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No, it's not a boy band, it's a biz backup suite: A dig into Druva inSync

Keeping data safe

Looking after your new toy

The main dashboard (click to enlarge)

The system is managed from a dashboard-style management screen. The default widgets on the dashboard are pretty straightforward: a summary of the system, plus a list of live activities, backup stats, server usage information, an overview of shared files and a summary of data loss prevention information (back to that in a minute).

The top bar of the screen gives access to the various sections, so let's look at those in order.

First is the Backup tab, which gives a summary of backup stats along with details of devices and when they were last backed up. You can select any device and force an immediate backup (if it is turned on and accessible, of course).

The Restore tab is, as the name implies, where you can initialise file restorations. In Data Loss Prevention you can see the status of your various devices as well as where they are (assuming you have enabled the tracking option in the profile).

The Share tab summarises the items that each client device is sharing, and in the Analytics tab you can run searches and queries on the files in your estate, slicing and dicing by type and size and analysing audit logs of both user and admin activity to see what is being flung around via the service.

In the Manage tab you can control your various storage, users and profiles, along with the elements that we have not mentioned thus far: enterprise integration.

These allow you to integrate inSync with your Active Directory setup (the documentation is comprehensive and easier to follow than many I have come across). You can brand the service with your own look-and-feel, manage certificates to enable device protection on your fleet of iOS devices, manage mass deployment of the client and define your password policy.

I looked recently at Citrix's cloud-based file sharing offering and was reassured to see that the company had considered the requirements of proper enterprises. I got the same feeling with the Manage option in inSync.

Finally there's the Reporting tab, with not a great deal in it, but to be fair the various other tabs contain so much information that the need for any specific reporting tools is limited.

Unexpected errors

All positive thus far, so what is bad about inSync? The answer is not a lot aside from some small issues. One of these was that the service decided to stop accepting the credentials for my primary admin account – maybe this is why it is so insistent that you create a second one during the admin process.

There were a few annoying errors (click to enlarge)

Second, the app on my iPhone would often seem to bug out and drop me back to the main screen. Finally, in the fairly short time I was playing with the service for this review, I had three error messages from the website, including a couple of “An unexpected error has occurred, please try again after some time” messages and one that told me the site was busy and to try again (which I did and all was well once more).

Druva inSync is really quite good. An application appeals to me if it gives me the impression that someone has thought about it properly and implemented it without cutting corners, as this product does.

You can have your own installation or use the cloud, and the only real difference is at the client end where you tick or untick the "Use the cloud" box.

The mobile app lets you easily enable or disable backup activity by the cellular network – hence avoiding hideous bills if you don't have a great data plan or if you are roaming.

The GUI is identical on the Mac and on Windows, and if my dog could read I'm sure she'd be comfortable with its clarity. Also, you can click on things you think you should be able to and you end up where you think you ought to be.

The management portal is very nicely designed and requires hardly any brain cells to find your way around. The developers have thought about enterprise integration, and have dealt with the fact that doing things like Active Directory integration is not simple by providing comprehensive documentation. The various features have clearly been implemented deliberately to complement each other.

The Reg verdict

Pros: Consistent look and feel combines with excellent ease of use. Includes enterprise features, not just small business functions. Good suite of functionality that knits together as it should rather than feeling like lots of different features.

Cons: A few problems with the iOS app and website error messages. ®

Price: Cloud service:
Professional service (25-250 users, no enterprise options such as SSO) - $5 per user per month.
Enterprise service (100-5,000 users, with enterprise features) - $7 per user per month.
Unlimited service: Call for pricing.

On-premise alternative:
Professional - $2.50 per user per month.
Enterprise - $4,50 per user per month.
Unlimited - Call for pricing.

More info: http://www.druva.com/

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