Where TapeWare veers away from the mainstream is in its use of a unique zone concept to provide high levels of security. Created during installation, zones are used to group workstations and servers together. Each one maintains a database that holds all the information about backup and restoration activity for that zone only. Multiple zones can be used for different areas of the network but each system can only belong to one zone. This extends right down to devices and media, as a tape created in one zone cannot be used in another. Furthermore, each tape drive - and even the media - must be declared to a TapeWare zone and user permissions assigned. Any users wanting to secure or restore data must have a user profile and password for the zone they’re logging in to, as well as rights to the data and permission to use a particular tape drive and media. Tape drives do not have to be installed on the servers. You can use any USB, IDE and SCSI device connected to a networked workstation to distribute backup devices anywhere on the network (although you will now have to purchase the appropriate component to support this). Note also that USB support is currently limited to Seagate's Travan 20 and 40 drives and OnStream's ADR2.60usb. Installation is a swift process which loads a single service along with the administrative interface. Unlike ARCserve, Backup Exec or even Dantz Retrospect, TapeWare’s management interface hasn’t been messed around with and has remained consistent for years which will, no doubt, please existing users. Wizard-based help
The web gateway is also simple to use and provides a browser interface that is virtually identical to the local utility. Most backup related tasks can be run from here although it won’t allow you to restore files to a different location or create disaster recovery media. TapeWare doesn’t support network shares so all other systems to be included in the zone must also have the software installed. The management console provides plenty of wizard-based help but backup jobs are straightforward to create. Plenty of options are provided and creating a fully managed backup strategy won't take long as TapeWare offers a wealth of pre-configured jobs, ranging from a simple weekly 4-tape rotation to a full 30-tape GFS strategy. Although it has been overly long in coming version 7 finally allows you to secure the Windows System State as a single entity - previous versions only displayed individual components such as the COM+ Database and Registry for selection. To restore data you also need clearance to view specific tapes. The zone database stores information about backup jobs and displays all file versions in a tree structure for easy selection, or you can run queries on specific file names. With so many backup products now available, the average SME has the luxury of choice. Smaller companies will find Dantz Retrospect 6.5 a worthy candidate but if the strong zone-based security and the ability to distribute your tape drives across the network appeals than TapeWare certainly won’t disappoint.