Archive for September, 2006

Backing Up The Macintosh: Retrospect 6 vs. BRU Server

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Retrospect is the most historically respected backup package for Macs. After a lot of issues with the switch to OS X, Version 6 is a stable rendition of what Version 4.3 was for OS 9. The tried and true Retrospect interface is still used (just a little more soft around the edges). Retrospect 6 Server edition is capable of backing up server and client computers over the network and has increased backup performance dramatically. Tape loaders and libraries support has increased and barcode labeling of tapes is now supported. Retrospect 6 has also improved in the area of removable disc support, namely with CD and DVD burners.

The functionality of Retrospect hasn’t increased drastically over previous versions. The core features are still the ability to backup, duplicate and restore immediately or on timed schedules. Backup servers, processes that scan for network clients who are not always present, have become a little more functional and stable. Reporting features remain consistent with previous versions, but now they are stable.

Tolis Group is respected in the Unix and Linux communities. When Tolis Group released BRU Server for OS X the Mac community was finally given something to compare with Retrospect.

Installing BRU is a little more complicated than Retrospect. With both Retrospect and BRU, just run the installer and restart. Then, install the Retrospect or BRU client on all systems to be backed up. For Retrospect installations, you are now complete. For BRU Server, if you want to use BRU Server to backup the system it’s installed on, then you will have to install the BRU client on both the server and the client.

Unlike Retrospect, BRU can be administered through the BRU Console from any system on the network using the proper credentials. BRU Server also maintains more comprehensive logging than Retrospect. BRU Server also allows for more flexibility with defining exactly what gets backed up on each disk by not using the archaic sub-volume method employed by Retrospect.

A key aspect of BRU is the ability to intelligently restore client system resources as quickly as possible. For Example, Disk Staging is the ability to use a disk drive as a temporary backup device until you feel there’s a time slot available for performing a much slower backup to tape. Another feature is that BRU does not need to verify backups using the file system. This allows verification to run 50% faster than Retrospect.

Retrospect still is a full-scale, very complete backup solution for the Mac. BRU Server is not easy to use, but the tradeoff to mastering it includes features like disk staging, verbose logging and a reduced client-side resource burden. BRU Server is a more complete backup solution for larger environments.

Dual WANs for Your Office

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Often, a single internet connection is all that is needed to allow a group of computers to access the internet for websites, email and chatting. DSL, Cable Modem or a single T1 can often provide enough bandwidth for a small group of users.

As your company grows, there can come a point where the speed of the internet connection becomes a bottleneck, increasing the time for web pages to load and for emails to be sent and received. After you hit the limits of what a single connection is able to provide, one very cost effective way to address the issue is to add a second connection.

Adding a second internet connection to your network is also highly recommended if your business relies heavily on the internet. In the event of a downed internet connection, the outage could cost companies thousands of dollars in lost productivity and client interaction. By utilizing a second internet connection from an alternate provider, businesses can ensure a higher level of availability and uptime.

The equipment can be set up in one of two ways. When setup in a failover configuration, the second internet connection is used only when the primary fails. In typical configurations, the fast data connection such as a T1 is supplemented by the slower connection, such as DSL, to bear the burden of connectivity in the event of an outage.

When setup with load balancing, both internet connections are used simultaneously, with the traffic load being split and routed to the more ‘available’ connection. In this configuration, both data circuits should be sufficiently fast to allow the load to be effectively shared between both circuits, typically T1’s.

318 is an expert in setting up and integrating Dual-WAN networks. It can be as simple as using a DSL line and a cable modem, or as robust as using two T1s from two different providers. Or even an mix of a T1 and WiMax link. If you think this is a situation that would suit your business, give 318 a call to discuss your options.