Data Centers

A cheap but full-featured backup solution

Features offered in Backup NOW! solution

Backups can easily present problems for the support tech. And if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll discover that the Windows Backup utility doesn’t support the many backup devices you need it to. That’s where Backup NOW! Deluxe comes in. In it, you’ll find a powerful backup solution that won’t bust your budget.

About Backup NOW! Deluxe
Backup NOW! Deluxe 3.0, a low-cost backup program from NewTech Infosystems, is easy to use and extremely flexible. It costs about $80 and is jam-packed with features. A couple of features that make this product so attractive are fly compression and automatic media spanning. The product also supports drive spanning for CD- and DVD-based backups, so you can write data to multiple CD or DVD drives simultaneously, which translates into increased speed and storage capacity. Naturally, CDs and DVDs aren’t your only media options. You can back up to just about any media, including CDs, DVDs, hard drives, ZIP drives, Jazz drives, and even USB pen drives.

Of course, Backup NOW! Deluxe also provides all the standard features that you would normally expect in a backup program, including a nice GUI interface, password-protected backups, and the ability to perform normal, differential, and incremental backups.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to take this new software for a spin. But the trial version that I had acquired at Comdex had already expired. Since the product sounded promising, though, I decided to take a chance and purchase the full version.

Installing and running
Installation was very quick and easy, taking less than two minutes and consuming a mere 7.5 MB of disk space. The program used a standard installation wizard. After the installation completed, the wizard asked me to enter a long serial number (somewhere around 60 or 70 characters). When the serial number wouldn’t activate the product, I tried cutting and pasting it from my e-mail receipt. Still, the product wouldn’t activate. I called the company’s customer support line and, after getting a bit of the runaround, I finally spoke to a friendly support person who promptly e-mailed me a new version and a new serial number. The new version installed perfectly.

When the software finally loaded, I arrived at the main console screen, which is divided into Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Start, and Schedule.

Step 1 involved selecting what was to be backed up. I especially liked that the screen began at the desktop level and drilled down to My Computer and My Network Places. This allows you to back up the My Documents folder (or other desktop items) with a single check box selection. I was much more interested in backing up some network drives, though, so I moved on to My Computer and My Network Places.

As an experiment, I decided to back up my R: drive (an online compilation of software installation CDs), my Q: drive (everything that I’ve ever written and all of my business records), and my Z: drive (the source code to my Web site). Obviously, this is a huge chunk of data. It’s way too much for a single DVD to handle, but I wanted to back up the drives to a hard disk and see how long the backup took and how much space it consumed.

Once I had selected all of the files to be backed up, I moved on to Step 2, where I had to select a filename and a destination for the backup. I chose the D: drive and went with the default filename. Step 3 asked if I wanted to back up all files, new files, or changed files. You also have the option of enabling or disabling Compress, Verify, and Append. To save time, I turned off Verify, but left Compress and Append enabled.

I then started the backup, which consisted of 64,000 files and almost 8 GB. I started the backup at 12:52 P.M., and the process took just about two hours to complete. Although the compression worked, the results were disappointing. I was only able to save about 500 MB of space. I suspect that this is because many of the files that I backed up were already compressed (e.g., .jpg, .cap, .zip). I also suspect that the backup would have worked much faster on a larger-scale network. For example, none of my servers are taking advantage of RAID arrays. Instead, they all use IDE hard drives. Furthermore, my network is running 100 Mbps Ethernet. A gigabit Ethernet network could have made much quicker work of the backup operation.

My impressions
In spite of the problems I had with the initial installation, the software is very good. It’s easy to use, especially when compared with enterprise products like Arcserve and Backup Exec. I also liked the software's numerous features, many of which would typically be found only on more expensive products.

Furthermore, the features didn’t over complicate the product— you don’t get lost while trying to figure it out. Thanks to Backup NOW! Deluxe 3.0, full-featured backup software doesn’t have to be expensive or overly complex.


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