ROBObak Delivers Online Backups for Remote Offices
July 10, 2007 Alex Woodie
So headquarters has a screaming new LTO 4 tape library that backs up all your System i boxes, Windows servers, and Unix machines? That’s wonderful, but what about the remote offices, warehouses, and factories? What are you doing to protect critical data at those locations? Probably not much says Ron Roberts, chief executive of remote office/branch office (ROBO) software specialists ROBOdrs. The company hopes to change that with ROBObak, a relatively new multiplatform backup and recovery product that works across the wire.
ROBOdrs has been developing utilities for the ROBO sector of the marketplace since it was founded in 2003. With the previous launches of two products, including a file management tool and an encryption tool, under its belt, the Sarasota, Florida, company is now gearing up to tackle bigger fish, Roberts says. “We’re coming out of stealth mode and going into publicly mode. We’re announcing ourselves to the world,” he says.
Roberts, who previously was a reseller of IBM Tivoli tools, says the big systems management tool vendors aren’t adequately addressing the needs of remote offices. “The companies that have three-letter acronyms for names, they’re backing up and protecting the data centers, but they don’t have a good solution for the ROBOs,” he says. “Remote and branch offices–they’re not backing up at all.”
This lack of attention puts organizations with remote sites, particularly those located in the world’s danger zones, at risk of losing critical data. “If I was a company that had 50 locations around the country or the world, right now all that data is at risk the way they’re backing up,” he says. “The point is if it’s backed up to tape and tape is on site, then they’re in a world of hurt [if a disaster strikes]. If they get it offsite, they’ve usually lost a day or two of data, but they’re still in a world of hurt.”
Not so with ROBObak, Roberts says. Because the software backs up remote servers to a central server over a wide area network (WAN), the data is protected from disasters at the remote site. Users would still need to procure new servers in the event of a disaster and perform a restore, but the important thing is a very recent copy of the data has been downloaded for safekeeping.
ROBObak runs on a Windows Server-based server and can back up practically any computer, including i5/OS, Unix, Linux, mainframe, VMS, and NetWare servers, and Windows servers and client machines, the company says. Most ROBObak users run a variety of computer systems, and the product handles them all. ROBObak makes no distinction between EBCDIC and ASCI data formats, according to Roberts.
Once the libraries, folders, or drives to be backed up have been identified and a backup routine has been configured, ROBObak will automatically back up the remote servers on a scheduled basis. Restores can be completed one at a time or performed concurrently.
In addition to performing backups, ROBObak compresses and encrypts the data being sent over the wire to a central ROBObak server, providing more efficient use of network capacity and ensuring the security of the data. The product also features de-duplication capabilities to ensure only new data or data that has been changed is backed up for all backups following the first one.
On i5/OS, Unix, and Linux hosts, ROBObak uses FTP, FTPS, and SFTP protocols to move the data between the remote server and the central ROBObak server. For Windows clients and servers, the software connects to them using Windows built-in networking capabilities, Roberts says.
ROBObak does not require agents to be installed on the computer being backed up. This gives it the advantage of being easier to install and configure than its agent-based competitors, Roberts says. “Just turn it on, and connect,” he says. “You put in your IP address, enter your user name and password, and you’re connected. Nothing gets put on the target.”
Several organizations use ROBObak to back up their remote iSeries and System i servers, Roberts says, with more System i customers expected in the future. “The nice thing here is it really creates an opportunity for those clients using the iSeries to have an alternative enterprise-type backup solution, where they’re in control of their backups,” he says.
Many organizations elect to keep two copies of their backups–one on site for those common restore requests for lost or accidentally deleted files, and one stored remotely for protection against disasters.
Pricing for ROBObak is determined by the amount of data backed up, with each terabyte costing $10,000. For more information, visit www.robobak.com.