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Lock and load! - Why ZIP now means business for backups!

Executive summary: everyone knows ZIP. It's a simple tool that's extremely useful when backing up and archiving. But until now, the rudimentary nature of ZIP programs has largely inhibited them from being useful for business-class backups.

This Whitepaper reveals how BackupAssist has fully launched ZIP into the business world by increasing the speed, accuracy and reliability of ZIP backups and by completely automating the process.

Discover how BackupAssist's new ZIP Engine provides a reliable backup and archiving solution, with complete support for a fantastic variety of backup destinations including Disk, Tape, DVD/Blu-ray, Flash, and even FTP server! You'll also find it's an excellent replacement for NTBackup on Windows Server 2008.

Table of contents

Answering the question of data accessibility.

A reliable replacement for NTBackup on Windows Server 2008.

Why ZIP?

Taking the basic ZIP idea to the next level.

How BackupAssist's new Zip Engine now 'means business'.

Why ZIP has been overlooked for business use in the past.

How BackupAssist has improved on ZIP for business uses.

Why BackupAssist is a boon for I.T. Service Providers and end users alike.

Try BackupAssist for yourself with a 30-day free trial!

Answering the question of data accessibility.

When choosing software to backup and archive your data, it's important to use software that allows you to restore your data easily, both now and well into the future.

The problem with many backup programs is the proprietary or obscure file formats they use, such as 'wbb' or 'ctf'. If you want to open your backup and retrieve your data, you need to do so via the original backup program. If the software gets discontinued, the operating system changes, or the software is out of maintenance subscription, too bad - you can't get your data back. This, of course, defeats the entire purpose of long term data retention!

For many years, Microsoft distributed the "NTBackup" program with its operating systems (from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows Server 2003). That meant many Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) were able to use NTBackup to backup their data and then restore it again without the need of special software.

This functionality helped SMBs meet the legal compliance requirements of most Western countries for businesses to store accounting and company data for a minimum of 7 years.

However, Microsoft's decision to leave NTBackup out of its more recent operating systems has brought the issue of long-term data accessibility back to the fore. And it has made the need for a universally accessible backup solution for SMBs more important than ever.

A reliable replacement for NTBackup on Windows Server 2008.

When searching for the perfect backup format for SMB backup, the team at BackupAssist, a leading SMB backup software vendor, considered numerous options - from inventing their own format, to using existing "open standards".

However, it was the attitude toward 'not re-inventing the wheel' that inspired BackupAssist's Lead Developer, Linus Chang, to consider ZIP as an alternative to NTBackup and motivated the development of the BackupAssist Zip Engine as a reliable replacement.

Why ZIP?

ZIP is a tried and trusted technology and backups created this way will always be accessible on any Windows based machine, without the need for proprietary software. In this way, ZIP is a perfect substitute for NTBackup. For example, in the year 2009, you can still restore data from a ZIP file that was created 20 years ago and you can use a multitude of inexpensive/free programs to access your data (WinZIP, PKZIP, TugZIP, 7zip etc) no matter which program you used to create the ZIP backup in the first place.

ZIP is an excellent solution for SMBs wanting to avoid the risk of their data suddenly becoming inaccessible at any time.

Taking the basic ZIP idea to the next level.

The ZIP64 open format also lends itself as a backup solution because of its simple structure and in-built compression and encryption.

It has become apparent that even the smallest business needs to be able to password protect their backups quickly and simply. Data loss and information misappropriation by staff within an organization is becoming increasingly common. BackupAssist's new Zip Engine provides the facility to automatically protect data using 256-bit AES encryption, as part of the daily backup process.

In addition, ZIP already provides a simple method of compressing data. Data compression is a function essential to maximizing the value of any data storage medium, but particularly for long-term data storage and those wanting to take advantage of Internet data storage or 'Cloud' computing, where payment is required by the 'bucket load'.

BackupAssist's new Zip Engine now 'means business'!

In the past, ZIP programs like WinZIP were specifically designed for home users or desktop use. They lacked the features, formatting and scheduling required for the rock solid reliability that business backups need.

Why ZIP has been overlooked for business uses in the past.
  • Common ZIP programs are generally not VSS aware, meaning that things like databases and open files can't be backed up reliably or automatically.
  • Traditional ZIP programs usually don't accurately store file details like NTFS security information, timestamps, and alternate data streams.
  • Parts of the process are usually manual, particularly when encryption is required - backups often need to be created first, then encrypted, zipped and stored, making it a three or four-step process.
  • The old ZIP programs are very slow and take far too long to back up large amounts of data.
  • With most ZIP programs there's no facility for scheduling, media rotation or reporting.
  • Most ZIP programs do not have a wide variety of hardware support built-in.
How BackupAssist has now improved ZIP for business uses.

BackupAssist has now added all the checks and measures you need to make ZIP a truly business-class backup solution. You'll find it just works, right out of the box, with a 7-minute setup and easy-to-follow wizards that can be operated by almost anyone, with no training required.

  • BackupAssist aims to give you a 0% backup failure rate. BackupAssist is VSS aware, allowing SQL Databases and Exchange Databases to be backed up properly. And with BackupAssist you'll never find that a backup didn't run because a file was open - it automatically backs up open files by taking a snapshot of them as they are at the time of the backup.
  • BackupAssist provides 100% faithful restores. BackupAssist stores all the extra information that traditional ZIP programs don't capture. Details like timestamps, security information, alternate data streams etc. are saved with each file to ensure backup integrity so your restores are completely true to the original.
  • BackupAssist's Restore Console facilitates speedy recovery for files and folders. Normal ZIP programs make it difficult to browse an archive to locate specific files and folders. In contrast, BackupAssist's Restore Console offers you fast browsing and powerful wildcard searching thanks to its locally cached backup catalogs. It saves you hours of fishing and browsing!
  • BackupAssist is automatic - you can now ZIP without manual processing. The BackupAssist Zip Engine is part of an overall backup program - so zipping and backing up files is a one-step process. There's now no need to run a backup then ZIP the files afterwards - you simply specify what you need in the 7-minute setup process by following the wizards, and that's it!

  • "Multi-threading architecture" makes BackupAssist 3 times faster than WinZIP on entry level Servers. Traditional ZIP programs can only compress one file at a time, which is very slow. The considerable improvement on processing speed is derived from the capacity to compress multiple files simultaneously by taking advantage of multi-core and multi-processor CPUs. Put simply, BackupAssist can feed data to your storage devices (including tape) at a much faster rate than many other backup programs!
  • 256-bit AES data encryption gives you the capacity to password protect your backups, if required - a function that is not usually a feature of ZIP programs. It takes just a few moments in the setup using a simple wizard.
  • BackupAssist provides support for the complete range of backup hardware storage options including: any stand alone tape drive compatible with Windows*; External HDD (USB or eSATA), RDX drive, REV drive, NAS, FTP, Optical Disk including DVD, CD, HD and Blu-ray disks; Local Directory, USB Flash Sticks.

Why BackupAssist is a boon for I.T. Service Providers and End Users alike.

At BackupAssist we believe you shouldn't need a computer science degree to run a backup! Simplicity is the key to success, whether you're an End User or an I.T. Service provider. BackupAssist is designed to be a complete backup solution for SMBs, whether you're running your own backups or providing services to SMB clients.

  • BackupAssist minimizes the risk of human error. BackupAssist comes with scheduling and media rotations built-in. Reminder emails instruct when to change storage devices, advise when the backup medium is almost full (to avoid failed backups) and daily reports are emailed to your desk top so you know the backups have completed successfully. For advanced users, you can easily customize your backup scheduling and rotations and for everyone else, the 7-minute setup provides simple, easy to follow wizards.
  • BackupAssist provides a complete backup solution in one package. In addition to ZIP, BackupAssist has built-in facilities to make all your backup requirements easy including: Drive Imaging, File Replication, Rsync Internet Backup, Exchange Backup and SQL Backup. And coming soon: the world's most simple solution to Hyper-V backup!
  • Centralized Monitoring Console. For VARs, I.T. Service providers and administrators of larger systems, BackupAssist offers the capacity of centralized monitoring. It allows you to monitor and manage the backups of multiple servers from one email report and even prioritizes issues so that you can deal with any problems quickly and effectively. If you're a BackupAssist Gold Reseller, you can enjoy the convenience of logging on to your web portal to view your backup reports remotely, from anywhere in the world.
  • Other great features for I.T. Service providers. BackupAssist offers two levels of Reseller Programs that help make ordering, payment, license installation, service and upgrades easy and convenient when servicing multiple clients. Additionally, BackupAssist Gold Resellers enjoy a free NFR of BackupAssist and all BackupAssist Add-on products for their own use.

Try BackupAssist for yourself with a 30-day free trial!

BackupAssist is one of the most user-friendly backup software packages currently available on the market, suitable for any kind of SMB. What's more, at just US$249 for a base license plus US$129 for the BackupAssist Zip-To-Tape Add-on, it's probably the most cost-effective replacement around for NTBackup on Windows Server 2008. So why not try it for yourself with our no-obligation, 30-day free trial?

30-Day FREE Trial of BackupAssist