Iomega Rev Drives and Disks Rev Up Backups

Ready for speed, reliability and durability? Then check out Iomega's new removable media.

June 18, 2004

3 Min Read
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Back Up, Jack

I tested the external USB 2.0 version of the Rev drive. An internal ATAPI drive is also available, with FireWire, SCSI, SATA and multitape autoloaders planned. I installed the included software and rebooted the system, and the Rev appeared as Drive D. I was able to drag and drop files onto it like any other hard drive.

Good

• Impressive drive speed• Large capacity in removable media• Quiet operation

Bad

• Bundled backup software limited as a server solution• Potential compatibility issues with existing backup software• Format is new and untested

Iomega REV Drives and Disks, $399.99 (model tested). Iomega Corp., (888) 446-6342, (858) 314-7000. www.iomega.com

To measure performance, I ran a set of tests using Iometer 2003.12.16. The results were as promised, with transfer rates of 23 MB per second. The Rev was surprisingly quiet-- in fact, I kept checking the activity light to make sure the drive was still operating.

Iomega includes two apps to secure your data. The first, Norton Ghost 2003, is a custom version of the software that lets you transfer a complete image of your system to Rev media. With this version, you can create a bootable Rev disk. To back up or restore your system, you boot off the Rev drive or from the included CD. You're brought directly into the Ghost application, where you create an image of the hard disk or restore your system by writing the saved image back to your hard disk.

For ongoing user-data backup, Iomega's Automatic Backup Pro is included. Residing in the system tray, the application performs backups according to a user-defined schedule. I configured it to back up the My Documents folder every night at 10. Because the application is always running, it can monitor your files and back them up whenever they're updated, as well as save several revisions of the same file.

After completing the first backup, I deleted several files, then went through the restore procedure. Every step of the process was clear and flawless.

GlitchI ran into one problem with Automatic Backup Pro, however. Designed to be an interactive application, the software doesn't run as a system service. If you're not logged on, the scheduled backups won't start. Although this isn't a big deal when you're backing up a workstation, it's a problem if a server is involved.

To be viable for a server, the Rev must be combined with more robust third-party backup software. If the software supports backups to optical media (CD/DVD) or to a hard disk, it should support the Rev drive. Iomega has qualified the Rev with Veritas' Backup Exec, Computer Associates' BrightStor ARCserve Backup and Dantz Development's Retrospect, among other products. In some cases, however, you may have to upgrade existing software to a version that supports the Rev.

Because the Rev drive uses random-access hard-disk technology instead of linear tape, both backups and restores are fast. With pricing for the drive and media comparable to that of similarly sized tape drives, Iomega's offering gives you something to consider when you're looking for a workstation or small-server backup.

Michael Brandenburg is a systems administrator for a machine manufacturer in Neehah, Wis. Write to him at [email protected].

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