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Space For Rent

Network Computing reviews five online backup services for agent functionality, ease of use, system-management capabilities, cost and retention schemes.

Managing server backups is a challenge, even when your IT staff and hardware are centralized in one data center. Hardware needs to be maintained, software updated, backup windows juggled, logs monitored, and tapes wrangled and sent off-site to a secure location. The process becomes even more interesting when you have to administer small departmental servers at remote locations, where IT support may be limited.

Online server backup services are a cost-effective alternative to conventional tape backup schemes, offering safe, off-site disk-to-disk data backups without the expense of additional hardware, software, tape media or manpower. Service providers use your existing IP bandwidth to support regular backups of your data to their secure data centers, where redundant storage, 24/7 monitoring and user support are available as needed.

Given the large number of online backup services, it was difficult to decide whom to invite for our review. Our goal was to test a representative cross section, with an emphasis on providers that have established a reputation for reliability. The process was made even more complex by the fact that many major players not only offer online storage services, but also market licensed versions of their software, both to large enterprises and to companies wishing to market online backup services of their own.

After isolating server-focused services and cross-referencing a couple of independent lists, we came up with a group of 10 providers to invite. Five agreed to participate: Connected Corp., Data Base File Tech Group, EVault, LiveVault Corp. and Pro-Softnet Corp. In an interesting juxtaposition, AmeriVault chose to refer us to its technology provider, EVault, which was already on board for this review; conversely, NovaStor Corp. asked us to instead review one of the services based on its software because it's seeking to position itself primarily as a software provider. So we did a random drawing from a list NovaStor provided, and Global Data Vault took the sixth and final position in our test group. BigVault Storage Technologies, Data Protection Services and U.S. Data Trust Corp. did not respond to our invitation.

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

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