EMC Retrospect 7.5 Professional
When it comes to power and automation, EMC's Retrospect 7.5 is in a league of its own. This backup app's scripting and vast array of networking and enterprise features make it a good buy for IS pros, but perhaps a bit too complex for the average user.
The program's ease of use--or lack thereof--remains as it was in version 7.0. The $119 (as of 5/25/06) program offers passably friendly wizards that step you through the backup and restore process. Unfortunately, arcane language, concepts, and procedures such as selecting individual files and folders from under the Preview pane still abound. With this version I was hoping for an upgrade to a more user-friendly interface like the one the company uses in Retrospect HD, which ships only with backup hardware such as Maxtor's OneTouch III. Alas, that isn't the case, and new users--even technically advanced ones--should scrutinize the manual first.
Once you're up to speed, Retrospect's disaster-recovery features and support for a wide variety of media (including tape, magneto-optical disk, and Iomega's Rev) are impressive. I was a bit put off by the lack of support for Blu-ray Disc; Retrospect upgrades are rarely cheap, and EMC wouldn't confirm whether users will need to pay for an upgrade to get support for this technology in the future. I also deducted points for two nonfatal operational oddities: The restore pane listed files I had never asked to back up, and it also refused to overwrite existing files even though I told it to.
In the end, the average user will likely be better served by a less expensive program that's easier to learn. However, for IS staffs and for small businesses using a network, Retrospect 7.5 Professional is more than worthy of consideration.
Jon L. Jacobi