I've been using XSIBackup (free) and thinking about going Pro.
I do have a question ... how does the "smart-info" feature work in environments where ESXi is running an a box with a RAID controller (using, of course, RAIDed disks)?
Looking at the code, xsibackup is a glorified shell script that at its core leverages the tools that come with ESXi. (Now, don't get me wrong, XSIBackup is an impressive and worthy piece of software that greatly simplifies and enables backups so please don't think I'm belittling the software.) But if the "smart-info" is just scraped from the esxcli tool (e.g. 'esxcli storage core device smart get -d <device>') then in situations where a RAID controller is in use, the "smart-info" feature of XSIBackup may not prove to be useful.
Well, XSIBackup is not just a script calling command line tools, it features propietary low level binaries to transfer and manipulate data too. It would simply not work as it does without low level programming. We have kept the frame as a bash script for some reasons:
1 - It allows users to tweak it to their needs.
2 - Makes it easy to debug any eventual issues.
3 - Compiled binaries would not make it faster, there were compiled code is required, that's what we use.
In regards to the --smart-info argument, you are absolutely right, it's just a report of what the esxcli tool offers, so any information you are getting out of it will depend on what the built in SMART report tool can offer. This is a value added argument, we might improve it in the future, but backup and replication is our main worry and action field.