Mac backup app picks up the slack

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A mac-based backup app that also handles backup for Windows servers? Hardly your run-of-the-mill backup environment, but that's precisely what's happening at The Cimarron Group, a Hollywood, CA, advertising agency that produces content such as movie trailers, movie and celebrity Web sites, and DVD menus.

This year, Cimarron replaced an older SAN storage array from Rorke Data Inc. with a new 24TB Apple Xserve RAID SAN plus Xsan clustered file-system software to house the audio/video data shared by artists and editors. The company also set out to replace the Dantz Retrospect backup software it had been using to perform its backups, says Mark Miranda, Cimarron's IT director. Cimarron looked at BakBone's NetVault, Computer Associates' BrightStor and Symantec/Veritas' NetBackup, but none of the products ever managed to complete a full backup.

Cimarron's reseller eventually directed them to Atempo and its TimeNavigator suite, which has server components that run on Windows, Unix and Mac platforms. After a day spent installing the software, Cimarron engineers scheduled a full backup to start on a Friday afternoon. "And lo and behold, when we came in on Monday morning, it had actually completed the backup," Miranda says. "We were ecstatic."

Meanwhile, over on the Windows side of the shop, Miranda was having trouble getting CA BrightStor to successfully back up Cimarron's Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, and Windows- and Mac-based file and Web servers. "There were issues. The Mac agents didn't work reliably, and support from [CA] was difficult at best," he says.

Realizing that TimeNavigator wasn't exclusively a Mac product, Miranda decided to try his luck with the rest of the firm's environment. Not only has Cimarron been successful in completing its backups within its window, "it saves a lot of time on management," says Miranda. "We have a lot of Macs and PCs; it makes sense to administer them from a single server."

Other features of Atempo's TimeNavigator that Miranda likes include synthetic fulls, which Cimarron uses if a regular full backup fails, and the ability to make multiple tape copies simultaneously--one for onsite and an offsite copy for disaster recovery. Next year, Cimarron plans to add another Xsan system, and is investigating TimeNavigator's disk-to-disk capabilities.

This was last published in November 2005

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