Firestreamer Adds Blu-ray Support to Microsoft Backup

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Cristalink Limited is proud to announce the release of Firestreamer-RM 2.3, a virtual tape drive that extends the functionality of Microsoft Backup and other tape backup software to a wide range of storage media. Supported media include Blu-ray, DVD, Iomega REV, external hard disk drives and files on network file systems. In addition to support for non-tape media, Firestreamer provides a number of advanced features, such as data compression and encryption, media and drive spanning, easy scheduled backups with email notifications, support for remote drives, integration with Microsoft Windows Automated System Recovery and more.

Cristalink Limited recently released Firestreamer-RM 2.3, a utility that extends the functionality of Microsoft Backup and other tape backup software to a wide range of non-tape storage media. Since it's a virtual tape drive, Firestreamer can use Blu-ray, DVD, Iomega REV, external hard disk drives and files on network file systems as underlying storage, exposing the pieces of media as virtual tape cartridges. Firestreamer's key advantage is that it retains the inherent benefits of using Microsoft's native backup software, while providing a number of advanced features.

The new version of Firestreamer adds support for Blu-ray and file media. Blu-ray (BD) is a next-generation optical storage format, permitting 25 to 50 GB of uncompressed data on each disc. Due to its versatility, integrated hardware defect management and ability to sustain thousands of overwrite cycles without performance degradation, BD media is a compelling alternative to tapes of comparable capacities. Firestreamer makes this alternative even more attractive by utilizing the strengths of existing tape backup software, facilitating the transition from aging tape drives to Blu-ray.

Firestreamer transfers data directly to backup media with no intermediate file system or burning engine involved. This means faster backups compared to traditional packet writing solutions for recordable optical media. Moreover, Firestreamer does not usually need the software that may come with media drives, and recognizes most of the devices, including Blu-ray and Iomega REV, immediately after the hardware is connected to the computer. This is especially important for mission-critical servers, where software reliability is crucial.

In addition to physical media, Firestreamer now supports files as backup destinations. This feature is intended primarily for use with network file systems, such as network shares, network-attached storage (NAS) or WebDAV. Firestreamer's file media is an analog of Microsoft Backup's BKF files, but with added data compression and encryption. These features are particularly useful when the backups are regularly taken to an offsite location or uploaded to a remote online storage server hosted by another company. Firestreamer uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (FIPS 197), which can protect classified information up to the Top Secret level.

It's in the scheduling of unattended backup tasks where Firestreamer really shines. Firestreamer "wraps" Microsoft Backup, starting it up and monitoring its performance, automatically formatting media when necessary. The flexible media management policy means the program can overwrite or append to a particular piece of media, depending on the media's age and amount of free space available. Once Microsoft Backup finishes, Firestreamer parses its log file to ensure the backup task succeeded, and notifies the administrator of the results in an email. The software also provides users with a detailed summary report that displays the status of recent backup tasks, along with handy links to log files.

The new version of Firestreamer allows multi-step backups by introducing support for user-defined scripts. For example, systems analysts can imagine the following scenario: a prologue script executed at the beginning of a scheduled backup task can be used to save a database residing on a Microsoft SQL Server to a file. Microsoft Backup then backs up the saved database along with other user data to Firestreamer's file media – a compressed and encrypted file. Finally, the epilogue script can upload the resulting file to offsite online storage via FTP or another communication protocol.

Other features of Firestreamer include: support for remote iSCSI media drives, media spanning to spread large backups across multiple pieces of media, and drive spanning to eliminate the need for manual media changes. Firestreamer is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows Automated System Recovery (ASR) and allows a bare metal restore in the event of a catastrophic system or hardware failure which causes the operating system to not start correctly.

Firestreamer operates on all 32 and 64 bit editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003, and is compatible with Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange Server and Small Business Server. Firestreamer can also be used with Symantec Backup Exec.

Firestreamer costs only $60 USD per single-computer license and can be ordered securely online. A fully functional version of the software is available for download for a free 30-day trial from Cristalink's website at http://www.cristalink.com.

Cristalink is a trademark and Firestreamer is a registered trademark of Cristalink Limited, New Zealand. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

For additional information, contact Nick Repin, +64 21 201 8284, press (at) cristalink (dot) com, or visit http://www.cristalink.com.

About Cristalink Limited:

Founded in 2002 in Auckland, New Zealand, Cristalink Limited specializes in application and device driver development for Microsoft Windows. For additional information and free evaluation copies of all Cristalink products, visit Cristalink's website at http://www.cristalink.com.

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Nick Repin
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