Reviewed by: Howard
by: NovaStor(R) Corporation, go to the web site
NT Server or higher or Novell Server running NetWare,
Pentium CPU, 16MB RAM, minimum 20MB free disk space
NT - US$999 (full), US$299 (single server,
no clients); Pricing for the NetWare version
is almost identical
(Ed. Note: reviewed in 1999)
Backup version 7 is the latest among NovaStor's network server
and client backup software solution offerings. The family
of products starts with a low cost single Windows NT(R) or
Novell NetWare server license, and is scalable up to the
flagship NovaNet 7 Alliance - a comprehensive backup solution
for an unlimited number of servers and workstations in an
integrated Windows NT network or Novell Server (running NetWare)
7 works with your existing network. It offers full network
and job management, backup/restore of Windows
95/98 and NT registry, multilevel object based security,
automatic tape drive configuration, plug-in support for Microsoft
Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Open File Manager, Btrieve database
agent, reads ARCserve 4.x & 6.x tapes, supports multiple
Windows NT servers, an unlimited number of users/clients,
the ability to backup to any tape drive on the network, distributed
architecture which provides extremely fast backup speeds,
and library support.
We installed NovaNet 7 in a Windows NT 4.0 (SP3) server
environment (running connected Win95 and 98 clients). We
tried two different servers: a single CPU Pentium II 266MHz,
and a dual-CPU Pentium II 400MHz, each running 256MB RAM
and Adaptec 2940UW SCSI cards. Installation was flawless
on both machines and it should be noted that the autorun
InstallShield can be re-run at anytime to add options, remove
options or re-install/un-install NovaNet 7. The InstallShield
routine contains a small GUI which permits point and click
selections - very useful and extremely easy to understand.
There are only a few preliminary setup issues to deal with:
the name of the storage management zone you have to create,
selecting the machine which will act as the storage management
server, and which workstations or file servers will belong
to the zone.
Every network manager, IS/IT manager, and general operations
manager faces the same dilemma: how often should backups
be done, how can backup drive/device costs be justified,
how can media costs for multiple generations of backups be
justified, how can the cost of off-site backup storage be
justified, and if the worst happens, how well will the backups
work? It's definitely a problem. But if the boys at Data
Recovery Inc., are anything to go by, the costly losses incurred
through non-backed up hard drives which have 'packed it in'
far outweigh the cost of setting up a proper backup infrastructure.
According to the latest reports in IS/IT journals, hard drive
recovery costs and lost data costs resulting from a lack
of backups is costing upwards of $10 billion a year. It makes
sense too, when you figure in the expensive process of recreating
lost data, downtime, fouled up schedules and so on.
The rules are simple. Every piece of data you backup today,
is a piece of data you'll have available tomorrow. Every
piece of data you backup today and then store off-site, is
a piece of data you'll have tomorrow, a week from tomorrow
and a year from tomorrow - guaranteed. At anywhere from US$500-$1500
for extremely robust turnkey systems (NovaNet 7, a tape drive,
SCSI card and backup media), why take chances?
Running fast, server hard drives in an Ultra-Wide SCSI
environment, is a very fast way of accessing data. Doing
tape backups from such servers across a 100Mb network is
also relatively fast - but you've got to have the right software.
At the moment, NovaNet 7 appears to be one of the front-runners.
3 gigabytes in 30 minutes, uncompressed? 30,000 files?
With Verification turned on? Comparable restore speed? Not
bad. 10 gigabytes in 100 minutes, uncompressed? 110,000 files?
With Verification turned on? Comparable restore speed? Not
Over the course of two weeks of testing we used the comprehensive
scheduling features to setup ridiculously complex and well
as simple backup sessions. Background backup operation was
seamless. There are a variety of pre-defined schedules included
with NovaNet 7 which served as excellent templates for our
testing. NovaNet 7 also features extremely thorough and reliable
security options. User Permissions can be assigned through
one of the tabbed dialog sheets. Administrators can assign
permissions for access to folders, volumes, storage devices,
media and jobs.
Two features stood out for us because of some prevailing
conditions on the test network: job status information displays,
and distributed network device connections. The job status
data includes everything from throughput rates to the number
of errors and failed files. Distributed network device connections
control allows for concurrent backup, restore, and verify
jobs from almost any server or workstation.
Windows NT and Novell NetWare networks will benefit from
NovaNet 7. The software offers safety and security at a very
reasonable price. Add to that its versatility and speed,
and you've got yourself an ideal network backup solution
which can grow with your business. NovaNet 7 is highly recommended.
Cons: Some third party networking products that replace
the standard Wsock32.dll may cause conflicts with NovaNet.
Under Windows 95 using Microsoft NWLink IPX protocol driver,
communication errors can be caused by an excessive number
of dropped packets going in to the workstation. If you are
using the Windows 95 machine as a device server, NovaStor
recommends using either the Novell Client 32 or TCP/IP for
your communications protocol. The problem does not occur
under Windows NT. There is a little bit of cryptic language
used in the interface terminology. NovaStor and plenty of
other companies have got to hand over the job of interface
terminology to good writers, and take the responsibility
away from engineers and programmers.
Pros: We were eager to test NovaNet 7 with the new Tecmar
Travan NS20 tape drive, but it did not arrive in time for
this review. We'll bring the results to you in the drive
review. With excellent documentation, plug-in support for
Microsoft Exchange, SQL server, and open file backup, NovaNet
Backup 7 is a comprehensive backup solution for small, medium
and large enterprises. The Backup Wizard is a terrific tool
for relatively 'green' IS managers or small business technical
staff doubling as IS managers. The main software interface
with its tabbed dialogs sheets is uncluttered and very easy
to use. With a starting price of US$299 (single server, no
clients), NovaNet 7 is one of the best deals in robust, professional
backup software today.
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