Microlite BackupEDGE SS Release 01.02.00
Microlite has taken a
major step forward with this new version of their time honored
This is, by the way, the first version since 1995 where there
has been any charge for upgrades- and even now, the charge is very
reasonable (approximately $100.00 for an upgrade from 01.01
versions). For new installations, Microlite offers a reduced price
( $90.00 US) for a personal use, non-commercial installation. The
non-upgrade commercial Intel Unix version has a suggested retail of
$300.00. Given the new features available here, I think it would be
worth paying that for just the upgrade!
To my mind, one of the most important features in this release
is support for Re-writable DVD-RAM
drives. With BackupEDGE SS, this inexpensive, high capacity
(4.7 GB native, appx. 9 GB compressed) media can be bootable and
contain the complete recovery tools in addition to the backup
itself. No more wondering if floppies are still bootable, no more
worrying about a tape snapping. I've started using DVD-RAM for my
own personal machine, and I can tell you it's just plain
Of course, there's a lot more. The installation process has seen
extensive work. Most devices are now detected and configured
completely automatically (though you retain full ability to change
parameters or manually add devices, of course). There is full,
context sensitive help available at all points of the install, and
of course after the install also. I can't say that that I pressed
F1 (the help key) at every point in the program, but where I did,
the supplied text was to the point and actually helpful.
The installation and actual use menus are the same CHARM-like
interface as used by Scoadmin in character mode. I still don't like
that interface, but I suppose it's good to be consistent, and the
addition of context sensitive help will be appreciated by non-SCO
users who have never seen this interface before. At least it's not
slow like the Scoadmin interfaces.
Wildcards are now supported for backup, restoring, and excluding
files. This is a welcome change. There is also a new point and
shoot restore interface on the menu; this will be a big help for
non-technical users- they can just find their file and restore it
by pointing at it. The command line restore is much improved: for
example, suppose you are sitting in /tmp and accidentally erase the
"IMPORTANT" file that you really need. All it takes is
"edge.restore -f yourbackupdevice IMPORTANT". The restore assumes
that you must want /tmp/IMPORTANT so that's what it goes and gets.
If you have indexed the media, it will find it and restore it in a
matter of seconds- almost instantly from DVD-RAM or other random
That "IMPORTANT" file can be a directory, of course, and the
command line restore will go get the entire thing. Even better,
wild cards work too- even when "IMPORTANT" is gone- the wildcards
are matched against the archive (of course that requires that the
shell hasn't already expanded them, so single quote wildcards:
edge.restore -f drive0 'IMP*').
BackupEDGE has had Fast File Restore (indexing of tape and using
fast seek positioning to advance quickly to the proper spot) for
some time now. Fast File Restore is smart- it decides automatically
(based on tape position) if the quickest access is to do a fast
seek or just a normal read- this means it never has to rewind the
tape. But for CD-RW and DVD-RAM media, they now have an Instant
File Restore [tm] ; this is possible when the devices are capable
of true random access seek.
A new feature for backups is the concept of Schedules and Jobs.
This is fairly complex, but don't worry- it's still very easy to
create a basic nightly backup. However, it's now possible to create
much more complex schemes, defining different jobs that may back up
different data, use different media, or use Incremental or
Differential selection of files. Additionally, scheduled background
jobs can be selected to be run from the menu interface, and the
status of those jobs can be viewed at any time. I particularly like
this because it lets an un-trained operator do a manual backup
without being exposed to questions that they may not
The new Jobs capability means a slight change to the lists on
disk, also. Under /usr/lib/edge/lists you'll find new
subdirectories for each job you create. There will also be a "menu"
subdirectory for backups, listings and restores run from the menu
interface. The names of the files created have also changed
somewhat; here's my /usr/lib/edge/lists/menu directory:
-rw-r--r-- 1 root sys 25438708 Sep 16 13:11 backup_master.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root sys 2029 Sep 16 15:51 changedfiles_master.log
-rw------- 1 root sys 31 Sep 16 13:11 exclude_files.lst
-rw------- 1 root sys 30 Aug 28 07:58 ffr_list.dat
-rw------- 1 root sys 2 Sep 16 12:04 include_files.lst
-rw-r--r-- 1 root sys 5792485 Aug 28 15:11 listing_log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root sys 641 Aug 28 07:58 restore_master.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root sys 24010023 Sep 16 16:44 verify_master.log
I like that much better than the previous "Last_Master" etc.
that was so hard to type or access with wildcards.
Of course, crash recovery is still an important feature. As
mentioned above, the recovery tools are now possible to put on
bootable DVD-RAM media. Additionally, ODBR tape boots, CD-RW and
the traditional floppies are also supported. Recovery tools can be
run from network or modem connections (which means that a
knowledgeable technician can control a recovery remotely when
necessary), and can access archives on other machines over the
network. There's a "root-only" restore option that could save a lot
of time in many crash situations.
For really large data sets, over-run backup devices can be
specified, and of course autochangers (tape juke boxes) are
supported. Optical autochangers/towers are also supported.
There are versions for SCO (Openserver and Unixware), Linux, and
many other Unix platforms.
As always, you can download a demo copy from http://www.microlite.com and you can
buy new or upgrade product directly from Microlite, from A.P. Lawrence, and from many of the folks listed
at the Consultants page.
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© 2012-07-12 Tony Lawrence