Choosing backup software

Q I'm responsible for a Linux server and 30 workstations, running Windows 2000 and numerous software packages. I need a backup system that can handle the Linux filesystem and, where appropriate, be able to back up a Windows 2000 client. I was advised to use either Arkeia or BrightStor Arcserve Backup and I'm trying to find out which one of these two is more appropriate for my network for best backup results. It would be much appreciated if you based your recommendation on the pros and cons of the packages mentioned above, or do you think there's another software application that would help me more?

A Most of the applications that will do what you're looking for out of the box are only available commercially. However, Arkeia and BrightStor both seem to be very good products, with all the bells and whistles you would expect in an enterprise backup suite. You can download a free 30-day trial version of Arkeia from the company's website. You even get 30 days of free installation support and I recommend taking advantage of this. That way, if you can't get it working for whatever reason, you don't pay. Its user interface can be slightly non-intuitive, but it's very powerful. Arkeia are a very Linux-friendly company and it's worth supporting its product if they're right for you. Computer Associates' BrightStor ARCServer suite is also excellent. It runs from a web GUI that's very intuitive. BrightStor is probably easier to use than Arkeia, and it has the huge corporate backing of CA.

Another popular feature is the fact that its media is compatible between Linux and Windows versions. The potential to build your own solution exists too. The problem comes with accessing files on the Windows systems. Built-in commands like tar and dump can access mounted Samba filesystems, but you'll have problems with system states and open files. Depending on your scenario, this may not be a realistic option for you. In the enterprise backup industry, I'd have to say that commercial software is the only realistic option.

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