Follow Up: HP Data Vault long term testing

As part of the extended review process of the Data Vault, the unit was passed along to a small law firm. Due to a conflict of interest with the Law firm representing a client which competes directly with the Data Vault product line, they have asked that they not be mentioned directly by name. The reasoning? They loved the product so much that a public endorsement would be a strike against their client.

The following is written in first person by the law firm and does not represent my thoughts or views; I have reconstructed their words into a more review friendly format.

Field Test Review

"I got a call from Brad about a product he thought would interest my company. We are a small legal firm consisting of 5 lawyers and 7 – 10 support staff. We have a client that provides our tech support along with any technology that we may need as we adapt and expand our business.

Our primary setup is that we have 10 Dell D420 laptops for those who need them when visiting clients or needs arise for them to work outside of the office. Each worker has a desktop as well but models are various and inconsistent but they all run Windows XP. We are also a paperless company; we scan all our documents and save them to a central shared drive when in the office.

When a staff member uses a laptop they are also given a USB drive. The ides is that when they work on the laptop they use the thumb drive to save all of their data to the drive and take it to their desktop when they return to the office. It's a low cost, low thrills option that has served us well for the past few years and because of that we have had little thought in changing our ways.

When I talked to Brad on the phone he stated that this was by far the simplest setup he had used in some time and that even I could effectively set it up. Brad stated that it was a simple, yet effective, backup solution that I could use to save our data from the laptops to a central server. We could also have an automated backup solution; this is what sold me on trying out the product. Currently we backup our data onto USB hard drives for safe storage.

Going off of Brad's word, we decided to try it out on our laptops only. Brad dropped off the server with some CD's and the server in a box and said have fun. I tried to yell at him to help me out but claimed that 'anyone can figure this out old man'. He was partially right, knowing absolutely nothing about home servers, and being a guy, I didn't look at the directions. For the first ten minutes I tried to figure out where to plug the keyboard and monitor into, after overcoming this silly issue (directions are great things) I followed the directions.

The setup was quite easy and Brad was correct in his assumption that an old man can figure it out. There are a lot of bells and whistles on the machine, ill be honest I didn't try many out, that seemed like it could fit almost any situation. I loaded the software as directed onto the five laptops and set them up to be backed up at 7PM each day.

One thing that Brad addressed, that he knew was my concern, was that I am always worried that the transition from USB drive to desktop is that the thumb drive may be lost, corrupted, or stolen. We do use password protected zipped files but the thought still eludes me that it may happen. There are times where a staff worker will come back on Friday and not load the documents to the shared drive until Monday.

To make a longer story short, the simplicity of backing up my staffs work is much more secure than our USB process. I like the feeling that when the laptops are brought back and are docked the data will be backed up in a secure location and duplicated automatically. The simple process of duplicated folders is what attracted me the most to the setup. It removed our nightly step of backing up the data onto a USB hard drive as the data is copied to two drives with the duplicate folder feature. Although I think we may still do a weekly backup as an extra precaution.

Overall I really liked the Data Vault. My initial fears of it being overly complicated were quickly settled once I read the directions. I do still worry about the security of it possibly being connected to the Internet; our files are extremely sensitive and can not be viewed outside of our offices.

Will I be purchasing a Data Vault, the likely answer is yes. After three weeks of use, I didn't want to give it back to Brad. I no long had to harp employees to make sure their data was all loaded up before I backed everything up. At the end of the day, the Data Vault was saving me time, and time is money, money that I can use to buy a Data Vault."

Update: The Data Vault warranty has been extended to 3 Years.


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