Synapse2 RocketVault Mini 240 review

Price when reviewed

The value of offsite backup can’t be stressed enough, but smaller businesses often don’t have the manpower or time to implement this critical component of data protection. Managed services, such as those offered by DataFort, make it a simple task, but the RocketVault goes a step further by offering a complete local and remote backup facility in one package.

Synapse2 RocketVault Mini 240 review

The RocketVault provides a single 120GB ATA hard disk that isn’t upgradable – the ‘240’ model number refers to the fact that 2:1 compression is used. The appliance takes local backups from SME shares on the network and then two features are provided for offsite storage.

First, copies of selected files are maintained on the remote servers that are kept synchronised with the files at the user’s site. The second feature is an archival facility where encrypted copies of data are kept offsite for disaster recovery. Synapse2 advised us that it maintains remote mirrored sites in London and Warrington. In a disaster-recovery situation, it can deliver preconfigured RocketVaults with all customer data still encrypted ready to be restored.

The appliance must be installed on a network running full DHCP services, after which it can be accessed by a web browser for remote management. The interface is well designed and simple to use, although the smattering of sloppy spelling mistakes needs to be remedied. Groups are created first and these will contain your SME shares that you want backed up. Adding shares is simple, as all discovered workgroups are displayed and you can browse individual systems. A default username and password can be used for all shares, or you can enter specific account details for each one. Note that the review sample didn’t support Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and its digitally signed SME packets, so this needs either the security policy deactivated or a Registry hack applied at each server. However, we were advised that the next code release will support this.

Backup schedules are attached to share groups and these can be run daily, weekly and monthly at specified times. Once a master key has been supplied for encryption, you can also apply the same schedule to archive these shares to the remote site. The SyncDR feature runs to a separate schedule, so you can timetable synchronisation tasks at regular intervals or constantly for data mirroring. Remote backup performance will depend upon the size of your Internet pipe, but we found local backup to be reasonably fast, with 8.5GB of test data secured to the appliance at an average rate of 22.8Mb/sec over Fast Ethernet.

For data restoration you choose from any backup sources, view files and folders and restore them to their original locations, for which a search facility is provided. Intradyn’s BackAgain software also comes into the picture, as it can use the appliance to back up all data including the Registry and system state from servers with the agent component installed. However, any data on the appliance secured by BackAgain can be accessed only by this utility for restoration.

The RocketVault is a mixed bag of backup possibilities. Although the concepts are sound, the delivery could do with a little extra polish. Otherwise, the RocketVault is an interesting backup solution for small businesses. It can easily take the strain out of secure offsite storage.

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