All-in-one backup for SMBs
Breece Hill BizGuardian bridges tape and disk-based data protectionFollow @infoworld
Choosing a proper backup solution can be a challenging task for a small business that may lack the time and skill to implement a winning mix of backup application, tape device, and intermediate disk layer. If ever there were a niche that cried out for an appliance-based solution, this is it.
Enter longtime tape library vendor Breece Hill and its BizGuardian, a self-contained appliance that combines tape drives, disk space, and a backup application under the easy management tools of Windows Server 2003.
[ BreeceHill BizGuardian was selected for an InfoWorld Technology of the Year award. See the slideshow to view all the winners in the storage category. ]
I have reviewed more backup solutions than I care to remember, but BizGuardian is the only one that made me feel as if I was in control of my backups, because it removes that divide between backup application and hardware that you’ll find in just about any unintegrated approach.
In just 4U the BizGuardian packs eight SATA drives, an LTO3 (Linear Tape-Open) tape drive, and room for eight cartridges, plus all the connections and devices that you would expect from an application server. To make optimal use of the space, those components are arranged in a somewhat unusual but practical layout.
On the front of the appliance, a large door gives access to the robotics and all the slots; you can feed a single cartridge via an adjacent mail slot. Also mounted on the door are an LCD screen, four comfortably large buttons to navigate the control panel, the recessed power on and reset switches, and a string of diagnostic LEDs.
The back of the unit contains eight 250GB removable disk drives, a combo DVD/CD recorder, three power supplies for redundancy, and all the usual connections you would expect in a server, including human interface devices, Gigabit Ethernet, and Ethernet ports.
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My test unit came with Windows Server 2003 and EMC Retrospect 7.5 backup software preinstalled, and enough license keys to activate most of Retrospect’s features. After connecting the appliance to my network I was ready to go.
The perfect backup mate
Out of the box, BizGuardian supports as many as five clients with open file backup and disaster recovery. To unleash support for unlimited clients, or to make use of SQL Server and Exchange agents, you may need additional Retrospect licenses.
My first step was to install a Retrospect client on each of my application servers. The client is in essence an agent that will send backup data to BizGuardian over the network.