First, a disclaimer: I'm a reseller of MicroliteBackupEDGE backup, restore and recovery software for Unix and Linux.. I sell the Linux or SCO Unix version for $325.00.
With that out of the way, we can concentrate on features. The first thing to deal with is the automatic reaction from most Linux folk: why would you pay for backup software when everything you need is available for free?
The answer is simple enough: it's not easy to put together a backup and recovery package as complete as BackupEDGE. You can do it, but it will almost certainly cost you more in time and trouble than what BackupEDGE costs to buy.
If you are unfortunate enough to still be running SCO Unix, I consider BackupEDGE mandatory.
So what does this do? It archives files to any media you can imagine: tape, DVD, DVD-RAM, CD, REV drives, libraries, autochangers, disk to disk, flash media cards, NAS servers, FTP servers and even Amazon S3. No matter what the destination of the archive, you use the same commands (or menus, if you use the "edgemenu" interface). Microlite calls this Transparent MediaTM Microlite.
With this, an "edge tvf Tape0" is no different than an "edge tvf Url0" - the first will list from a tape archive, the second from an FTP server defined as Url0.
When you install BackupEDGE, it can scan your system and automatically create Resources for everything it finds. That's any SCSI, ATAPI or USB tape drives, REV changers, libraries, and autoloaders. Obviously it won't know about network resources, but it will prompt you to define such manually.
BackupEDGE is super intelligent about media. It understands things like fast seek on tape and can be told to use passive ftp and even restartable ftp if necessary because of poor network connections.
BackupEDGE understands sparse files - you don't waste space on the archive and the restore will restore as a sparse file. It optionally compresses data - each individual file, not the backup stream. You can (extra cost license) encrypt the backups (see my review of BackupEDGE 2.1 for details on encryption). All backups can be verified on a byte by byte basis (you can exclude individual files from verification if necessary).
But probably the most important feature is bare metal recovery. If you make bootable recovery media (floppy, CD, DVD, OBDR tape) BackupEDGE can recreate and restore your entire system to a bare drive at the touch of a key. It's even possible to do this with no media: BackupEDGE supports PXE network booting on on Linux 2.4 and 2.6 kernels, SCO UnixWare 7.1.4, and SCO OpenServer 6.
There are limitations. Linux systems using software RAID and legacy Logical Volume Manager (LVM) solutions are not supported for disaster recovery (LVM2 is supported). See Microlite's User Guide for more details and caveats. For supported systems, this one step recovery is simply fantastic. You can lose everything and be back up and running as quickly as your archive can stream the data! You don't have to reinstall the operating system; BackupEDGE does all that as part of its restore. It creates the file systems exactly as they were, mounts them and then puts the data back.
Tony Lawrence Microlite BackupEDGE review 2009-05-20 Rating:
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence
Every piece of software written today is likely going to infringe on someone else's patent. (Miguel de Icaza)