Plan B Disaster Recovery review
Plan B can ensure your business will be a success and not another sorry statistic in the event of a disaster
Review Date: 25 Feb 2010
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,315 (£1,545 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
UK-based Plan B aims to take the pain and expense out of disaster recovery by offering an affordable service for SMBs, which is simple to deploy and provides full off-site storage and recovery services. The company claims it can get your critical servers back online inside 30 minutes.
Plan B deploys an on-site appliance and uses agents to snapshot each protected Windows server to it. The appliance then uploads the snapshot to Plan B's datacenter, where it creates a virtual machine (VM) from it.
Invoking disaster recovery for the SBS server example costs £400 and Plan B will fire up the remote VM, weave some DNS magic, and put all your services back online. Plan B can do this so quickly because it tests the VM at the earliest opportunity to make sure it will work when needed. The one-off charge includes full migration of the VM back to your server.
For testing, we used a Dell PowerEdge 2900 running SBS 2003 and the GoToMyPC corporate remote control client. On delivery, we connected the appliance to the network and used its web console to install an agent directly on the server. The agent is declared to the appliance, whereupon it takes a snapshot of the server. You have no control over what's copied, since this is all handled remotely.
The completed snapshot is encrypted and uploaded to the remote VM. Once the appliance has completed the first snapshot, the agent regularly updates it with deltas that are then passed up the line. Our only complaint was a lack of agent-logging information. During the initial snapshot and upload phases, we had no real idea of what it was up to.
The 80GB of data on our test server took a few days to upload and we wished we'd taken up Plan B's offer of a USB drive for locally backing up the data first. This is included in the price. On delivery, you attach it to the appliance and Plan B initiates the snapshot copy to it. The drive is then sent to the remote site and its contents are encrypted.
To simulate a disaster we forcibly powered down our SBS server and phoned Plan B with cries of help. Less than 30 minutes later, the company called us back with the address details of the remote VM. We tested remote access using OWA and had no problems accessing multiple Exchange mailboxes where all mail was present and correct.
GoToMyPC was unaware that the entry in our portal for the SBS server was now a VM and we were able to gain full remote access to the server. We concluded that most users would be hard-pressed to spot that their services were running from a remote system.
Plan B is an elegant solution for disaster recovery that will appeal hugely to SMBs. It's affordable, easy to deploy and, above all else, delivers when it really counts.
Author: Dave Mitchell
- AMD’s "Seattle" ARM chips set for 2014 release
- Adobe’s subscription-only Creative Cloud goes live
- BBC "misled" MPs over failed £100 million IT project
- Join the PC Pro Business Lunch for the finance sector
- MPs "shocked" Huawei-BT deal wasn't vetted
- Government wastes "three days a year" booting PCs
- Windows 8.1 brings back the Start button
- Microsoft connects Skype to Lync
- Cisco moves to block Microsoft-Skype deal
- Half of the UK’s biggest sites break cookie rules
- Adobe Dreamweaver CC review: first look
- Huawei Ascend P6 review: first look
- Adobe Illustrator CC review: first look
- Let MPs tell us what they really want ISPs to block
- Adobe Photoshop CC review: first look
- WWDC 2013 and iOS 7 launch: live blog
- Sony VAIO Pro review: first look
- Want child porn blocked? Meet the IWF
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Software subscriptions return us to a life of servitude
- How to get a job in cloud computing
- Are today's tech start-ups simply get-rich-quick schemes?
- Choosing the right tablet for business
- Best free antivirus for 2013
- The best business broadband: how to choose the right package
- Choosing your web hosting package: space, bandwidth, service-level agreements and email handling
- Windows Server 2012 features in-depth
- How to protect your business against spear phishing
- How to install virtual servers with Hyper-V
- Facebook "click on the photo" scams: how they work
- Three alternatives to Word's spelling and grammar checker
- Google two-step verification: a must for business email
- Microsoft Office and the death of upgrades
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW