Paragon Drive Backup 10 Workstation provides businesses with an extremely powerful system backup utility that goes far beyond the standard file and folder backup/recovery scenarios, but the functionality does not come for free.
Note: This review was performed with a 30 day free trial edition.
- Cost: $74.95
- Hardware requirements: 120MB Disk Space, 128MB RAM, 200MHz CPU
- Operating systems requirements: 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7
- Supported file systems: NTFS (1.2 - 3.1), FAT 16, FAT 32, Ext2FS, Ext3FS, Ext4FS, Linux Swap, Apple HFS+, other file systems in sector-by-sector mode
- Additional information: Product Web site
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Who's it for?
Paragon Drive Backup 10 Workstation provides desktop administrators with a very robust feature set for performing system backups. Power users and desktop support technicians will also appreciate it, particularly for its ability to migrate a system from one hardware platform to another as well as a P2V conversion.
What problems does it solve?
The standard backup applications out there really just copy your files and folders into some sort of archive file, and add very little value other than possibly performing differential or incremental backups, or perhaps providing some fancy file management tools. Drive Backup 10 Workstation offers many more features, including some that you would expect to see in a partition or drive management application. The really hot features, though, are those related to migrating machine from one platform to another, which can be a true lifesaver for support personnel and technicians.
- Migration tools: You can perform a P2P migration (from one piece of hardware to another) or P2V migrations (turning a physical machine into a virtual machine) including the appropriate driver changes.
- File system support: A wide variety of file systems is supported (see the list above).
- Synthetic backups: One of the most interesting features is "synthetic backup", the ability to treat existing backups as the source for a new one, allowing you to create an archive without re-performing a backup.
- Scripting: The scripting system allows administrators to craft backups to precisely fit their needs.
- Pricey: This application is priced at the high end of workstation backup tools.
- Busy UI: While the application itself is easy to use, the interface is very cluttered and takes some getting used to. There is an overwhelming amount of information thrown at the user. Much of this is due to the huge number of extra features which do not necessarily justify the price, like the partition management tools.
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Bottom line for business
Everyone knows that they need to be doing regular backups, one way or the other. While Windows comes with its own backup software, it has its limitations and shortcomings. Various vendors have aimed to improve on the basic model, and Paragon Drive Backup 10 Workstation has its own approach to the subject. What really stands out about this product is that is uses a lot of the same components as Paragon's excellent disk partition management tools (including Paragon Partition Manager 10 Professional) to provide not just the standard "files and folder into a compressed archive" backup, but system images which can be easily transported and restored.
Part of this strategy is the support for restoring a system onto entirely new hardware. Normally, this would take a great amount of effort on the part of the technician: restore the system, possibly perform a Windows "repair" to get the correct drivers for the low level hardware, then reapply updates and patches and hope nothing was severely broken along the way. Drive Backup 10 Workstation takes the guesswork out of the process, and gives you an easy way to perform P2V migrations as well, which is excellent news for companies looking to consolidate a room full of test systems into a library of virtual machines.
This focus on advanced functionality does not mean that Drive Backup 10 Workstation misses the essentials. In terms of performing the normal backup/recovery sequence, it works as expected and in a fashion that is not much different from the rest of the competitors. One nice feature is the ability to split the backup archives into chunks to storage on removable media. The "synthetic backup" system is also useful for creating a particular view of the backups for offsite storage without having to actually perform a full backup.
For users who just want a simple way of retrieving files that are accidentally deleted or modified once in a while, or who do not mind putting a bit of effort into recovering a system, the cost of Drive Backup 10 Workstation is probably more than what it is worth to them. But for users for whom rapid system recovery is essential, like support technicians in a "time is money" environment, or people who may need to restore systems to different hardware (or migrate them to another machine entirely), the various system imaging tools, drive imagine tools, and hardware migration tools are well worth the sticker price.
Have you encountered or used Paragon Drive Backup 10 Workstation? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.