Data Management

Safe Keeping (Cadalyst Labs Review)

1 Mar, 2008 By: Ron LaFon

Backup Software Secures Your Designs


Often, data is the most valuable business asset. When you consider how much time, money, and energy is tied up in your company's design work, keeping a copy of that data in a safe and secure place seems like a reasonable precaution. It's surprising, however, how few people regularly back up their work and how few computer systems are equipped to do it. If you've never had a hard-disk failure or an important design file that has been corrupted beyond recovery, you've been lucky. I hope it won't take a disaster for you to realize the importance of securing your data.



This roundup review looks at some of the currently available backup options for small- to mid-sized design firms and examines some popular backup strategies. Although most versions of Microsoft Windows include some sort of backup utility, it's typically so limited in its functions that users quickly look elsewhere for their security backup needs.

In this article, Cadalyst surveyed currently available backup products. The products in this review range from relatively simple to quite complex. For additional information about the features of these products, see www.cadalyst.com/0308backuptable.

With the wide range of approaches and the software included in this survey article, you'll likely find an option that is appropriate to your needs.

Acronis True Image Echo Workstation with Universal Restore

Acronis
877.669.9749
www.acronis.com
Price: $79.99, True Image Echo Workstation; $29.99, Universal Restore


Acronis offers a range of products, including a single-user home backup, but I checked out Acronis True Image Echo Workstation and the Acronis Universal Restore module for this review.

Acronis True Image Echo Workstation includes a management console that can manage other networked PCs that also have Echo Workstation installed, even though it is considered a single-user application. The Workstation version also supports the Acronis Universal Restore Module, a separate product that allows you to restore different hardware and back up to a virtual machine or FTP site.

Using the Acronis Universal Restore Module, you can create bootable media with the Universal Restore option selected. After a catastrophic system failure, the repaired system can be booted with the media you created. You can then select the image to restore, and Acronis Universal Restore initiates the restore process, detecting the machine type and installing the appropriate drivers for the hardware abstraction layer (HAL). When restored, the system reboots with the operating system and all files are restored to their status at the time the system was backed up.

Acronis True Image Echo Workstation is a professional system backup and disaster-recovery application for office desktops and laptops.
Acronis True Image Echo Workstation is a professional system backup and disaster-recovery application for office desktops and laptops.

Acronis True Image Echo Workstation is moderately priced at $79.99, and the Acronis Universal Restore Module is available for an additional $29.99. System requirements are a PC with a Pentium 133 or higher processor (or equivalent) with at least 64 MB of RAM and at least 20 MB of available hard disk space. Supported operating systems are Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 4, Window XP with Service Pack 2, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Windows Vista. Supported file systems include FAT 16/32, NTFS, Linux Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS, and Linux SWAP. Special sector-by-sector support is provided for other partitions and corrupted file systems. Acronis also offers a line of server products.

Supported storage devices for Acronis True Image Echo Workstation include hard disk drives, networked storage devices, CD-R(W), DVD-RW, DVD+R(W), ZIP, Rev and other removable media, P-ATA (IDE), S-ATA, SCSI, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and USB 1.1/2.0 drives, and PC Card storage devices.

Genie Backup ManagerPro v8

Genie-soft
+962 (6) 5167234
www.genie-soft.com
Price: $69.95


Genie-soft offers a wide range of backup and data-protection software, including server-level products and online backup solutions. For this roundup, I looked at Genie Backup Manager Pro v8, which offers both disaster recovery and free open-file backup options. It also lets users perform their backup plan remotely. Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 has an easy-to-understand interface and features an extensive online help system. When installed, Genie Backup Manager Pro uses a task-tray icon to remind you to make backups — a useful reminder that isn't annoying.

Genie Backup Manager Home, Pro, and Server editions all make use of the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in Windows XP, Server 2004, and Vista to back up open, in-use, and locked files without requiring any additional applications or plug-ins. Genie-soft, however, does have an open-file backup (OFB) add-on that supersedes many of the limitations present using Windows VSS technology. If you need the extra functionality, especially if you intend to back up open files across different types of network infrastructures, this option may be worth the investment.

Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 (GBM Pro 8.0) is a total system and data-protection solution.
Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 (GBM Pro 8.0) is a total system and data-protection solution.

The incorporated smart backup scheduler in Genie Backup Manager Pro lets you schedule different backup jobs at different times and intervals and to snooze or pause scheduled backups. Users can postpone backups if their system is running on batteries (as might be the case with a laptop).

Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 includes Windows Vista–compatible disaster-recovery features, guaranteeing small-business continuity by enabling the option of backing up the entire system, along with fast and easy system recovery via an intuitive wizard-based interface. There is no need for Microsoft's Windows Setup installation media.

Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 is moderately priced at $69.95. It runs on a PC with an Intel Pentium III processor or above with 256 MB of RAM (512 MB is recommended) and 200 MB of free hard drive space. Genie Backup Manager Pro v8 runs under Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. The software requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0.0 or later and Flash Player.

NovaBACKUP v8

NovaStor
805.579.6700
www.novastor.com
Price: $49.95, standard; $149.95, Server Version; $349.95, Business Essentials


NovaStor offers a variety of backup software solutions, including NovaBACKUP v8, which I evaluated for this roundup. Two other versions of NovaBACKUP v8 also are available: a Server version and a Business Essentials version, which includes built-in support for SQL and Exchange.

The interface of NovaBACKUP is clean and straightforward and has some wizard-guided routines for common functions. If you're familiar with the Microsoft Office 2007 interface, you'll feel right at home using NovaBACKUP. A flexible scheduler allows users to customize backup times and routines for their specific environments, and a set-it-and-forget function performs backup functions automatically in the background while they work.

Selecting data to back up is easy, and a smart selection feature lets users back up specific types of data — such as photos, e-mails, or personal documents — no matter where they're stored on a hard drive.

NovaBACKUP verifies content that is backed up, logging any errors and notifying users of the problems. The software also scans for viruses during the backup process. Restorations can be made with a variety of options, including the ability to overwrite existing files or restore to an alternate location. NovaBACKUP creates a list of all backed-up files, so you can restore all files or only the individual files you need. The entire system can be backed up for a bare-metal restore that completely recovers the system in the event of a disaster.

NovaBACKUP allows home and business users to go from the initial installation to complete protection of any data in just minutes.
NovaBACKUP allows home and business users to go from the initial installation to complete protection of any data in just minutes.

Plug-and-play support makes NovaBACKUP compatible with hundreds of devices, including CD, DVD, Blu-ray, local, and network drives; tape drives; and most other storage devices. Peer-to-peer backup is possible because NovaBACKUP is network aware. A single backup procedure can protect the information on a computer and other systems in a home or small business network.

Moderately priced at $49.95, NovaBACKUP supports multiple languages, including English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages, including double-byte languages. The base NovaBACKUP software is designed specifically for Windows desktop operating systems, with the NovaBACKUP Server and Business Essentials Editions targeted toward Windows 2000/2003 Server platforms. The base NovaBACKUP v8 runs under Windows Vista, XP Home/Professional, and 2000 Professional. For an additional 25% of the retail price, you can add one year of free software upgrades and updates as well as technical support, including phone support. NovaBACKUP currently doesn't support disaster recovery under Windows Vista.

NovaBACKUP includes support for all Windows extended attributes and security settings. You can backup your servers or workstations to any media, including tape drives (SCSI/EIDE/IDE/FireWire/USB), hard disk, CD-R/W, DVD-R/W, DVD+R/W, DVD-RAM, network drives, and most other storage devices.

Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Servers

Symantec
408.517.8000
www.symantec.com,
www.backupexec.com
Price: $795



Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Servers is the latest version of the company's highly capable backup and disaster-recovery program. Of the products that I examined for this roundup, Backup Exec has the most stringent system requirements but offers the most choices in how backups are accomplished. Symantec Backup Exec includes an option that allows users to test the system upon which they plan to install the software to see if it meets the system requirements, offering solutions for many problems that it might find.

In addition to providing certified disk-to-disk-to-tape backup and recovery, Backup Exec for Windows Servers also offers continuous data protection for Microsoft Exchange, SQL, file servers, and workstations. High-performance software agents and options provide flexibility and scalable management of both local and remote server backups.

Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers runs on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server (with Service Pack 4 and Update Rollup 1 for Service Pack 4), Server 2007, Server 2003 x64 Editions, Storage Server 2003 (with Service Pack 1), XP (with Service Pack 2), XP Professional x64 edition, Small Business Server 2000 (with Service Pack 4), Small Business Server 2003 (with Service Pack 1), and Small Business Server R2. Client support includes Microsoft Windows Vista, XP, and 2000 Professional.

Symantec Backup Exec 11d offers a comprehensive data-protection and recovery solution in one product suite and simplifies the backup and recovery of your company s most valuable asset — its data.
Symantec Backup Exec 11d offers a comprehensive data-protection and recovery solution in one product suite and simplifies the backup and recovery of your company s most valuable asset — its data.

Systems requirements include a PC with an Intel Pentium, Xeon, AMD, or compatible processor, with RAM requirements varying depending upon the operations performed and the options installed (though RAM requirements are generally in the 256 MB to 1 GB range, with more RAM providing better performance). Virtual memory recommendations are 20 MB greater than the Windows-recommended size for total paging file size (total for all disk volumes). You'll also need Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, and Service Pack 1 is required for SQL Server 2005 Express.

Hard-disk requirements may vary depending upon the operations performed, the options installed, and the specific system configuration. The Backup Exec database and catalogs require additional space. That said, a typical installation requires 696 MB of hard disk space or 805 MB including all options. Other required hardware includes a network interface card or virtual network adapter card, a CD-ROM drive, a mouse, and an optional modem supported by Microsoft Windows (for pager notification). A printer is optional for printed notifications.

Last but not least, Backup Exec requires at least one storage media drive and/or single-drive robotic library and the appropriate controller card. Removable storage devices and nonremovable hard drives also can be targeted for backups. For a complete list of supported devices, visit the company's Web site, where you can download a trial version of the software.

UltraBac v8.2.1

UltraBac Software
425.644.6000
www.ultrabac.com
Price: $495


For this software roundup, UltraBac sent Cadalyst two products for evaluation: UltraBac v8.2.1 Server edition and UBDR Gold Server edition v3.5 (see below).

The UltraBac installer allows the software to be installed on the local system or to remote systems. A full install should be performed on what will be the backup host, with any necessary agents (or a full install) performed on the remote systems. Performing a full install on the host system will allow backup of remote files, SQL Databases, Exchange servers, or a full image backup of the local system. Installations can be performed in mixed 32- and 64-bit environments.

The UltraBac Management Console is used to configure, manage, and maintain all UltraBac operations. The Management Console can show backup, verify, and restore logs along with scheduled backups and backup sets. UltraBac stores information on backup output devices in the Storage Device Manager. This utility allows an administrator access to numerous kinds of storage devices, including tape and tape libraries, FTP, partitions, disk and disk libraries, and any of these devices configured on a remote system. Disk Path devices and IBM Tivoli devices are supported as well. All backup up files are indexed for easy access and for easy restoration of the specific files needed.

UltraBac v8.2.1 offers enterprise users a totally new approach to performing disaster-recovery operations, but it continues to support the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
UltraBac v8.2.1 offers enterprise users a totally new approach to performing disaster-recovery operations, but it continues to support the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.

The basic system requirements for UltraBac Server Edition v8.2.1 are a PC running Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Server or Professional operating system with the latest service packs and hot fixes applied. Memory requirements vary according to the operating system: for an NT-based workstation, you'll need at least 32 MB of RAM with 64 MB or more recommended; Windows 2000 Professional systems require at least 64 MB of RAM with more recommended; NT Server requires 48 MB of RAM with 64 MB or more recommended; and Windows 2003/XP systems require 128 MB of RAM with 256 MB or more recommended.

At least 10 MB of free hard-disk space is required, and 50 MB or more is recommended. A graphics system capable of at least 800 x 600 resolution is required, with 1,024 x 768 recommended; support for 256 colors is required but 65,536 is recommended.

UltraBac Server edition is priced at $495 with free technical support during the evaluation period or with a maintenance contract; without a maintenance contract, the company charges a per-incident fee.

UBDR Gold v3.5

UltraBac Software
425.644.6000
www.ultrabac.com
Price: $995


The second product that UltraBac Software sent to Cadalyst for evaluation is its UBDR Gold Server edition v3.5, the latest version of its disaster-recovery solution. UBDR Gold features more advanced features and options than UltraBac v8.2.1 and can cold-boot any machine and perform either an image- or file-based backup to literally any local or remote storage device, including media libraries, TSM servers, and FTP devices.

With UBDR Gold you can back up all hidden and active partition types, including extended as well as live operating systems. You can recover a dead system by booting from the universal UBDR Gold CD. After you've booted from the CD, you can browse to and click on the saved image, restore it at speeds as fast as 3 GB per minute, and then reboot the recovered system to its state at the last backup.

You can perform dissimilar hardware restores with UBDR Gold's physical-to-physical (P2P) disaster-recovery feature. UBDR Gold also offers physical-to-virtual (P2V)–based disaster recoveries. Additionally, UBDR Gold supports virtual-to-virtual (V2V) and virtual-to-physical (V2P) recoveries, providing users with every currently available disaster-recovery option. The backup and restore processes can be fully scripted for completely unassisted recoveries.

UltraBac UBDR Gold Server edition v3.5 is priced $995 with agents for TSM, FTP, and media libraries available for an additional cost. After the product is purchased, you can arrange to receive it in a download, if so desired. Technical support is free during the evaluation period or with a maintenance contract; without a maintenance contract, the company charges a per-incident fee.

UBDR Gold is the first bare-metal recovery utility that has integrated FTP into disaster recovery.
UBDR Gold is the first bare-metal recovery utility that has integrated FTP into disaster recovery.

Both UBDR Pro and UBDR Gold are on bootable CDs that use Windows PE technology as a platform to perform UltraBac Image Disaster Recovery Agent restorations. UBDR Pro is designed to retrieve and restore UltraBac image backups of a partition or an entire disk from a locally attached tape device or a remote disk path. UBDR Gold also has that ability, as well as the option to restore from an FTP site, Tivoli device, or a remote tape device. UBDR Gold can also be used to perform both image and file-by-file backups. When the system boots, the UBDR Restore CD automatically detects and loads drivers for most NIC cards, SCSI cards, and RAID controllers.

UBDR Gold can coexist with any backup solution as a standalone license or it can be integrated with an existing UltraBac backup license. The UBDR Gold Stand-Alone version includes a backup software engine. This option is slightly more expensive, but UBDR Gold Stand-Alone offers true machine-backup redundancy and provides access to a licensed machine's tape drive remotely when installed.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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