HP currently has a deal with Symantec where the latter is offering a discount on its Backup Exec software to DAT 72 USB owners – for details click here. It does add to the expense but looks a good alternative to TapeWare as backup and verification tasks using the same test data returned a much faster 193MB/min and 196MB/min respectively. Data restoration speeds were also good with the test data returned to its original location at an average rate of 195MB/min.
We also brought in EMC’s Dantz Retrospect to check for compatibility and found it had no problems recognising the drive. It too returned better performance than TapeWare with backup and verification tasks delivering average speeds of 189MB/min and 194MB/ min respectively while a full restore saw an average of 193MB/min. We tested the OBDR feature by creating a full backup of the server using TapeWare. With the tape already inserted you need to power the drive on with the eject button held down and once the Tape and Clean LEDs start to flash you can power the server on. Our test server booted without any problems from the tape drive and presented a simple menu for recovering a boot disk or restoring the entire system.
We did encounter a minor problem though - if a tape is inserted after Backup Exec starts its Windows services it won’t be spotted. The only way around this at the moment is to stop and restart the services. The versatility of the USB port is actually a problem here as moving the drive to a different port would cause Windows to detect it as second drive. To avoid this HP has specified to software vendors that the drive should be detected via its serial number so multiple entries don’t occur. This is an issue that HP is aware of and is working to resolve it. It’s also planning on bundling the drive with its own Data Protector Express software which it says will have improved detection capabilities.
The USB DAT 72 looks a better bet for small business backup than its SCSI counterpart. It delivers similar performance and costs around the same but doesn’t incur the extra expense of a SCSI host adapter. The bundled TapeWare software isn’t our favourite but it does provide valuable disaster recovery features.