The main purpose of this book is to help those with smaller budgets figure out how to back up their systems without spending a lot of money. Toward that end, we have explained the basic backup tools that are available in Unix, Windows, and Macintosh systems. We have also covered four different open-source backup and recovery tools that can meet the data protection needs of many companies.
For those who cannot meet their backup and recovery requirements with open-source utilities, there is an entire industry with commercial backup utilities available to you. Remember that just being a commercial product does not make a given product better than an open-source product. Some commercial products offer less functionality than that which is provided by the open-source tools covered in this book. Others, however, offer significantly more functionality and may be used to solve problems unsolvable with open-source tools.
By explaining the various features that commercial backup products have, we hope to help you decide:
When it might be appropriate to purchase a commercial backup product
Which commercial product might be right for you
Choosing a commercial backup product is hard work. There are more than 50 products with hundreds of features that change every day. Combine the complexity of the subject matter with the fact that every company's data protection needs are different, and the result is that if two administrators of equal skill from two different companies perform an equally exhaustive search for a backup product, they will arrive at different results because of differences in their companies' specific needs. A product that might not be a good choice for any other company might be the perfect choice for yours, simply because it does something no other product doessomething that your company needs it to do.
Although there are a few products that come close, there is no single product that meets everyone's needs. That means that neither this chapter nor this book will "pick product X" at any time. This is for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is change. The data protection market changes every day. Users' data protection needs change, and what different companies do to meet those needs changes. Add to that the ever-present influence of competition. It's happened more than once that a lesser-known backup product comes out with a new version that significantly changes its standing in the market. The constantly changing nature of the data protection market means that any recommendation you read here could be wrong by the time the book hits the shelves, so we dicuss features only.[*]
Neither will this book attempt to give a summary description of available backup products. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that the information here may be out of date by the time the book is printed. The second reason is bias. I would be lying if I said that I knew all these products equally. I know certain products better than others, and those products would receive a more accurate description.