Product Reviews

Administrators, Start Your Backup Engines...: Legato Networker 6.1

The latest in backup software handles the complexity of Windows 2000.

The newest release of Legato Networker (I looked at a release candidate build) easily backs up the Win2K system state. Restoring the system state is a more complex matter, and appendix B of the Administrator Manual describes a detailed procedure. Networker backs up disk quotas, but doesn’t traverse junction or mount points, so the target needs to be backed up separately. Win2K encrypted file keys aren’t backed up, so you must maintain an alternate copy of each key.

Networker uses a thoroughly distributed architecture, with client nodes that can be backed up and control local backups and restores, storage nodes that control additional SCSI devices, and a server node that manages licensing and overall operations. Non-intuitively, you set up a backup job by filling out fields in Manage Groups and Manage Clients screen. Two kinds of backup jobs may be submitted: a User job, not considered complete, and an Administrator job. You can set many options for a backup job, including compression, priority (some jobs will be processed before others), parallelism (how many streams may go to the server at the same time), and remote access (granting the ability to restore). Another menu choice supports Change Journal, which logs file system changes in NTFS 5.0. Networker can use the log to recognize file changes rather than traversing the name space.

Given its mainframe heritage, Networker has some features (and complexity) not found in the other products reviewed. It doesn’t support Microsoft’s RSM for storage libraries, but does include support for storage silos. Open File Connection (OFC) is Legato’s open file manager, and works with NT 4.0, SP6a or later. For earlier Networker client versions, Legato recommends St. Bernard Software’s Open File Manager. There is a disaster recovery option available at extra cost. Networker includes the ability to clone tapes, create a work list (if some items aren’t backed up because of server failure, you may restart from where you left off), add customized directives (e.g. skip spool or swap files), and manage multiple resources on the same target by creating different groups and pools so that each item is backed up to a different tape or at a different time.

Legato Networker
The Networker Administrator offers a central point for managing backups and restores across your enterprise. (Click image to view larger version.)

The wide range of options in Networker, combined with its support for mixed OS and larger storage devices, makes it an attractive product for enterprise-level backup. System administrators who need lots of control over backup sets and locations, and fine control over every aspect of backup and restore, will be especially pleased with this software.

About the Author

Douglas Mechaber, MCSE, MCNE, CCDA, is a network consultant and dive instructor and is always on the lookout for utilities that make his life easier, or panulirus interruptus, the California spiny lobster.

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