Archive for February, 2011
Users today are inundated with backup tools. Some come with the Windows operating system. Some are bundled in with DVD-writing software. Still others are stand-alone disk imaging or file-based backup products. It is easy to information overload, making it difficult to make a decision as to which is best for a given user’s circumstances.
Here are some rules to help you decide which product is right for you.
First, let’s start with products that ship with the operating system. Millions of users today still use Windows XP and Vista. These operating systems come with a utility called Windows Restore. While that might sound like a general purpose backup product, it is not. It only restores key Windows files. If your system has a failure, Windows Restore might get Windows working again, but it will not help you restore your data or applications.
Windows 7 and Vista offer a Backup & Restore feature, but if you want to back up to a network location, you will need the Professional or Ultimate versions. The capabilities found in the Windows backup offering are rather basic; if you require continuous data backup, deduplication, or other advanced capabilities, you need to look at backup products from vendors that specialize in backup, such as Genie9’s Timeline.
As noted, some programs that are designed for particular applications, such as disc-burning software, also are bundled with a rudimentary backup program. These are generally programs that will give you the most basic of backup capabilities; they are not meant to a disaster recovery or full system backup application. Companies that bundle these utilities with their primary programs are not in the backup business. They often will purchase barebones backup applications from other companies and add them to their “suites,” just so they can say they offer backup.
In order to get the best backup programs, you should look at companies that make their business in backup. While it is no guarantee that a company that sells primarily backup products will have the best offerings for every user, you generally can expect a higher quality backup program with a better user interface from a backup company rather than someone who just buys software and bundles it as a check-off item.
Now that you’ve decided to buy from a vendor that specializes in backup, how do you choose which is right for you? First, look at the company’s offerings. If a company offers primarily consumer-based programs with minimal functionality and scalability, it’s generally not the best choice for a small to mid-size business. Ideally, you will want to download a trial version of the software and put it through its paces in your environment. There are big differences amongst the different backup products in terms of usability, scalability, features and functions. Getting hands-on experience with the various products will help you decide.
Some companies have offerings specifically designed for the small and mid-size business. Many of these products are touted to be easy to use, but they might not be right for you. If your software vendor won’t let you try out their software first, it’s time to find a new vendor.
Support is crucial. If your vendor makes support difficult to use, find a new vendor. Look for a company that offers a knowledge base, tutorials, forums and other user-to-user resources, as well as access to a real helpdesk.
Remember to identify the key capabilities you need. Here are some considerations. Remember, not all of these might apply to your needs, so picking the right capabilities will help you start to narrow your choices
- Easy to install
- Easy to use and to support
- Continuous data backups
- Disaster Recovery
- Backup locally, to the network, or to the cloud
- File-based or image-based backups
- Data deduplication
- Works on all of your devices (laptop, tablet, cell phone)
- Let’s you select what data you want backed up
Remember, backing up data is easy – there are lots of products that can back up your data. Restoring it reliably and securely is hard. Make sure you select a product that can restore your data correctly the first time safely and reliably. For additional information on backup and recovery, please visit www.genie9.com
Although backup and disk mirroring are often used interchangeably, a mirror is decidedly not a backup. Mirroring and backups serve different purposes. A mirror is designed to keep your system up and running in the case of a hard disk failure. While a backup essentially serves that purpose, it is designed to provide you with data protection should a file, folder or an entire disk drive fail.
Let’s say you have a system with two 500 GB drives configured in a RAID 1 mirror. Any data written to one drive is automatically duplicated to the other. This is great if you are concerned that you might be susceptible to a disk drive failure. Should your primary hard disk fail, all you need do is move the mirror into the primary drive’s position and keep going. But mirrors come with their own set of issues. Let’s say your antivirus or antimalware software allows an infection to get by. Now you have a problem on both your primary drive and the mirror. Mirrors let bad things happen much faster.
Now let us assume that you are backing up your primary drive with either a file- or image-based backup software and your primary drive gets a virus. You have options. If you have a file-based backup, you need only to clean the primary drive and then copy the cleaned files to your backup. This is the same technique you would use for backups to cloud-based backup environments.
If you back up using sector-based disk images backed up to local drive or network-attached storage device and your image becomes infected, simply mount your image as a virtual disk in read/write mode. Run your antivirus software against the mounted image and clean the virus. Once that’s done, save the image as an incremental backup and your image will be clean.
Some computers ship from the manufacturer with a preconfigured disk mirror. Don’t be mislead that you have a preconfigured backup; you don’t. There are a variety of RAID configurations that are designed to protect data, but each serves a different purpose. For RAID 1, the disk mirror, the purpose is protection from a failed hard disk.
The gaming-focused PlayStation phone, aka the Sony Ericson Xperia Play will be released on Sunday February 13 in Barcelona, Spain. To help describe the new gadget, imagine a Play Station Portable (PSP), and add a multi-touch LCD screen, calling/texting, connecting to a 3G network, a 5 mega-pixel camera, and the layout of a Play Station controller.
The new phone isn’t only about games. With Android Gingerbread as the operating system and a 1 GHz processor, it also offers a wide variety of applications which has many critics comparing it to the iPhone 4.
The Xperia Play is that first device to be PlayStation certified; which means that it will be able to run Sony PlayStation games, the list is currently limited to older games released on the original PlayStation.
Online backup company Mozy has officially announced that it is dropping its popular unlimited storage plan and raising its prices for all new users and existing customers. Mozy explains that the cost of online backups has increased and therefore they had to increase the prices for the users as well, so now existing users who have already uploaded a large amount of data that exceeds the new plans limits are going to have to pay the extra charges for the rest of their plan, so needless to say people are starting to look for Mozy alternatives.
While the prices of online backup services are increasing and it has become very expensive to afford a yearly plan of online backups, if you search BestBuy or Amazon.com for the prices of an external hard drive unit that has 1 TeraByte of space (that is 1000 GB’s) you will find that a cost of a drive from even the best brands costs a lot less for something that you will only have to purchase once and can use for many years to come. Backing up your computer’s data and lifetime of photos, music, office files, financial documents, internet bookmarks and your email has become a necessity. Although storage mediums are wide spread and can easily be obtained, finding reliable backup software that combines an easy to use interface with all the backup functionality and requirements might prove hard.
Genie Timeline 2.1 is a time machine backup software for Windows that automatically and continuously backs up music files, videos, photos, documents, files and folders on your machine with little or no user intervention. With Genie Timeline, there is no need to know what to backup, where or what backup strategy to follow as it does it all for you. Just set it and forget it!
Winner of the TOPTENReviews.com best continuous data protection on the market, the idea behind Timeline is to connect it to your external hard drive or NAS and leave it to do its job.
So a cheap and reliable alternative to Mozy and all online backup utilities can be brought down to two things, an external storage device and Timeline 2.1