Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Jun 18 2010   6:22AM GMT

Pains and innovations with data backup software

Kevin Beaver Kevin Beaver Profile: Kevin Beaver

If you’re like me, you’ve yelled, cussed, and screamed over frustrations brought on by backup software. Let me share my experiences.

First off, I remember, back in the late 80s/early 90s, using a Colorado drive (remember those?!) with DOS-based software that just worked. Besides the occasional hardware burp, I knew I could set my 250MB system to backup overnight and by dawn it’d likely be finished.

Flash forward a few years to the mid to late 1990s and what did we have? More complexity. Sure, products like Arcserve and BackupExec had lots of features, but they also had tons of complexity. I just needed to run backups but couldn’t figure how to half the time without all the bells and whistles getting in the way. Perhaps I should’ve taken a class. On top of that, the software was extremely unstable and unreliable. Growing pains in that era I suppose. I miss the simplicity of networks, OSs, and so on from those days but certainly don’t miss all the headaches backup software brought on.

Flash forward to today: I don’t hear about such problems. Have the vendors finally gotten it? I’ve sort of witnessed this starting 6 or 8 years ago with the cool new disk imaging software company called Acronis that had a product called TrueImage. Acronis not only brought innovation to the table (being able to image a drive while the OS was running), but they helped me realize that backups can indeed be simple again. I thought Acronis TrueImage picked up where Ghost and Drive Image left off and they’ve continually innovated to the point where backups just work. No fuss, no muss, just good old reliable backups.

According to the recent SearchStorage.com quality awards, Acronis is holding its own against the big guys now, which is pretty impressive. It shows how a small company willing to innovate can take on the establishment. I love free enterprise! Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m no spokesperson. However, when I find software that works well I’m going to sing its praises and tell others about it.

Speaking of innovation, check out this graphical depiction of the history of computer storage. Very cool stuff that makes you realize how far we’ve come.

Kevin Beaver is an independent information security consultant, keynote speaker, and expert witness with Principle Logic, LLC and a contributor to the IT Watch Blog.

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  • Bonniet
    I agree with your article and if Acronis Products actually worked, I would be a very happy camper. We have been trying to get Acronis backups to work for over a year and they don't perform as represented. The helpdesk is outsourced overseas and has not been very helpful. In January, we had a hardware failure of our email server. We had difficulty restoring the backup. We called their helpdesk and the first tier tried to help for 2 hours. Then they said they would escalate the call to the next level and mark it urgent. We had no email server! THREE WEEKS LATER we finally got a callback from Tier 2. We solved the problem ourselves without their help. Their exchange backup is supposed to be able to restore individual email and individual contact items. I have had a help ticket in on this since January. It will only restore 3 of my 4000 records. In June, they asked me to install the latest build and try again. It still does not work. Since I reported back that it still does not work, I have heard nothing from them. If their products actually did what they claim to do, I would love them, but I have had nothing but problems.
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