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CRU DataHarbor Review: Local Data Backup with an Encrypted, Removable Twist: Page 2 of 3

CRU DataHarbor offers a new backup appliance, but the hook here is appealing to cloud paranoia: There’s no cloud option, but a removable hard disk to take off-site for disaster recovery. By James E. Gaskin

In Production

Once configured, the CRU DataHarbor backup appliance pulls the data from each client during a predetermined backup time window. This differs from every NAS appliance that includes client backup software, because those products push data from the client to the NAS.

In many cases, this will make little or no difference to the customer. However, resellers following the MSP model will be able to leverage the advantage WSS brings: centralized control of client systems through the server.

The Dashboard software on the server (or any client when supplied with the admin password) makes it easy to change the backup schedule for a user; change the files and directories, including in the backup job; and even restore files to the client computer. Remote access support allows what are hands-on jobs for other backup clients to become remote jobs.

CRU flogs the bad side of cloud backup heavily, listing hidden service costs, slow download times when restoring files, and the 'ol "your data on these servers is vulnerable to hackers and theft" as reasons to go with their removable hard drive option for off-site storage. Since cloud security still ranks high on the concern meter for many small business owners, they may have a market opening.

Rather than copy files to the removable disk, CRU mirrors the drive. This means a multi-hour rebuild every time the drive is swapped. The server software keeps running, and can provide file services to users during the rebuild, but be sure and plan ahead for hours of rebuild before your backup schedule can kick in.

Since cloud security still ranks high on the concern meter for many small business owners, they may have a market opening.

This method also relies on users to carry the encrypted removable drive off-site and bring it back the next day. Not a huge burden, but it's the rare user who can be trusted to perform this simple task. That's one big reason automatic backup file uploads to the cloud have become so popular.

In the unit we tested, there were only 871GBs left for backups after Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 files and other housekeeping. It's powered by an Intel Atom CPU running at 1.80 GHz, so don't expect blazing speed, but backups and restores get done in a reasonable amount of time.

About the Author

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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