Drive Protection Without Backups
System Guardian provides real-time data security.
System Guardian backs up your drives, partitions or volumes to a second
drive for the purposes of disaster recovery—and it does a great job. You
can restore individual files from the copied drive, referred to as the DPSR
(Data Protection/System Recovery) drive. The drive you’re protecting is
referred to as the Source drive. Of course, the DPSR drive must be at least
as large as the Source drive.
This program worked extremely well, and the slim manual is a model of
clarity and conciseness. Technical support was also superb. I had some
problems because of an old BIOS that required translation software to
use large drives. Because it’s difficult to purchase IDE drives below
20GB, and older BIOSs require tranlation software for large drives, note
that you can’t use translation software on the DPSR drive.
For my test, I used an SCSI drive as the DPSR drive, which required a
fair amount of reconfiguration. I was able to recover deleted files from
the DPSR drive. With an up-to-date configuration, though, System Guardian’s
real strength came through. When I unplugged the Source drive from my
computer, I was able to boot back to DOS and my Windows 2000 server directly
from the DPSR drive, recovering all the contents of the protected partitions.
XC/2000 runs on Win2K or XP. One key advantage of XC/2000 is that you
may continue to use the computer as you would normally—the updates to
the DPSR are done transparently. You can’t back up the second drive to
tape; instead you may swap the DPSR drive to a second computer, boot the
DPSR drive, then back up that drive to tape. With the DuoCor-recommended
mobile racks for all drives, this becomes easy.
The configuration wizard runs automatically after installation, or you
can use it later to revise your configuration by selecting Source drives
| DPSR drives | volume(s) to back up. The schedule wizard lets you choose
back up interval, time and date to start, as well as an account to manage
the scheduler service. The XC/2000 interface resembles Windows Explorer.
Files on the DPSR drive have hearts next to them; various other icons
next to the file names indicate upon which drive the file exists or if
the files are of a different size or time stamp. Items on the Tool menu
let you choose what kind of back up or restore you wish—fast, full volume
and so on.
|To the left, the hearts show the DPSR protected volumes;
the middle, hidden pane is the configuration wizard; and the top pane
is the scheduler. (Click image to view larger version.)
Because of the way XC/2000 works, the manual lists certain obvious logical
consequences as warnings. For example, files that are only on the Source
drive are removed when restoring volumes, while files that are only on
the DPSR drive are removed when backing up volumes.
Other competitors include some of System Guardian’s functionality, but
none (to my knowledge) is designed to be used as real-time backup. PowerQuest’s
Drive Image 5.0 doesn’t allow you to update individual file (delete or
addition) unless you re-create the image, unlike System Guardian, which
sends only changes to the DPSR drive. Further, DriveImage doesn’t transfer
Write Only changes to the copied image, though the included DataKeeper
functionality comes close if you’re willing to select specific files or
volumes. For this functionality of real-time back up, with scheduled updates,
System Guardian XC/2000 works extremely well.
Douglas Mechaber, MCSE, MCNE, CCDA, is a network consultant and dive instructor and is always on the lookout for utilities that make his life easier, or panulirus interruptus, the California spiny lobster.