Virtual machine (VM) backup software is essential for any organization that uses virtualization to maintain operational efficiency and flexibility. VMs rely on software instead of hardware, so they are more sensitive to bugs than physical servers.
Individual processes can crash if one of them has a bug, and since VMs run several processes at once, it’s common for one of those processes to take others with it when it crashes. These kinds of errors also mean VMs are at risk of issues like memory leaks or software errors.
VM backup software is critical in this environment because it saves a copy of your virtual machine files that can be restored if a VM fails or is compromised. It also copies the VM configuration files so you can restore the whole backup if something goes wrong or you need to recreate the same environment to test something.
The best VM backup software will be the one that provides the most comprehensive protection for your virtual environment. When shopping for VM backup software, however, it’s important to keep the unique needs of your organization and virtual environment in mind. Doing so will allow you to quickly and easily recover from any type of disaster, whether it’s a hardware failure, data corruption, or even a ransomware attack.
Here are our top picks for the six best VM backup software of 2023:
- Veeam Backup & Replication: Best for flexibility and scalability (Read more)
- Altaro VM Backup: Best for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) (Read more)
- Nakivo Backup & Replication: Best for flexible pricing (Read more)
- Veritas NetBackup: Best for large enterprises (Read more)
- Vembu BDRSuite: Best for ease of use and affordability (Read more)
- Cohesity DataProtect: Best for comprehensive backup across environments (Read more)
Top virtual machine backup software comparison
The following table compares features and pricing across our top picks for the best VM backup software.
|Veeam Backup & Replication
|VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V
Forward & reverse incremental
Forever forward incremental
|$428/yr for 5 universal licenses
|Altaro VM Backup
|VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V
|Full and incremental
|$579/yr for 5 VMs
|Nakivo Backup & Replication
|VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat Virtualization, Nutanix AHV
|Full, differential, incremental
|$1.95/mo. per workload, or $229 per socket for perpetual license
|VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV, Red Hat Virtualization.
|Full, incremental, differential
|VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V
|Full, differential, synthetic full, virtual full, incremental, etc.
|$18/yr per VM
|VMware VMs, Microsoft Hyper-V VMs
- Key features of virtual machine backup software
- How to choose the best virtual machine backup software for your business?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Veeam Backup & Replication
Best for flexibility and scalability
Veeam Backup & Replication offers a comprehensive backup and recovery solution for VMs and hybrid cloud environments. The flexibility of recovery across various clouds and platforms in a portable data format ensures seamless data restoration.
Veeam Backup & Replication is known for its software-defined and hardware-agnostic approach, offering users the freedom to choose their preferred infrastructure. With its scalability, organizations can easily scale their backup repositories, reducing costs.
Additionally, Veeam’s integration with major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud ensures centralized backup and recovery operations run smoothly. Advanced security features, such as immutability and automatic backup scans, protect against cyberthreats and guarantee data integrity.
Pricing for Veeam Backup & Replication starts at $428 per year for five universal licenses, with possible volume discounts for large bulk purchases. Reach out to the sales team for more information. You can also register for a 30-day free trial, or watch a free demo.
- Image-level backups of physical, virtual, and cloud VMs, with supported backups of NAS share files.
- Continuous data protection allows you to protect mission-critical VMs and achieve recovery point objectives (RPOs) in seconds.
- Data can be restored from backup files to either the original location or a new location.
- Hybrid and multicloud environments are supported with integrated cloud backup and recovery.
- For solutions like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, granular file-level recovery and item-level recovery are available.
- Scalable backup repository is supported for multi-tier data storage.
- Easy-to-implement immutable storage.
- High availability and reliability.
- More flexibility in VMware hyper-scale environments (i.e., no stage repository with expensive virtual hard disks).
- More secure with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and passwordless service accounts (gMSA) for Windows.
- Advanced features may require more fine-tuning and specialized knowledge.
2. Altaro VM Backup
Best for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
Altaro VM Backup is a strong and easy-to-use backup solution made exclusively for virtual environments. VM Backup provides a seamless and effective approach to protecting VMs with its user-friendly interface and extensive functionality.
VM Backup is distinguished by its blazing-fast backups and restorations, which reduce downtime and guarantee business continuity. You can conserve critical resources using the solution’s powerful deduplication and compression techniques to improve storage use. Thanks to its versatile scheduling features, you can also quickly set up automated backups that meet your needs.
Altaro VM Backup lets you easily recover specific files or entire VMs with its granular restore options. It’s a flexible solution for virtualized systems because it works with well-known hypervisors like VMware and Hyper-V. AES encryption and off-site backup replication are just two of the strong security methods Altaro VM Backup offers to secure your data from intrusion or natural disasters.
Altaro offers two pricing formats based on your business requirements.
- Subscription-based plans start at $579 per year for five VMs
- Perpetual licenses start at $595 per host with a maximum of five VMs (and unlimited sockets) per host.
- Options for full and incremental backups to improve storage efficiency.
- Replication and off-site backup for improved data security.
- Support for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization systems.
- Continuous data protection (CDP) is available for nearly immediate recovery points.
- Compression and deduplication are integrated to reduce required storage space.
- Simple and straightforward setup, perfect for small and medium-sized organizations.
- Excellent assistance and customer care.
- Flexible licensing options and reasonable pricing structures.
- Efficient and dependable backup performance.
- Limited support for hypervisors, except for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.
- Additional licenses or add-on modules are needed for advanced functionalities.
3. Nakivo Backup & Replication
Best for flexible pricing
A complete backup and replication solution, Nakivo Backup & Replication is made to safeguard your virtual infrastructure. The quick and effective backup and recovery capabilities of Nakivo Backup & Replication are one of its main selling points.
It makes use of global deduplication and incremental backups to reduce storage requirements and enhance backup efficiency. The solution offers versatile recovery capabilities that let you quickly restore individual files or complete VMs.
Local storage, off-site locations, and cloud-based services like Amazon S3 and Azure Blob Storage are just a few of the backup destinations available with Nakivo Backup & Replication. Furthermore, Nakivo Backup & Replication has powerful replication capabilities that let you make and maintain precise duplicates of your VMs for disaster recovery needs.
Nakivo has flexible pricing options based on your business requirements.
- Subscription-based plans start at $1.95 per month per workload if you opt for the three-year subscription plan.
- Perpetual license starts at $229 per socket.
- Comprehensive solution for virtual environments’ backup and replication.
- Support for a variety of hypervisors, including Hyper-V and VMware.
- Global deduplication with incremental backups to maximize storage capacity.
- Instant VM recovery enables almost immediate VM restore.
- Data integrity is ensured by backup and screenshot verification.
- SSL/TLS support and AES-256 encryption are used to secure data transit.
- Integration with top cloud platforms and storage systems.
- Fast backup and recovery performance.
- Flexible license options and a reasonable cost structure.
- Wide-ranging support for cloud platforms and hypervisors.
- Active and accommodating client services.
- It might be necessary to purchase an additional license for advanced capabilities like backup to tape or physical server backup.
- Needs faster physical backup.
- The UI may sometimes be confusing.
4. Veritas NetBackup
Best for large enterprises
Veritas NetBackup is a reliable and feature-rich backup and recovery solution made to handle the rigorous requirements of business environments. It provides a complete collection of tools and skills to protect and recover data across various environments and platforms.
Your virtual, physical, and cloud-based systems can all be reliably and effectively backed up with Veritas NetBackup. Because of its sophisticated image-based backup technique, it is possible to make full, point-in-time copies of your virtual machines, guaranteeing data consistency and integrity.
Additionally, it offers strong deduplication capabilities that optimize storage efficiency by getting rid of redundant data and cutting storage expenses. Veritas NetBackup reduces backup windows and speeds up data recovery procedures by utilizing deduplication.
Veritas does not advertise its prices, as they are customized based on business requirements. CDW, however, offers a three-year on-premises license with a 1TB capacity for $1,175.99. Contact the Veritas sales team to get a custom quote.
- Over 200 APIs are available to streamline backup task management, rolling features, and functionalities.
- Built-in backup features for VMs and Kubernetes cluster backup.
- Availability of data protection protocols like MFA, role-based access control, and AES encryption in transit and at rest.
- AI/ML for anomaly detection and security.
- Optimized performance and reduced cloud costs with IT analytics.
- DR automation and orchestration.
- Automated malware scanning and automated recovery at scale.
- The tool is expensive compared to others, and pricing is not transparent.
- Not easy to configure.
- Lack of ideal reporting capabilities.
5. Vembu BDRSuite
Best for ease of use and affordability
A complete backup and disaster recovery solution, Vembu BDRSuite is made to safeguard both your virtual and physical environments. It lets you execute image-based backups of your VMs, guaranteeing all information and configurations are protected. You also have the ability to secure your virtual infrastructure thanks to the solution’s compatibility with popular virtualization systems, including VMware, Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV.
BDRSuite offers backup and recovery options for physical servers, workstations, and programs that include Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, in addition to VMs.
The user-friendly interface of Vembu BDRSuite makes backup administration and monitoring simple. You can manage your backup system with ease because of its centralized management, reporting, and monitoring capabilities.
BDRSuite offers flexible licensing options at affordable prices, starting at $18 per VM per year. They also offer a 30-day free trial.
- Support for a variety of hypervisors, such as KVM, Hyper-V, and VMware.
- Backups are incremental and incorporate global deduplication to optimize storage utilization.
- Granular recovery options and instant VM recovery for speedy data restoration.
- Data redundancy and disaster recovery preparedness through off-site replication.
- SSL/TLS support and AES-256 encryption are used for secure data transit.
- Flexible subscription options and competitive pricing.
- User-friendly interface and efficient backup and recovery processes.
- Strong data compression and deduplication abilities.
- Additional licensing is required for advanced capabilities like cloud integration or tape backup.
- Limited backup for physical servers and support for some OS systems.
6. Cohesity DataProtect
Best for comprehensive backup across environments
Cohesity DataProtect is a cutting-edge, all-inclusive data protection solution that simplifies backup and recovery procedures. The system provides a single platform to streamline backup, recovery, and management operations, eliminating the need for numerous point solutions.
Cohesity DataProtect offers global deduplication, which lowers storage needs and improves backup performance. It ensures thorough coverage by supporting a wide variety of data sources, such as virtual computers, databases, and file systems.
Businesses may take advantage of features like rapid recovery, granular file-level restores, and automated rules for more efficient operations with Cohesity DataProtect. Additionally, the system provides seamless interaction with cloud services, enabling businesses to take advantage of cloud storage’s scalability and affordability for data protection.
Unfortunately, Cohesity doesn’t advertise their pricing, but resellers list a one-year subscription of DataProtect at $1,200 for 1TB. Contact the sales team to learn about their pricing options. A 30-day free trial is also available.
- Compression and global deduplication are used to maximize storage effectiveness.
- Native integration for seamless data management with top public cloud service providers.
- Instant mass restorations for quick huge dataset recovery.
- Improved data protection through ransomware detection and immutable file systems.
- Immutable file system capabilities are available.
- Easy setup and management.
- Strong security features guard against ransomware and data leaks.
- Data mobility is made possible through seamless connection with public cloud systems.
- Limited support for some outdated apps and systems.
- Lack of MFA when using Active Directory-based user accounts.
Key features of virtual machine backup software
VM backups are essential for business continuity, preventing data loss and providing a failsafe for Hyper-V, VMware, and other hypervisors.
Choosing the right backup software depends on many different factors, with product features such as replication and disaster recovery, cloud backup, and continuous data protection being the most crucial for maintaining infrastructure.
- Replication and disaster recovery: VMs and their data can be synchronized to a backup site in close to real time through replication, ensuring minimal data loss in the case of a primary site failure. Businesses can swiftly recover and resume operations after a disaster, minimizing downtime and guaranteeing business continuity.
- Cloud backup: The ability to perform backups directly to the cloud is crucial for efficient data protection. VM backup software should provide seamless integration with popular cloud platforms, allowing businesses to store their backups off-site.
- Continuous data protection: VM backup software should support continuous data protection, enabling real-time or near-real-time backups. This feature ensures even the most recent changes and updates to VMs and their data are promptly captured, minimizing the risk of data loss in the event of a system failure.
- Instant recovery: VM backup software should offer instant recovery capabilities, allowing businesses to rapidly boot VMs directly from backup storage without the need for time-consuming data restoration processes.
- Encryption: The software should provide robust encryption mechanisms to protect backups both in transit and at rest. This ensures sensitive data remains confidential and protected from unauthorized access or breaches.
How to choose the best virtual machine backup software for your business
When choosing virtual machine backup software, it’s important to carefully analyze your unique demands and priorities. Consider your business requirements, recovery time goals, data volume, and virtual environment size.
Moreover, assess any specific challenges your company may face and industry-specific compliance needs. Also, evaluate features like incremental backups, deduplication, replication, encryption, and compatibility with different hypervisors.
Certain backup software may be more appropriate than others for your business and use cases. For example, Veeam Backup & Replication and Cohesity Data Protect may work better for enterprise-level businesses, while Altaro VM Backup and NAKIVO Backup & Replication may be a better fit for SMBs.
If you want a VM backup software solution for your company’s critical data, you need to consider specific requirements for your business and choose a VM backup option that fits those requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between standard backup and VM backup software?
Standard backup software is made to back up data and files from real servers and computers. In contrast, VM backup software is the software that’s made expressly for backing up and protecting virtual machines, including their configurations, operating systems, software, and data.
How often should I back up my VMs?
The value of the data, the rate at which it changes, and your company’s recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) all affect how frequently you back up your VMs.
In most cases, VMs should be backed up constantly; recommended schedules range from daily to weekly, or even more frequently for essential systems.
Can virtual machine backup software be used for disaster recovery?
Yes, virtual machine backup software is crucial for disaster recovery, as it allows businesses to create backups of virtual machines and their data. These backups enable quick restoration in the event of a disaster and ensure business continuity.
The products on our list were selected by considering different features and criteria to provide a comprehensive and unbiased overview of the top VM backup software, suitable for both corporate and individual users.
Our team looked into several software options that were on the market. Features, dependability, usability, user feedback, and the software suppliers’ general reputation were all considered.
We evaluated each solution following our predetermined requirements, paying particular attention to crucial features like backup choices, recovery options, scalability, security, and compatibility with virtualization software.
We aimed to ensure that the selected software provided solid features, outstanding performance, and an easy-to-use interface.
Bottom line: Selecting a VM backup tool for your organization
Selecting the best virtual machine backup software is essential to preserving and maintaining your virtual infrastructure’s availability. Based on their remarkable features, dependability, and customer happiness, the products included in this guide have shown themselves as top options for VM backup needs.
Whether you operate a small business or an enterprise, these software solutions equip you with the tools to efficiently back up and secure your virtual machines. To make a well-informed decision that aligns with your organization’s needs, carefully consider your unique requirements, budget constraints, and the distinctive features offered by each software.
For larger backup needs, we also evaluated the best server backup solutions to protect your core systems and data.