Network Data: Backup Software

All versions of Windows come with a built-in backup program. In addition, most tape drives come with backup programs that are often faster or more flexible than the standard Windows backup.

You can also purchase sophisticated backup programs that are specially designed for networks that have multiple servers with data that must be backed up. For a basic Windows file server, you can use the backup program that comes with Windows Server. Server versions of Windows come with a decent backup program that can run scheduled, unattended tape backups.

Backup programs do more than just copy data from your hard drive to tape. Backup programs use special compression techniques to squeeze your data so that you can cram more data onto fewer tapes. Compression factors of 2:1 are common, so you can usually squeeze 100GB of data onto a tape that would hold only 50GB of data without compression.

Tape drive manufacturers tend to state the capacity of their drives by using compressed data, assuming a 2:1 compression ratio. Thus, a 200GB tape has an uncompressed capacity of 100GB.

Whether you achieve a compression factor of 2:1 depends on the nature of the data you’re backing up:

  • Documents: If your network is used primarily for Office applications and is filled with Word and Excel documents, you’ll probably get better than 2:1 compression.

  • Graphics: If your network data consists primarily of graphic image files, you probably won’t get much compression. Most graphic image file formats are already compressed, so they can’t be compressed much more by the backup software’s compression methods.

Backup programs also help you keep track of which data has been backed up and which hasn’t. They also offer options, such as incremental or differential backups that can streamline the backup process.

If your network has more than one server, invest in good backup software. The most popular is Yosemite Backup, made by BarracudaWare ( Besides being able to handle multiple servers, one of the main advantages of backup software (such as Yosemite Backup) is that it can properly back up Microsoft Exchange server data.