System Recovery 2013 Server Edition vs Small Business Edition?
On our good old Windows XP machines for backup and recovery in our small business we used Symantec's Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. Now we are switching to Windows 8.1 and will also add a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (the new Microsoft Small Business Server). Because Microsoft's built-in free backup cannot be configured with advanced options and does not seem to be very reliable we are now looking for a new and hopefully better small business (paid) solution. What we actually need is an imaging solution with backup tasks that can be targeted at lokal disks as well as network shares and USB disks attached to the server for offsite rotation. Automatic nightly backups through wake on LAN or BIOS wake up timer are needed, so the backup solution should be also able to turn off the PCs after backup.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there are not any reliable solutions out there in 2014! We tested Acronis business products which turned out to have nice features but are very unreliable and unusable in the end. We tested ARCserve which is ok but cannot be configured much, it actually offers only a single backup task and does not have Win 8.1 support, although it claims to be certified for this OS already - they wanted to send me some internal beta patches but we did not accept this. And so finally we came to System Recovery 2013 which was actually not easy to find between all the other solutions on the market, maybe it is the lack of marketing information available...
So we finally tested SSR 2013 SP2 on our Win 8.1 desktops and it seems to work fine - better than the other solutions. There are not many changes compared to Norton Ghost but it does its job, can be configured with advanced options and that's what we need. Now the problem with Symantec System Recovery 2013 is that there is too few information on this product and there is nobody to ask. You want to buy a product and there is no info - really annoying! In the key features you read about Win 8.1 / Server 2012 R2 support (and it seems to be available through SP2) but nobody seems to care to update this info in the system requirements on Symantec's website. Does not sound very promising for a business product.
The situation is even worse when looking for information about the Server editions of SSR. There is a Server Edition and a Small Business Server Edition. But what is the difference? Can they backup Hyper-V virtual machines? From the host? From the guest? Is Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials supported in the SBS edition? The Essentials Server is actually Microsoft's new small business server so it should... I requested a callback from Symantec here in Germany but nobody seems to care.
It is also still unclear how many licenses I need. In the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Microsoft allows to install the OS on the physical host + on one free Hyper-V server VM. Is this Hyper-V VM also covered by the SSR Small Business Server Edition license? Do I need any additional agents if I need to backup from the physical server AND from whithin the virtual Hyper-V server (file level recovery is needed)? How much will it finally cost? I don't find any docs especially for the server editions and I don't see any clear Hyper-V licensing statements. Again, very disappointing for a business product.
But maybe someone here can provide more info to help us in our decision? Thanks in advance.