What are the differences between the Mac and Windows products? Great
question. There are actually two separate areas to discuss: features and
architecture. One you see, the other you don't.
On the features side, the Win version obviously has better (i.e., complete)
support for Win 2000, and it's able to get things like the NT/2000 registry
directly. It can also correctly back up and restore NTFS volumes serving up
Mac files, whereas the Mac version requires one to mount NTFS Mac "volumes"
on the desktop of the backup Mac.
The Windows version of Retrospect has a complete License Manager module.
This allows us to create and give out license codes that unlock certain
portions of the software. One CD is able to install Express, Desktop,
Workgroup, and Server, depending on the code entered. This also lets us
create eval codes that expire after 45 days. The Mac only has limited
License Manager functionality--it understands codes for Retrospect Client
licenses, but that's about all.
Retrospect for Windows also offers slightly different drive support. Most
recent IDE/ATAPI tape devices are supported (there really haven't been any
for the Mac), even by Retrospect Express. Retrospect Desktop Backup for
Windows supports AIT, DLT, LTO, and Mammoth drives right out of the box, but
it won't support a loader with more than eight slots; Workgroup or Server
are required for that. The Mac version, on the other hand, requires the
Advanced Driver Kit (ADK) to operate AIT, DLT, LTO, and Mammoth drives, but
even the Mac Desktop product will handle libraries with up to 80+ slots. For
example, the VXA AutoPak (with 15 slots, I believe) is supported by Mac
Desktop and Workgroup, but would require Windows Workgroup or Server. A
Mammoth 2 would work on Win Desktop through Server, but the ADK would be
required for a Mac to talk to the same drive.
The Windows version has a few more features for tape library operation. It
tracks tapes in loaders better than the Mac version, remembering which tapes
are in which slots between program launches, for example.
Retrospect Server Backup (Win) supports multiple NICs in a box, allowing you
to assign each one to a different subnet. The Server edition also supports
the advanced subnet broadcast and add-client-by-direct-IP-address/DNS-name
capability that the Mac version has, but neither Win Desktop nor Workgroup
have this ability.
Finally, on the feature side, the Windows version is better at backing up
open files on Windows systems.
Retrospect for Macintosh was created in 1989, and it's been continually
upgraded and built upon. Because Retrospect's core was designed with not a
little elegance, we've been able to upgrade it over the years without
breaking it or reducing its streamlined effectiveness. In fact, we're
working on Carbonizing Retrospect for Mac OS X right now. Sure, entire
sections of the program have been added or replaced, but the base design is
Now, take what we know about backup software architecture, and use that
knowledge and experience to create a brand new product. This new version of
Retrospect would look like the current product, but the architecture would
be significantly improved. This is how Retrospect for Windows was built.
So what, exactly, are the differences? Well, License Manager is new, and
it's quite powerful, but that's something visible from the outside. The
Windows product architecture differences go deeper. Only about 15% of the
program interacts with the OS. That makes much of the code portable. We've
also designed it to support new file systems with the addition of something
like a plug-in. That's why Linux clients will be available for Retrospect
for Windows before the Mac version.
Now, before you v5 owners begin saying, "Well, since the Windows
architecture is easier to upgrade/add to, you should be able to easily...,"
I just ask that you keep in mind that this is backup software we're talking
about. It has to work. Sure there are always bugs in computer software, but
a data loss bug in our line of work is simply unacceptable. New features
require a great deal of testing before they're released as upgrades. So
please continue to send us your feature requests, but remember what our goal
is: perfect restores always. And that's NOT a difference between the Mac and
I hope this answers everyone's questions about how the products differ. If I
missed something, I apologize, but I think I covered the important
differences. We also have a feature matrix on the Dantz website.
[Disclaimer: I had not yet opened the caffeine spigot when I wrote this.]
Matthew Healey <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I have been following this list for a while now and have seen quite a few
> references to how the "technology" behind v5 for Windows is much more
> advanced than that of v4 for Mac.
> I was just wondering exactly what the difference is and what it means to my
> company full of Macs. V4.3 works perfectly for us so why do I see people
> saying v5 is so much more advanced.
> What's the difference?
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