Up until recently I've been running my backups using the built in backup and recover tool and Powershell (see http://imperfectit.blogspot.com/2010/03/automate-sharepoint-2010-farm-backups.html), but my environment has started to grow and become more complex. That, and it's larger than the recommended 150 GB limit "suggested" by Microsoft. As a result I had to find a more robust data protection solution. After much testing I went with AvePoint's DocAve v5.
DocAve Backup and Recovery for SharePoint 2010 offers two types of backup and recovery: Granular and Platform
Granular Content and Data Protection
• Supports SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 environments (via DocAve v5), and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 (via DocAve 4.5). Support for SharePoint 2001 is available – please contact an AvePoint representative).
• Full fidelity backup and restore of all lists, libraries and items (including Events, Links, Tasks, Contacts, Announcements, Discussion Boards, Surveys, Issues, Custom Lists, Areas, Sub Areas, Portal Links, Workflow Definitions, Layout Templates, and Site Definitions, along with access permissions, metadata and version histories)
• Backs up and restores SharePoint workflow definitions
• Full fidelity item-level restore from DocAve, SQL native backups created by T-SQL script or a maintenance plan, DPM, IBM-TSM, HP Data Protector, as well as third-party embedded SQL backup engines, including HyperBac and LiteSpeed Engine
• Granular, item-level restore with sliding timeline view, along with full text keyword search and identification criteria mask search
• Restore content to different SharePoint instances or locations, including file systems and networked file shares with DocAve's "out-of-place restore" functionality
• Manual and Automated Data Pruning feature helps manage historic SharePoint backup data and improve access speed to more recent backups
• Data Coalescing feature allows collapsing incremental backups into one backup data set for easy retrieval.
• Item-level "out-of-place restore" for complete hardware failure
• Fast granular backup speeds, up to 60GB/hour
Comprehensive Platform Protection
• Backup and recover entire SharePoint farms or selective components including all servers and back-end SQL databases with all configurations, Index/Job servers, as well as front-end IIS settings and file system resources
• Quickly and selectively restore individual or a combination of farm components (content databases, web applications, SSP, etc.)
• Safeguard front-end web server resources (IIS settings, Template files, user selected resources, local file systems, etc.)
• Backup InfoPath form templates, Project Server content and Site Definitions
• Support for SharePoint Features
• Up-to-the-minute restore using SQL logs restoration
• Leverages Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to ensure consistent point-in-time backups
• Fast platform backup speeds, up to 100 GB/hour
• Efficient data streaming via open standards, including VDI and VSS without staging location requirements
If you've worked with this product or others, I'd be interested to hear your opinions.