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Backup and disaster recovery software

Gold: Signiant Mobilize for Remote Data Protection
Safeguarding remote data has long been a tough nut to crack for data center admins. Signiant Inc.'s Mobilize for Remote Data Protection (RDP) collects data from remote offices and deposits it at a central site where it can be protected.

RDP is based on Signiant's existing Mobilize technology, which has been OEM'd by Adaptec Inc., EMC Corp. and Pillar Data Systems. A Mobilize Agent runs on a server at each remote location with the entire configuration managed centrally on a Linux or Windows server. One key to RDP's flexibility is its support of a variety of OSes, and its interoperability with nearly any kind of NAS or SAN storage.

RDP collects remote data and, using data reduction and WAN optimization techniques, ships the new and changed information to the central site where it can be backed up, replicated or copied using standard data protection tools. What's backed up to the central site--and how often--is determined by user-defined policies.

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Signiant's Mobilize for Remote Data Protection effortlessly collects data from remote offices and deposits it at a central site where it can be properly protected.

RDP takes a two-pronged approach to relieving restore woes. First, it leaves the remote files where they are so they're available to remote users. And when a file does have to be restored from the central store, because it was stored in its native format, it's a simple drag-and-drop process using Windows tools.

Scalability is also a strong point. RDP's basic package can handle five to 30 remote locations, while an Enterprise Edition scales to as many as 2,000 remote sites.

Signiant says that in most cases existing bandwidth will suffice to ship data to the central data center. In-flight data is compressed and encrypted. Further security is provided through authentication and access controls, and VPN support.

Signiant Mobilize for RDP garnered the gold because it provides an effective, simple solution to a problem that plagues firms large and small. Our experts particularly like Mobilize for RDP's painless and nondisruptive implementation. One judge calls it "affordable business continuity with the benefit of content distribution."

Silver: UltraBac Software UBDR Gold Version 3.0
The challenge of getting your organization up and running in the face of a crippling outage is no small matter. UBDR Gold Version 3.0 from UltraBac Software can ease some of that pain. It works alongside your backup app for an additional level of protection--its Locked File Backup Agent ensures that even opened files are backed up.

UltraBac Software's UBDR Gold is focused on the critical job of bringing a downed server back to life quickly. It can back up images of Windows servers and then do a full bare-metal restore in short order.

While not a one-trick pony, UBDR Gold is focused on the critical job of bringing a downed server back to life quickly. It can back up images of Windows servers and do a full bare-metal restore in fewer than 15 minutes, claims the company. UBDR can restore to different gear and even systems with different processors, drives and disk controllers. In previous versions, physical server-to-virtual server restores were supported; Version 3.0 adds the ability to restore from virtual to virtual servers. UBDR works with VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.

UBDR Gold can integrate with UltraBac's backup software and IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Storage Manager. Selling for $995 per server, Version 3.0 is priced comparable to similar products that may offer fewer restore options. Our judges were impressed with its innovative approach to bare-metal backup and restore. "Excellent DR capabilities," notes one judge, who particularly liked its ability to "restore to dissimilar hardware."

Bronze: Symantec Backup Exec 11d
Given its pedigree and longevity, it's not surprising how fully featured Symantec Corp.'s Backup Exec is, and the long list of enhancements to the latest version continues to expand the product's functionality.

Backup Exec provides updated encryption features that let administrators select only the data that needs to be encrypted.

The latest edition has CDP agents for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server; users can recover specific mailboxes or messages using the Exchange Server agent. Symantec says the CDP capabilities can eliminate traditional daily backups for these apps.

Backup Exec has become more app-aware with enhanced agents for a range of popular apps. Updated encryption features let admins select only the data that needs to be encrypted. A new reporting engine lets backup managers create custom reports for individual or groups of backup servers. Backup Exec can now compare its medal with the one its sibling app, NetBackup, won in 2002.

This was first published in February 2007

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