Yosemite Backup 8.1 review

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We had a surprise when we installed Yosemite Backup 8.1. The advance publicity had led us to expect a new release of TapeWare, albeit with a new name. TapeWare 7 was released in 2003 and was due for an update. What we saw was strangely familiar, but not TapeWare. In fact, it bore more than a passing resemblance to HP’s Data Protector Express. Intrigued, we approached Yosemite about this, and were told that Yosemite Backup has been the company’s product for some time, but it’s been developing and providing it on an OEM basis to a number of other companies, including Dell, Tandberg, Novastore and HP, which rebranded it as Data Protector Express. When we asked about TapeWare 7, Yosemite explained that development work on it was discontinued at the end of 2006, as it was to be replaced by Yosemite Backup, which the company is now releasing under its own name as well as via OEMs.

Yosemite Backup 8.1 review

At this point, existing TapeWare users might be a little concerned at the loss of their software, but their fears are unfounded. Yosemite will continue to support TapeWare 7 until the end of 2007. Some features such as zones have been imported from TapeWare, and the fact that Yosemite Backup has been chosen and used by such heavyweight suppliers is an indication of its quality, while its widespread user base means any problems will be identified and remedied quickly. But the major concern will be compatibility. Changing backup software can sometimes lead to disaster when the new product can’t read archives produced by the earlier system. Yosemite assured us that tapes produced by TapeWare are compatible and can be read by Backup 8.1.

Backup 8.1 offers a number of advantages over TapeWare 7 too, with valuable new features that will be appreciated by current TapeWare users. They can now enjoy the option to back up to disk, using up to 8TB of storage. They can also now add Linux servers to their networks, and take advantage of the support for Storage Area Network (SAN) devices, allowing the system to share libraries and tape drives among backup servers. Yosemite has also made a number of improvements to enhance performance in the shape of the Self Tuning Logic (STL) feature. This attempts to optimise backup operations by taking account of factors such as the number of available backup devices and the number of source drives involved, without taxing the user with complex schedules.

We tested Backup 8.1 by loading it onto a Supermicro dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 server running Windows Server 2003 R2. We attached HP LTO-2 and LTO-3 tape drives and obtained reported average speeds of 31MB/sec and 68MB/sec for the two drives respectively. These results are particularly good and compare well with the PC Pro Recommended Symantec Backup Exec 11d. This returned similar 30MB/sec and 72MB/sec backup speeds when using the same server platform, test data and tape drives.

Yosemite Backup 8.1 is a solid backup solution with a wide range of supported systems. It offers an upgrade path for existing TapeWare users that should be painless, and will also give them access to many more systems and features than before, without compromising their existing archives and storage devices.

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