, it depends on exactly which solution you’re talking about.

Datto wins points for unifying the hardware, software and cloud into a fully integrated solution, regardless of which product you choose. Unitrends, too, offers great all-in-one solutions for backup and recovery, though the deployment itself generally requires tying together several components, sometimes with separate licenses as well as configuration requirements.

When choosing a backup system, businesses should carefully weigh these time/cost considerations alongside the other features and capabilities of the system.


Take a closer look

For a more in-depth evaluation of Unitrends vs. Datto, contact our BC/DR specialists at Invenio IT. We’ll go over your options in greater detail to ensure you find the right fit for your needs. Request a free demo, or contact us today by calling (646) 395-1170 or emailing success@invenioIT.com.

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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!