Backup made easy for mixed networks

Fiberpipe, Inc. saves themselves the daily hassle of personally running backups by using Legato System's NetWorker. Once they're scheduled in the system, backups can run unattended every day or even twice a day. Legato also recently announced the availability of version 6.1 of NetWorker.

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No excuses. As an Internet Service Provider, Boise, ID-based Fiberpipe, Inc. does not have one good reason for ever losing the data of its over 8,000 customers. At least, that's the way Fiberpipe systems engineer Gary Lindstrom feels.

So, a foolproof plan was in order in February when Lindstrom realized his disk-to-disk storage was at capacity. He knew he'd need more capacity, but he also wanted to give customers a way to backup and recover information themselves -- especially their own accidentally deleted files. "We didn't want to get involved in every little file request," he said. Lastly, and above all, he had to ensure that customers' data remained intact 100% of the time.

Lindstrom first evaluated Workstation Solutions' Quick Restore and VERITAS' NetBackup. He nixed them, because they didn't allow customers to backup or restore their own data. Next, he tried Mountain View, CA-based Legato Systems' NetWorker backup product. NetWorker won his approval, because it allows owners of data to backup or restore files and have regularly scheduled backups performed by Fiberpipe and NetWorker.

The fact that NetWorker can be run on any platform and can backup any type of client was a big selling point for Lindstrom. NetWorker's interoperability eliminates the labor and expense of finding different backup procedures for his 40 Windows and Linux servers.

George Symons, Legato vice president of product management and development, offers an example of NetWorker's interoperability at work. Let's say that a Windows server has gone down, and the IT manager needs to restore data previously backed up on that server using NetWorker. The manager can just take a tape containing the previously backed up data and restore it on a Linux or Unix server running NetWorker.

NetWorker acts as an insurance policy for data, according to Bob Zimmerman, Director of Storage at Cambridge, MA-based Giga Information Group. NetWorker is a "backup archive scheme," which makes data always available, he said.

Too many businesses wait for disaster to strike before they invest in backup products. That's a mistake, said Zimmerman. "The day you lose a customer's master file and don't have a tool to bring it back," you'll probably shell out more than the initial purchase cost.

Lindstrom runs version 6.01 of NetWorker on a Linux server, and uses it to backup Windows 2000 servers, a SQL server and an Exchange server. He is satisfied running version 6.01, but said he does like to stay current and will upgrade as time allows.

The latest version, NetWorker 6.1, which was recently released, offers greater availability than the previous version because it can be incorporated with Legato's Automated Availability Manager, according to Symons. If the NetWorker server fails, then it is automatically brought up on another standby server. Another new feature is dynamic drive sharing, which allows customers to share large tape libraries.

With NetWorker in house, Lindstrom doesn't worry about data loss. Even better, he doesn't have to come up with any excuses.

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