Small Business Servers Reviews

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Pros / Its integration with cloud services is among the best in our review.

Cons / Despite requiring only 256MB of memory, it uses a lot of the CPU resources.

Verdict / StorageCraft's ShadowProtect Small Business Edition lacks the compression rates of better server backup software, and the software, as a whole, has below-average ease of use.

StorageCraft specializes in server backup software and has versions for home and business servers available. For our review, we looked at StorageCraft's ShadowProtect 5 Small Business Edition, because it supports the newest editions of Windows Server operating systems and the latest technologies in backup. This software bundle includes the management console, the backup agent, VirtualBoot, ImageReady, a bootable Windows recovery environment and ImageManager. However, despite its low resource requirements, it uses a lot of CPU power.

ShadowProtect is ideal for small businesses with one to five servers. However, in case your data requirements grow beyond what it can handle, StorageCraft offers software that can seamlessly integrate with it, acting like an upgraded IT version that can manage the backups of an unlimited number of servers, desktops and laptops. The small business edition is compatible with Windows Small Business Server editions 2003-2012, including Foundation 2012 and Essentials 2012. The ShadowProtect Virtual component is compatible with VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat KVM, Red Hat Enterprise virtualization and Xen. This software can also back up all current Exchange, SharePoint and SQL servers.

In our tests, the ShadowProtect only compressed the test data by 15 percent at its highest compression level, which was 3 percent below average. If you're backing up large amounts of data, a 15 percent compression rate means that backed-up data will be 850GB. For comparison, the best compression rate on the same data set in our review was 35 percent. However, compression rates can vary according to file type and existing compression, so you may experience different results. Also note that your backup sets will take longer with higher compression rates.

ShadowProtect's overall ease of use was below average in our tests. It received a B for the installation, which is average. The installation didn't pose any major issues but didn't go as smoothly as installation of the best server backup software. The backup and recovery features received a C- because each backup test required unique configurations to run. The interface received a B- because of the way the tabs would rearrange themselves. It took our tester longer than average to find specific settings and features. The one positive here is the cloud integration, which is seamless and one of the easiest facets of the software.

One of the best aspects of ShadowProtect 5 is the minimal RAM requirements. The minimum amount of memory is 256MB, which is the lowest in our review. This means that it's not very scalable in the long term, but for the short term, you don't need a lot of memory to run the software. The management console also provides remote access to capabilities, which is great for running backups on your employees' computers while you're away from the office.

Unfortunately, our tests showed that it does ask a lot from the processor on the server side of the software, which received a D because it used an average of 76 percent of the CPU. This means that you should only run backup sets during downtime.

All purchases include the standard support package, and additional paid support is available. The Premium Support plan includes 24/7 telephone support with an emergency response time of within one hour. Remote assistance is available if needed. You can purchase per-incident support at any time, and it is available 24/7. If you want to learn more about StorageCraft products and industry trends, you can follow the Recovery Zone blog.

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