Barracuda Backup Server 290

Need a simple way to secure all your data? Want both on-site and cloud backup? Then, at the risk of sounding like a Cillit Bang ad, you need Barracuda’s amazing Backup Server 290. Time-poor IT staff in small-to-medium-sized businesses will particularly love its simple setup : during local backup job creation, you simply tick one extra box to have the source data replicated to Barracuda’s cloud servers.

Management doesn’t get any easier either, with all configuration carried out via the company’s Cloud Control portal. Deployment took us a reasonable 30 minutes as we connected a monitor and keyboard to the appliance, provided a static IP address and made sure our Windows Active Directory system was its default DNS server. From the portal, we used the unique serial number and code provided to link the appliance to our account. Then three green connection lights lit up on the local console, and we were ready to start declaring our test systems for backup.
Downloaded from the portal, the same agent is used for all Windows systems regardless of the OS version or the apps they’re running. You can elect to copy everything on each system, or select drives, folders, files and the system state. For our Hyper-V host, we quickly selected the VMs we wanted secured. SQL Server 2014 wasn’t a problem since we could pick all or individual databases while backing up the entire mailbox database for Exchange Server 2013.

We also wanted message-level backups (MLBs), which required a dedicated service account to be created and one Exchange Management Shell command run to define impersonation rights. The process was well documented and took only five minutes to complete. We then selected individual Exchange mailboxes for backup and restore.
Schedules dictate when current jobs are run each day, and you can repeat them as often as every minute. Barracuda’s “incremental forever” method runs one full backup followed by regular incrementals – but we recommend spacing out your first backups, as LAN performance isn’t great. A Windows 8.1 full system backup averaged at only 9MB/sec.
The Backup Server 290 has 1TB of raw mirrored storage and a recommended backup capacity of 500GB. This may not at first appear generous, but Barracuda’s variable block-level deduplication increases available capacity significantly. During the test, we backed up almost 300GB, but the portal’s dashboard showed this had been reduced to 199GB, using only 22% of the appliance’s capacity.
To recover data from the appliance, we selected a system, picked what we wanted to restore and decided where to send it. The Share Copy option sends the data to Barracuda’s Copy hosted file-sharing service for presentation to remote workers.

We tested bare-metal recovery by booting a Windows 8.1 host using Barracuda’s ISO image. From the recovery environment, we selected the local appliance and left it to fully restore the system from the latest backup.
The cloud vault is accessed using the Download option in the restore pane, but can currently only be used to recover from file- and message-level backups. SQL Server and Exchange databases plus Hyper-V VMs must be restored from the local appliance, although the next release will add cloud support  for these items. If the appliance does go belly up, Barracuda’s Instant Replacement service will seed a new one and, for up to a 1TB capacity, will have it with you the next day.
The Backup Server 290 may look expensive, but the price shown includes a three-year subscription to the update and replacement services, plus all the cloud storage the appliance can eat.
What impresses us the most, however, is its total support for all Windows systems and apps, integral Exchange MLB and the one-button cloud backup activation. It’s an A-Lister in our eyes.
Specifications
Chassis type1U rack-mount chassis
Storage capacity2 x 1TB mirrored SATA hard disks
ConnectivityGigabit Ethernet, 2 x USB 2, VGA
OS SupportWindows XP SP3+ l Linux
Account details3yr subscription for Energise, Instant Replacement and Unlimited cloud storage

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