PresStore 1.4.1 full review

Today’s big businesses rely on different computing platforms – Windows, Mac, Unix, Linux, etc – to perform specialist jobs in different departments. One problem with multi-platform environments is that costs can spiral out of control. A cross-platform approach to software is a key consideration in the battle to save money, and one key area is backup and data archiving. Enter PresStore from Archiware. PresStore is designed for archiving business-critical data from hundreds or even thousands of desktop machines. PresStore is completely cross-platform allowing Macs, Windows, Linux or Sun Sparc Stations all to be backed up together.

It is a modular solution, so as backup and archive needs change, PresStore can accommodate them. You can start with a single Backup server licence supporting a single media drive, and increase capacity with the addition of extra support or the fantastic PresStore Archive Solution. One word of warning, though: client licenses are needed in addition to server licences and it easy to underestimate the level of licences needed.

Due to its cross-platform nature, installing PresStore is challenging. PresStore actually installs itself in a hidden directory, both on the server and the client in the Applications folder. Should you ever need to uninstall it you may need some additional tools to expose its whereabouts to the user.

PresStore Server is configured via a browser, but does not work with Safari, so you’ll have to rely on Internet Explorer. The Web interface is clear and concise, and setting backup strategies and schedules is simple.

PresStore is a relatively new product but its functionality is excellent. Enterprise-class products such as this normally take many years to reach this level of maturity. It fully supports OS X’s HFS and UFS file systems, as well as Apple, Helios and Xinet file servers. All of these can be backed up to common tape formats such as DLT, AIT, LTO and DAT. It supports both SCSI and FireWire external devices.

It’s PresStore’s archive options that are really impressive. It keeps a browsable list of all archived files, and wanted files can be added to a ‘basket’ that is then recovered. This innovative approach puts the power of recovery in the hands of the users, rather than the IT administrators.

Even if backups are fully automated sometimes files can still get lost, especially if a Mac has gone down in-between backup schedules. A unique synchronize facility obviates this problem.

This allows for items to be synchronised in real-time in different places. It’s similar in approach to iDisk’s auto-sync function, only on steroids.

All documentation is in HTML format, as you’d expect of a cross-platform solution. Although comprehensive it’s not Mac-specific, so Mac-related details can be missed. I found Archiware’s telephone support very useful, and they displayed a high level of Mac knowledge.

PresStore’s main competitors are the huge multiplatform enterprise solutions from BakBone, Veritas and Legato, and it is priced accordingly.

A basic PresStore Backup Solution (Server) runs to £1,012. If you wish to add PresStore Archive Solution it’s an extra £2,025 added. Each extra client costs £1,012 each. This may set alarm bells ringing for many Mac users, but the thing to bear in mind is that PresStore’s target audience will see it as cost-effective compared to the alternatives.

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