Barracuda Backup 290 review

Hybrid backup doesn’t get any easier than this: it’s an excellent choice for time-poor SMBs

  • Easy setup; Speedy file recovery
  • No data redundancy means it's risky to use as a standalone backup solution

Barracuda's Backup 290 is a slick hybrid product, combining local backup with simple one-click cloud replication. It will be of particular interest to growing businesses, as the price includes support for unlimited clients and critical business apps.

We tried the entry-level Backup 290 appliance, which has a single 1TB drive for local backup storage. That may not sound like much, but the 290 performs variable block-level deduplication, so you can effectively squeeze much more than a terabyte of data into that space.

The cloud storage side of things costs 1,699 exc VAT for a three-year subscription, which is automatically linked to your cloud portal account. The beauty of an integrated approach is that local backup jobs can be set to replicate to the cloud with the click of a single button during job creation.

Setup proved to be outstandingly simple. Connecting the appliance to our Cloud Control account took only 20 minutes; with a local monitor and keyboard, we quickly configured the Backup 290's network settings, then simply entered its serial number and code pairing into the cloud portal to link the two.

Client deployment is easy too: Barracuda provides one agent on the cloud portal for all Windows clients and applications. With this, we declared each of our test systems as backup sources by configuring their hostname or IP address, along with file-share credentials, then ticked the box to have backups replicated to the cloud.

Once systems are registered, you can assign them to the default backup schedule, which automatically backs up everything once a day. It's easy enough to create custom schedules, assign specific systems plus items, and repeat jobs as often as every hour.

The appliance worked fine with our test systems, which included a Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller, plus hosts running Windows Server 2016, Hyper-V, Exchange 2013 and SQL Server 2014. Individual Hyper-V VMs and SQL databases are easy to back up too.

Moreover, message-level Exchange backups can be configured by following the clear instructions for creating a dedicated service account and running a shell command to define impersonation rights. After five minutes of setup, we could select individual Exchange users and back up their mailboxes, calendars, contacts and more.

The cloud portal's status page keeps you posted on appliance and backup status and provides a rundown on used storage capacity. You can also see how much space deduplication is saving you: for instance, our 900GB of backup data was reduced to less than 200GB on the appliance, an effective reduction ratio of nearly 5:1.

File recovery is swift: you simply select target systems from the portal, then choose whichever files and folders you need to restore. These can be either returned to their original location or copied to another system. The same window also provides access to the cloud repository: from here it's a simple case of hitting "Download" to copy the data to a local system.

In this way, we found it easy to restore Hyper-V VMs, either to our host or an alternative location, and download their virtual disks from the cloud. SQL databases can be restored in the same way, while for Exchange backups, you can restore the entire database or drill all the way down to recovering individual emails.

The Backup 290 also handled bare-metal recovery well. To test it, we booted a Windows server from a Barracuda ISO disk image. After the recovery environment had loaded, we were able to select the System Restore option from the cloud portal and let it restore the entire system from the last backup.

Since the appliance itself uses a single hard disk with no data redundancy, it's risky to use it as a standalone backup solution. However, partnered with the cloud service portion, it's a very capable offering that's a cinch to deploy and use, making it a great choice for hybrid backup.


Partnered with the cloud service portion, it's a very capable offering that's a cinch to deploy and use, making it a great choice for hybrid backup.

1U rack chassis 1TB SATA hard disk Gigabit Ethernet 2 x USB 2 VGA Price shown includes 3yr subscription for Energize Updates, Instant Replacement and unlimited Barracuda cloud storage

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