Product Reviews

Administrators, Start Your Backup Engines...: Ultrabac 6.3

The latest in backup software handles the complexity of Windows 2000.

UltraBac has several unique abilities. The extra cost UltraCopy option can make up to 31 separate copies of tape or disk, can change while copying from tape to disk or vice versa, or even change to different tape media. UB also has available a locked file manager agent to back up exclusively opened files such as a WINS database or mailbox files. UB can check tape status before a scheduled job and send notification of wrong tape or no tape to an administrator. UB claims to eliminate most “shoeshining,” which is when a tape drive shuttles back and forth repeatedly to search for a file, via its Express Index, stored on disk. Both the compression and the speed of UB were the best of any product I tested: My overall backup speed was 17.3 MB/minute. I was also able to execute foreground programs with little delay.

UltraBac includes the ability to back up to disk anywhere on the network, thus simplifying upgrades or moves. Optional “flashing” technology—storing an image to media, then restoring to disk—lets UB clone servers and workstations. Also new to this UB release is Windows XP support and network disaster recovery from a single floppy. OS partitions may be recovered from any network share with the DOS floppy, and complete disk recovery can be done locally. As with the other products, UB supports clustering, remote backups, tape arrays, some Linux versions, and messaging and database agents.

UB’s main drawback is that some of the user interface options are nonintuitive. To create a job of all drives, you create and save a set containing all disks to the computer name. You may select the type of backup job from an optional wizard-like screen, then load the set. You’re prompted to select the drive from the set. This is confusing because you can’t select all drives in the “Select a Drive to View” screen, yet that’s what you selected for the new backup job. The backup of an entire server may be more clearly understood by choosing each volume to be one job and then scheduling all volumes.

To schedule an immediate job with UltraBac, double-click on the saved set, uncheck the enable box and select a day. This is not intuitively obvious. (Click image to view larger version.)

UltraBac can backup and restore some system state information, as well as junction points. System state may only be restored locally, though the registry can be backed up remotely. The explanation of the system state, and what components are included, is lucid and helped by a chart showing what components are part of which OS setup. Read this section carefully before doing system state/AD restores and ignore the typos mixing up authoritative vs. non-authoritative restores.

About the Author

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.


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