Backup Exec 9.0 $795 Veritas Software www.veritas.com
If God had wanted backing up critical servers to be easy, well . . . OK, he clearly doesn't. Nonetheless, Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 can make backing up and restoring data as painless as possible without offending your higher power's grand, eternal plan.
Backup Exec is data backup and restoration software for Windows server operating systems. It works with WinNT 4.0, Win2000, and all versions of Server 2003. (A version for NetWare is also available.) The program is optimized for backing up live databases, including SQL servers, Exchange servers, Oracle, Lotus, and other mission-critical data.
The program does an admirable job of walking you through the complicated process of configuring backups. For instance, a Startup Wizard configures storage devices and media-management settings. Media Rotation and Restore Wizards guide you through other essential steps. An Auto Discovery feature, new in this version, scans the network for resources that aren't scheduled for backup-useful if another department adds a file server without telling you.
Backup Exec uses the same tape data format as Windows' own backup utility, allowing for data exchange with old tapes. (In fact, the company's backup applet is the backbone of Windows' built-in backup system.) Backup Exec protects you from using the wrong media or overwriting a previous backup before it's time to rotate it out. A test run function lets you check for problems that could otherwise cause a scheduled backup to fail. When the backup is done, the program can notify you by email or pager.
The basic program is $795, which covers a server and any associated workstations backed up onto standalone tape drives or entry-level tape autoloaders. Additional client access licenses (such as remote agents for Windows and NetWare servers), support for backing up live databases, and support for storage area networks and robotic tape libraries cost extra.
Backup Exec is a powerful but complex tool that can keep your server's data safe from crackers, disasters, and other acts of God.
Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.