As part of my new role with StorageCraft, I’m heading to the USA on Saturday to spend a week with the team in Salt Lake City (my first visit to this place). I’ll be talking to everyone I can from the CEO down to the guys on the support desk. I’ve got my own thoughts on what they do well, and what they can improve on with the product, support, marketing, you name it. However one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is that it’s not just my thoughts that count but those of the community, so I want to take direct feedback from the community to StorageCraft.
So my question for you is this… what do you like about their products and company and conversely what do you not like? What can they do to improve the ShadowProtect offerings for us as resellers? Please feel free to email me direct here or leave comments on this blog post. I’m really keen to take as much feedback to them as I can. Thanks in advance!
Richard Grace says
The size of the install is tiny which is good.
In reference to the IT edition on USB.
Mine doesn’t automatically load the shadowprotectpe when inserted but I’m not sure that it’s meant to.
When you boot from the USB stick it slooooooowwwwwwwwww.
It just takes forever.
I have’nt been able to find much current documentation.
eg, what MBR options should I select if I’m restoring a server C: drive?
Mostly I do this by trial and error.
But I would love to find a document that has various scenarios well documented.
Brad Lynch says
My biggest issue with StorageCraft is the lack of out of hours support. I had issues restoring a Virutal server and there was no one to help. It was quicker to rebuild the server than wait til Monday morning to get the support that I needed.
Phil Malpas says
i have found the recent IT version on USB has a problem in that the two I have do not boot.
if I make and image using the IT with windows, i have to restore with the CD, and the result seems to restore ok, but does not boot!
Terry Good says
After hours support is an issue Wayne. As you know a large amount of major IT work is not done during business hours so after hours support is imperative. In saying that the support I have received when required has been spot on and quick to resolve my issues.
The new pricing of the IT edition, I feel, will drop the demand for what I consider to be a great product that I use quite often.
My USB stick does boot OK.and I have found it to be fairly quick.
I agree with Richard on the documentation scenarios.
Jim Tanner says
Second Terry’s comments.
From all reports, SPs growth in ANZ has been huge the past few years. Seams strange that they suddenly need to increase the price of the IT edition in the midst of this growth. One would think that the growth is at least partly due to us, the IT guys, pushing their product and our reward is a threefold increase in the IT edition.
The new pricing of the IT edition will be an issue. It will change the purchase decision from “I must” to “Can I go thirds with some of my coleagues and hope that I don’t need the USB the same time they do” Probably illegal but a fact. Even though this is now an essential part of my kit, I am a one man operation and price is a huge part of the purchase decision.
I have had no issues with the USB, and the ISO that is on the stick, burnt to CD . Always boots either one or the other. Haven’t noticed a change in boot times between USB and the old CDs. Love the way I can add drivers for odd RAID cards etc to the USB. Saves a lot of time.
Andrew Shugg says
These things are definitely covered by Jack in the free training sessions around Australia, though I agree that actual help etc _within_ the application (esp. IT Edition) would be very beneficial.
Jack’s advice: always install new MBR rather than MBR from image file, and run “chkdsk /f” on the drive after the restore.
If you go to http://www.storagecraft.com.au and click into the Knowledge Base you can find various PDFs written by Jack and others about the recommended ways to do things like HIR.
Andrew Shugg says
* for a long time IT Edition could have used things like fixboot and fixmbr, not sure if they’re in the latest edition, haven’t looked, not sure if they were absent due to licensing issue
* proper help and documentation in IT edition! wouldn’t hurt or be too hard to include the PDFs from the APAC knowledge base surely (not asking for Internet access + web browser)
* 24/7 phone support? even if overnight/weekend means the call is diverted to the US
Andrew Shugg says
* reseller support from APAC team has been very good
* product itself is a real winner
Tony Heydeman says
The “Tape is dead” declaration was a little premature I think. A solid solution to do continuous incremental replication across the internet would be fantastic. I believe the current solution doing FTP to a server of your choice is too clunky and not reliable enough as a primary offsite backup strategy (allowing us to truly do away with tape).
It needs to be storagecraft code at both ends of the wire with very robust reporting and error detection.
The biggest concern I have always had with this kind of solution is what happens when someone dumps a great big file (like a .spf image!) somewhere where it shouldn’t have been dumped, and the backup strategy completely chokes trying to replicate it offsite.
If storagecraft can come up with a robust solution for this backup scenario it would be fantastic!
Other nice feature would be restoring to smaller volumes being a native feature at restore time, rather than mount the image read / write on another machine and selecting shrink at dismount, which I have never had much success with.
Oh yeah, 24/7 support would be great too. I have left a message with the after hours paging service and had a call back 20 minutes later, which was a pleasant surprise.
Have fun in Salt Lake!
Bill Hole says
Lack of drive rotation support. Many clients move to ShadowProtect from NTBackup and a large portion of them like carrying a removeable hard drive offsite just like they did with SBS backup. SP needs to have better support for drive rotation other than syncing a temp drive. That’s wonky and creates a Frankenstein solution.
Also, my other big wish list is to have SP hook into the SBS console and report. Clients see that NTBackup didn’t run and assume that they have no backup. It would be great if SP status got onto the console and Performance Report!
Ryan O'Dwyer says
Product is great, VirtualBoot is great and worthy addition,
Can it integrate into SBS 2008 Console for reporting?
Can the next IT edition USB Key have a read/write switch, its the only sure way without going back to the CD that we know for sure nothing additional has been created on the USB without our knowledge.
Tony Heydeman says
Another experience to report – I just discovered that two storagecraft instances (ver 4.0.0) at one of my clients had stopped functioning and were reporting as expired.
I checked and both had valid license keys entered.
Hit the activate button and problem fixed.
I am fairly sure the product activates automatically when the license key is entered – so it would appear to have unactivated itself somehow. Secondly, if a license key is entered and the product reaches the end of its trial period, it should try automatically activating rather than going into an expired state.
George Nade says
I agree with the others that the product is great and has saved me a number of times.
I have 3 matters that annoy me.
1. THe daily reports are flakey. Sometime arrive and then dont. Test emails always work.
2. The image manager needs to allow change of the off site USB drive without having to restart the service when the disk is changed.
3. WIth the IT edition I asked recently if the USB needs to be left in the machine whilst the full restore or backup is done and was told it does. It would be good to be able to get the process started and then take out the usb Stick. This would mean that work could be done from remote without having to wait till the process finished before leaving the client premises. This would be especially handy when working with large files. This would not detract from the need to have a secured licence on the IT edition.
I hpoe you can get some of these items resolved.
Have a safe and successful trip.
Mark Giles says
I have been doing quite a bit of testing with the offsite replication using IME and although it is a big step in the right direction I also believe the product is not yet robust enough to put total trust in it and would like better reporting.
I also have uncovered a bug in IME that is in both 4.0 and 4.01. If you suspend the offsite replication as I have done on a couple of times during my testing, if the server that has IME installed is rebooted, when it comes back online it re-enables the offsite replication AND sends the image instantly instead of when it is scheduled to at midnight. I suspect stopping and restarting the IME service may do the same thing but have not tested that yet.
Karen Christian says
Excellent product. Interface is easy to use/understand. Recovery to new hardware works well. Price for IT version is out of our range now (we did not renew IT version this year). Move to USB key was poorly communicated by StorageCraft last year. Did not receive change notifications from SC and when I requested info to get that issue resolved was ignored (multiple times). Had to get my info from posts by others to sbs2k YG. With image backup available in W2K8 and W7 the need for ShadowProtect has declined (the cost/benefit to small businesses not there when spending is heavily scrutinized).
Hope you get the information and answers you seek.
Wayne Small says
Thanks for all the great feedback guys – keep it coming. I’m happy to see both positive and negative feedback as it helps StorageCraft understand both sides of the equation. Keep it coming!
Marc Weller says
As others have mentioned, it’s a great product and has saved me numerous times. One negative thing I have noticed is that when upgrading from 4.0 to 4.01, the product reverts back to trial mode, which caught me out the first couple of times and caused the program to expire and backups to fail. Sometimes the program remembered the serial number, and other times it cleared it out. In addition, when trying to re-activate it errors and says no more activations are available for the serial number, which meant contacting support so they could reset the activation count. I could understand re-activation after upgrading from 3.5 to 4.0, but it shouldn’t be necessary after such a minor update. The support guys I’ve talked to haven’t been able to answer why this happens either.
Jonathan Schwartz says
Many issues with StorageCraft:
1st – is the lack of out of hours support and long waiting for somebody during normal hours.
2nd – IT Edition – with USB Hardware Lock suprise! Cancel my IT Edition and went with Paragon Software IT Edition.
3rd – Pricing way too much compared to you what you get.
StorageCraft a very good product but costs way to much compared to Paragon Software. To backup 3 servers SBS and 2 W2K3 Servers = SC $2100 aprox. and where Paragon was $799 with up to ten servers.
David Benet says
Fantastic performance when you use the correct hardware.
Documentation has always been their weakest link in my opinion.
Out of hours support is a nice to have. You should be have tested your scenario before needing to use in production. The price hike in AU is very dissapointing. Coupled with the switch to USB media has really left me wondering if continuing on with them is going to be worth it once my IT edition subscription runs out.
The least they could do is waive maintenance on internal use ShadowProtect Server/Desktop licences. MSP pricing would also be very welcome. I use Labtech and would like to have the flexibility the MSP program affords.
No complaints about ACA Pacific on the disti side, they are friendly and usually very fast at turning around orders.
I have to chime in on the price too. The one thing I have a problem with is what I perceive as the double-billing for the regular SP product and then again for the offsite replication. No problem if you need to charge upfront for the IME or something, but $300 per-job is too steep. My strong feeling is that the main product should include at least the first IME job for free as I believe that’s kinda core functionality. For $1000 I should at least be able to get that included. If people need more replication jobs etc then sure, maybe charge for those. You can’t simply apply an enterprise pricing model to the SMB market and expect it to just work. Get to know your partners like you are doing here and they will tell you what will work best for their customers.
I agree with Tony Heydeman above – the replication seems a little clunky. But I get the same feeling with the product in general – it just seems like it can always use a little extra polish version after version (better reporting, easy access to logs, better explanation on what incremental forever really means, just more polish and transparency all around).
Pricing is somewhat of a concern – bundle IME or at least make it really worth paying for.
Otherwise, what it does well is fast and efficient incremental snapshots.
Great product, years ahead of backup exec. I feel that IME needs to be intergrated into the core product and not be so expensive. Most of my clients are the SMB environment with 10 or less machines and usually just one SBS server. We backup to a quality external hard drive and then use IME to copy the nigtly changes offsite to a 3rd party for the off-site copy. Because IME is so expensive we bought and used SyncBack Pro frequently, but I have had problems with it and always try to get the customer to buy IME. It would also be nice to get that remote image verified so I know that the offsite can be restored 100% of the time.
I forgot to add these to the last posts, but the other huge points for me is paying est 300 for image manager for the desktop edition of shadow protect, or again in a small business paying twice the price to protect a server standard machine vs an SBS server. I have some tiny clients who have server standard to share files for a few users. They choke when I give them the price to back that that.
steve bilbrey says
This is a response i sent to acronis down below……, it had worked quite well for several years , then they starting changing it , took about 2-4 hours to install and changed the interface dramatically . I downloaded your software
, i couldn’t believe how well this works . This is a comment i made to acronis after using wks11 .Your backups are fast and highly retrievable , the only option i do not like is having to reboot to backup images to other drives if i interpretted it correctly , so far i am impressed .acronis used to work this well, but they are in dream land now . I want to do some more testing but i’m pretty much sold on your software at the moment. Good Fracking Job , A backup company who understands the needs of a very good backup software system that installs and can go back and restire any image or file. The cloud is great but if you have large amounts of data ,it could be three days before it is useable,with one backup on site you are up and running in about 2-8 hours. Thanks
Ever since you guys went from version 9 to 10>,the quality of the product has gone downhill , most upgrades fail repeatedly …All of my systems are fast , I keep up with the latest and best ( time is money)…….
Every time I spend over two to -? hours to upgrade is ridiculous . All your older versions work immaculately .The new products are not tested properly . You used to have some super programmers , they did not fix what was not broken .I loved acronis products , Now , they have done all they can to complicate the installs !!. One thing I have learned for dealing with computers is if it is not broken…. DO NOT FIX AND TAKE 3 STEPS BACK.
I say this out of respect .Test these products before they hit the streets , WITH PEOPLE THAT HAVE Familiarity with the product. You guys still have the golden egg but you are doing your best to destroy it.
Now I have to turn to other back – up providers .?
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