As you can see, the GoVault (or at least the 40GB version) is no speed demon and it lagged well behind some other drives we’ve tested. However, this is still considerably faster than any tape system would be.
If you want to take advantage of the GoVault’s more advanced features, including the backup utility, you must install the included Data Protection software. This neat software enables you to specify multiple backups, or Protection Plans as Quantum would have us call them, as well as manage cartridges and view a calendar of your backups.
Backup options include backing up everything, just your documents, or whatever individual items you choose. They can then be scheduled to run daily, weekly, monthly, at system startup, or pretty much whenever you like. There are also options that take into account power management settings or only start the backup when the computer has been idle for a certain amount of time and you can even assign certain backups to only run on specific cartridges. In short, this software had everything we could conceive a person needing for managing a comprehensive backup schedule.
One of the key benefits of the GoVault cartridge based system is that backups can be stored incrementally on the same cartridge. So, after the first backup, only data that has changed will be stored on the next run. This means you can change the cartridge on a Sunday, say, and run the initial full backup while everyone is out the office (assuming their PCs are on) then throughout the rest of the week you just run incremental backups on the same cartridge. Ok, this probably isn’t the most secure backup policy but it’s better than nothing and it’s far more convenient than changing tapes everyday.
We tested this by creating a Protection Plan that contained our transfer test files then ran the backup. The first run took approximately nine minutes to backup the 1.55GB of data. Leaving the files unchanged, we then ran the backup again and this time the process took less than ten seconds. I think it’s fair to say the results speak for themselves.
The price listed at the top of this review is for the external GoVault caddy with one 40GB cartridge, which considering you can get 300GB external hard drives for around £100, seems very expensive. Indeed, additional 40GB cartridges are around £55 and the range topping 160GB cartridges cost a whopping £175. So, there’s no doubting the level of usability and protection that GoVault provides comes at a high price. However, when you consider equivalent tape storage solutions demand similarly high prices yet can’t claim the same ease of use, you realise that it’s not so expensive after all.
The Quantum GoVault Data Protector system is an incredibly easy to use and convenient alternative to more traditional tape based backup solutions, which makes it just perfect for the smaller business or individual. Add to that the fact both the caddy and cartridges are tough enough to survive the daily rigours of working in even the busiest of IT departments and you have a pretty compelling solution. The only worrying factor is cost, as these don’t come cheap, but in comparison to the huge potential financial and emotional costs that can come from data loss, £200 is a small price to pay.