Atempo LiveBackup

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LiveBackup is a hybrid application that performs continuous backups and makes system snapshot files.

Strictly captive to Microsoft platforms, Atempo uses MS SQL Server 2000 (included) to keep track of backup client-system data movements.

It's fast -- it made a snapshot of our system in a matter of minutes -- and provided a desirable negligible load on client performance while it was backing up continuously. Where there's a lot of continuously changing data, a fast pipe to the server (such as a symmetrical broadband connection) is recommended to ensure the lowest delta in the backup data set.

LiveBackup was tougher to install than normal in this test, and the client-side application can't have its installation options (such as the IP address of the server and the system name of the client) changed without the client application being uninstalled and reinstalled.

This shouldn't be difficult for static situations, where nothing changes, but we don't like to bet on those. We also had to do additional installation tasks that might stump some, such as configuring the MS SQL Server to start in the host server system, something Atempo could have done easily by supplying an installation script.

It's otherwise easy to understand and navigate backups from client to server, whether you're an administrator or a slightly savvy user. A LiveBackup 128-bit cipher encrypts data backed up from client to server on the wire (or through the air or whatever the network transport is).

VPN connections must be arranged and deployed outside of the LiveBackup deployment if they're needed for remote users. Unfortunately, LiveBackup doesn't do machine cloning or load software on new machines for internal distribution as easily as other products we tested.

It's possible to let a server-stored LiveBackup DVD/CD set restore a failed system in the field. This is very helpful in cases where a remote worker's machine has a hard-disk failure of some kind. The user could take the LiveBackup DVD/CD media, after having remedied the hard-disk failure, and use it to replace lost data or request a simple disk overwrite to do a bare-metal restoration.

LiveBackup is a hard-drive and SAN-focused storage system, and the word "tape" does not appear in its documentation. This means that multiple iterations of data will require an online, rapidly accessible, drive-based infrastructure for storage.

Therefore Atempo's usefulness in providing rapidly restorable data is offset by the need for large data stores at the LiveBackup server. LiveBackup conserves media by using single-instance technology, meaning that only one instance of a file is stored (unless it is changed, creating another instance). The payoff can be very rapid restoration of information where the platform is homogeneously Windows-based.

For security, LiveBackup by default uses a 128-bit cipher for data transmission.

On the reporting front, LiveBackup generates rudimentary reports on such activities as how many backups, restorations and rollbacks particular users did. These statistics are stored in a database that has archiving as an option.

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