IT managers seeking comprehensive, robust, client/server backup software for Windows networks should consider Storactive Inc.s LiveBackup 2.5.
Prices for the latest version of LiveBackup, released last month, start at $129 per client. Storactive does not charge a licensing fee for LiveBackups server component, but compared with other Windows-based client backup software on the market, it is still on the expensive side. Rival products start at lower prices per client. Veritas Software Inc.s NetBackup Professional 3.5, for example, starts at only $69 per client. Most competitors to LiveBackup, however, offer fewer features.
LiveBackup supports the entire line of Windows clients from Windows 95 to Windows 2000, and Version 2.5 gains support for Windows XP Professional clients. The LiveBackup server must be installed on a Windows 2000 server with Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server 2000.
Many companies dont invest in client-side backup software due to the extra costs; instead, they make users save documents into network share drives. Network shares are usually located in larger file servers or storage devices such as network-attached storage systems that are backed up onto tapes using server-based backup software. For sites with many clients, managing the backup and security of these shares can become a burden, taking up valuable IT resources.
Using client/server backup software can greatly simplify the management of client-side data, but the cost of implementing a network-client backup solution quickly becomes expensive for companies with thousands of desktops and laptops.
LiveBackups Windows-only support will also limit its appeal in heterogeneous server environments. Although this isnt too big a knock, as most competitors support only Windows clients, we would like to see support for Linux and Mac OS.
In tests, we were impressed with LiveBackups real-time protection capabilities and its ability to protect client systems transparently. LiveBackup will be a smart purchase for Windows-based sites that require strong client-side data protection and can shoulder the cost.
Once properly configured, a single LiveBackup server can be used to back up hundreds of client systems. To avoid overloading the production network with backup data, LiveBackups ZoneBackup feature backs up only the changed "zone" of data files, greatly reducing the amount of data the client PCs need to send to the backup server.
LiveBackup uses Storactives LiveWatch technology to monitor client systems for changes and to back up data as users save it. LiveWatch ensures that the most recent copy of client data is protected, without the need for the user interaction, and can be recovered as needed. Client backup and recovery tasks can be easily managed using one centralized administration console.
LiveBackup also leverages Microsofts Internet Information Services to provide Web-based client software deployment. Client users go to a Web site to download and install the LiveBackup software, greatly streamlining the deployment process in companies with many client computers.
In eWeek Labs tests, we were able to quickly install LiveBackup and begin a backup of test systems. The LiveBackup server component is highly dependent on SQL Server: Having more memory (Storactive recommends at least 1GB) in the server hardware will increase the overall performance.
LiveBackups administration console is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in, making administration tasks even easier for users familiar with Windows.
The handy wizard-based Recovery Assistant made client system repair and data recovery a snap. For example, Recovery Assistant enabled us to recover files without calling tech support, thus improving productivity. We launched the Recovery Assistant on the test desktops and could easily "reset" the system to a previously backed-up state. We could also recover individual files based on document type or folder name.
Administrators can control the types of files that can be recovered through the Recovery Assistant to ensure that users dont corrupt system files.
Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at [email protected]