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Intel’s Client Backup and Recovery utility offers a simple interface where you pick the partitions to protect, choose the NAS appliance and set a daily schedule. There are a few provisos that you need to be aware of though. The software only allows four consecutive copies to be maintained on the appliance so you can only go back four days to restore files if you do daily backups and one month is you opt for weekly backups. Note also that dynamic disks are not supported and if you choose an entire disk to be protected then you must restore the entire disk as individual partitions cannot be accessed. If you want to protect specific partitions then you must run the protection wizard for each one.
Recovering files and folders is easy enough as you select the backup you want to use and the software uses the Microsoft iSCSI initiator to log on to the appliance causing the backup to appear as a local drive with a new drive letter. It can then be accessed from Windows Explorer for simple drag and drop restorations. Non-system drives and partitions can be restored directly from the same interface as well.
The iSCSI angle also comes into play when you want to restore a system disk or partition. The patient is booted using the supplied CD which loads Falconstor’s recovery environment and iSCSI initiator. Armed with the name of client and server plus the recovery password you can then pick a backup and restore the system partition or drive. Performance will depend on the network infrastructure and we secured an 8GB system partition to the appliance over Gigabit Ethernet in only 12.5 minutes. Recovering a 13GB system partition using the boot disk over Fast Ethernet took a shade over 35 minutes.
The RAIDMate NAS offers a high storage capacity for the price although general network file sharing features aren’t overly exciting. If you want indestructible build quality and masses of storage features then the ReadyNAS NV is the one to go for but the unique iSCSI capabilities of this appliance make it well worth considering if file and disk restoration is a higher priority