Iomega conducted a survey of its customers and found that 25 to 30 percent were moving from tape backup to the Rev drive because of improved speed and ease of use. While we weren't able to compare Rev to a tape-backup system, we wondered how it would stand up to external hard drives a common backup solution for many small businesses.
Iomega claims transfer rates the rate at which you can copy or move data from the computer to a Rev 120GB drive are up to 35 megabytes per second. We compared the transfer rates of the Rev drive and a fixed USB drive from a different manufacturer.
The Rev transfer rate is still very fast, and it's significantly faster than transferring data to a network-attached storage (NAS) drive, another popular small business storage /backup option. With NAS, you can backup several computers to the same drive over a network. But backing up over a network takes significantly longer than backing up to a Rev drive -- it took 66 seconds to move the same file over a 100-Mbps Ethernet link to a NAS drive.
Small businesses can use Rev to back up several workstations in an office over a network. But the Rev drive has to be connected to a server. It cant connect to a network on its own like a NAS unit.
We tested the USB version of the Rev 120GB drive on a Windows XP laptop, and, like its Rev ancestors, setting it up was simple and hassle free if slightly counter-intuitive. You install the Iomega software, turn off the computer, plug the drive in using the USB cable, power it on, and only then reboot your computer.
On a Windows machine, once you insert a disk in the Rev drive, it appears in My Computer with a drive letter and behaves like any other attached drive. Installing Retrospect Express was also uneventful. The EMC software provides all the functionality that most small businesses will ever need.
Retrospect lets you set up conventional backups that create compressed files, which take up half the space of the originals. To reconstitute the original files, though, you have to use the relatively time-consuming Recover function.
The software gives you the option to create Duplicate backups as well. They copy entire folders or volumes, retaining the original file structure. Individual files in a Duplicate are accessible any time without going through the Recover process.
Retrospect also offers sophisticated scripting so you can schedule automatic backups.
As a small business backup solution, Rev is not a slam-dunk, but it's close. It offers speed, versatility and easy portability, a useful combination for just about any small business. It can be used for both onsite and offsite backup and for backing up individual workstations or whole offices. And, according to analyst group IDC, it outsold all its competitors combined last year.
Based in London, Canada, Gerry Blackwell has been writing about information technology and telecommunications for a variety of print and online publications since the 1980s.
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