By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2004-09-06 Print this article Print

Unitrends Corp.s DPU 3000 is a practical disk-to-disk backup unit for workstations and servers, but its lack of power redundancy will keep it out of mission-critical systems.

For lower-priority backup duties, however, eWEEK Labs tests show the DPU 3000 should be a good fit for midsize companies and small remote offices, with its high performance and the attractive price efficiency of ATA-based storage.

The DPU 3000, which shipped in July, is a complete hardware and software system. This is different from some of the other disk-to-disk systems weve seen, including Nexsan Technologies Inc.s hardware-only ATAboy solution, which typically act as target systems. (In a target scheme, software sends backup jobs a target for completion. The target performs the backup but doesnt provide backup management.)

Unitrends D2D backup appliances range in price from $3,786 for an entry-level 250GB unit to $86,000 for the DPU 5000 with a capacity of 9.2TB. (Software is included.) The DPU 3000 unit we tested is priced at just under $19,000.

Unlike most other backup solutions (primarily software), the DPU 3000 is licensed by capacity, not by the number of clients on a network.

The DPU 3000 is a 3U (5.25-inch) rack-mountable appliance that can store 250GB to 4.8TB and features 12 drive bays.

We believe the DPU 3000 is a good solution for IT shops that havent already invested in a comprehensive backup solution, such as Computer Associates International Inc.s ARCserve or Veritas Software Corp.s Backup Exec.

IT departments that have already purchased a complete client/server backup platform might be better off leveraging that investment and augmenting it with simple ATA-based disk targets because most backup software packages support hard-drive-based storage.

In tests, we had the DPU 3000 implemented on our network in a matter of minutes—the initial setup entailed simply assigning the DPU 3000 an address in our network. The DPU 3000s client software covers Windows, NetWare, Linux and most varieties of Unix. On the client side, we had to install agent software on each of our clients, which wasnt difficult but could be tedious for large organizations without software delivery tools.

Backup jobs can be initiated from the Linux-based server console GUI or by using the backup interface on the clients. We found both interfaces easy to use, and they quickly allowed us to back up and restore data at will.

This ease of use makes the DPU 3000 ideal for remote offices where IT staff may not be present.

Unitrends RX9 compression technology compresses data as it is written to disks to improve efficiency and performance. In tests, we saw data compression ratios in the 2-to-1 to 4-to-1 range, depending on the type of data being backed up.

A SCSI port located at the back of the DPU 3000 can be used to back up data on the DPU 3000 to tape for off-site storage or in case of hardware failure.

Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at henry_baltazar@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Storage Center at http://storage.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and business storage hardware and software.

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