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A New Backup Option

Apr 13, 20064 mins
Backup and RecoveryComputers

* StoreGrid backs up here, backs up there, backs up everywhere

Forgive me, but I haven’t nagged you about backups in months. Remember how you promised yourself this year would be different? You included “regular data backups” in your New Year’s Resolutions. You asked others to help you back up. You tore a backup software comparison out of a magazine. But, alas, your files languish in their typical, precarious, unbacked-up state.

So now is a good time to hear from a new backup vendor, Vembu Technologies. The company offers some interesting new features and covers more operating systems than many better known vendors. Check its site for trial versions.

Three flavors of Vembu’s backup product, StoreGrid Version 2.0., are available: Free (for peer-to-peer backups between three computers), Professional (client-server) and Service Provider.

Service Provider offers remote backups from your business to an ISP, value-added reseller, or any other organization willing to host your data. If you have a second location or access to a remote server to hold backup files, the Professional version offers remote backups as well.

For those of you with two or three Windows computers on the same network, your price calculations are easy: zero. Vembu restricts the software to only three computers on one network and only supports Windows computers, but the price fits every budget.

While StoreGrid Free only supports Windows computers, StoreGrid Professional and Service Provider editions handle Windows, multiple Linux versions, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD clients and servers. Even better, you can back up any client type to any server type, although there’s no data conversion so you can’t restore Windows files to a Macintosh and make them magically readable.

Another nice twist is the Vembu user interface: a browser. Any new browser can be used, although the company demands you turn off generic popup blockers in Firefox 1.5.

Nathan Zych of Outsource IT Computing (OITC), started working with Vembu back in November 2005. Since his outfit does most of its client support remotely, StoreGrid’s Web interface attracted Zych.

“We started migrating clients to the Service Provider option when it became available in February,” says Zych. “Right now we have about 30 offices using it for remote backup.”

OITC focuses on the medical and legal vertical market, meaning its systems are critical. “We had one office that was burglarized, and having an online backup of their systems allowed them to be up and running within 48 hours,” says Zych. “Their server was stolen with 20,000 patient records and having full backup allowed us to deliver new equipment already loaded with their data.”

StoreGrid includes the normal list of high end backup features, including compression, encryption (using the Blowfish algorithm), full and incremental backups, Continuous Data Protection for immediate file changes, and flexible scheduling for each client. An optional plug-in leverages Microsoft’s Shadow Volume feature to back up open Exchange Server files.

Some of the features that aren’t typical include setting the CPU load to high, medium, or low, mirroring backed up data between two or more servers, and configurable compression settings so you can choose between faster backups and smaller backups. You can back up your local client to a local server, then back up that server to a remote location for redundancy.

Pricing starts at $29.95 per user per year for the professional version, plus $19.95 per computer to handle open Exchange files. StoreGrid supports USB attached drives, and you can link multiple other client computers to a personal external drive. In fact, Vembu suggests that first time customers send data to an external drive, then let the remote backup service provider just take the drive and make that your first complete backup to support future incremental backups.

Zych says, “I find the interface is easy to use and the software quite reliable. It’s quite easy to restore a single file or a directory and gives me great peace of mind knowing our client’s data is protected as they rely on us to recommend and provide their solutions.”

Don’t let this new backup software vendor become just another promise to yourself broken on the hard edges of a hectic life. Download a trial of StoreGrid (or some other program) and improve your backup compliance.