Retrospect 8.1 brings back PowerPC support, improves performance

EMC announced today an update to its popular Retrospect network backup software; version 8.1 brings back support for PowerPC-based workstations and improves performance for Intel-based Macs.

Eric Ullman, director of project management for Retrospect, said that while older G4-based Macs will run significantly slower than their Intel-based counterparts, Retrospect 8.1 can at least back them up (a capability that was lost in the move from the legacy 6.1 version). G5s with multiple processors, however, can see performance gains of 10 to 15 percent compared to Retrospect 6.1.

Intel-based workstations will also see performance increases of 10 to 15 percent compared to 8.0, and 30 to 35 percent compared to Retrospect 6.1. Other improvements, including updates to the user interface based on feedback from early adopters, are also included in the update.

Ullman said that with Retrospect 8, EMC had "recommitted itself to the Mac market" and this update was the second part of a three-phase deployment of the completely-rebuilt Retrospect 8. Phase one was the initial release, supporting Intel processors; phase two now supports PowerPC processors. Phase three, according to Ullman, is slated for release "in the Snow Leopard timeframe," and is expected to include support for importing Retrospect 6.1 sets and configurations, among other improvements to performance and the client software.

As Steve Sande mentioned, Retrospect's update comes on the heels of BRU Server 2.0, which added a new user interface and performance improvements. Ullman noted that BRU Server and Retrospect are fundamentally different, with Retrospect scanning more closely to prevent file duplication and save time copying files. Retrospect is generally less expensive than BRU Server, though their pricing structures and trim levels are a little different.

The update is available now on the Retrospect website. It's free for Retrospect 8 users and Retrospect 6.1 users who purchased the product after January 14, 2008. For new users, Retrospect 8 comes in a variety of flavors ranging in price from $129 to $1,669, depending on the size of the network.