Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a list of frequently asked questions regarding our RKive.IT data backup system.

Do you provide the backup software?

Answer: As you can download any free or commercial software from the Internet to use with our data backup service, we feel it not necessary to bundle software or force you to use a particular piece of software.  In fact, you can use any software you like.  The software simply sees the network share where it saves the backup image to.  This saved data is then replicated to our data centre in Shropshire.  However, for best results, we have noticed that by using FBackup on a server and mirroring the data shares daily to an RKive.IT unit is a very efficient way of storing daily backups.  Note: As FBackup does not store the drive data, it needs to be used in conjunction with another piece of software to provide a bare metal recovery.  See this article on Windows Server Backup and this general advice page on types of backups.

Why use older Dell hardware?

Answer: These small form factor PCs take hardly any space, are extremely quiet, are reliable, are plentiful and readily available.  Before a RKive.IT unit goes out to a client, we overhaul the mechanicals, checking the moving parts like cooling fans and power supplies, and typically fit a new hard disc drive (unless it was replaced recently).  We also blow out any dust to ensure the machine stays cool and quiet during the summer months in a clients premises.

Can we use it as a server?

Answer: No.  There are some good technical reasons for this.  It does not have the resources to act as a multi-user file server with file locking.  Its data drive is formatted with NTFS so that it is compatible with Windows Backup.  However, this means that we have tuned the system to work as a data store expecting a single stream of data as would be expected from backup software.  A server on the other hand would be reading and writing smaller files simultaneously and requires a different disc geometry and memory configuration.  This would increase the cost of the rented RKive.IT units.

What size of data store can I have?

Answer: We can supply 250Gb, 500Gb, 1Tb, 2Tb, 3Tb and 4Tb systems.  Whatever size you choose, remember that we also supply the same data space in our cloud so that there is a 1 to 1 replication between the local RKive.IT unit in your premises and the remote cloud backup vault.

How do I choose what size I need?

Answer: If you are not already using a backup drive to check how full it is, we recommend you use Windows Explorer, click on My Computer, and from the disc usage graphs for each PC, you can determine the total volume currently needed.  To allow for data growth, we recommend a doubling of your calculation.

Can I backup multiple PCs to a RKive.IT unit?

Answer: Yes, simply create a folder on the RKive.IT unit for each PC to backup to.  We suggest each PC use FBackup in mirror mode.

What if I fill my unit?

Answer: We would have to ship you a replacement with a larger drive, and additionally pre-load it will all of your data.  Obviously, there is going to be a cost involved in this to cover the labour and the couriers in both directions.   It is better to size the correct unit allowing for growth in the first place.  Please see the previous question.

I have an existing USB HDD backup drive.  Can I connect that to my local unit?

Answer: Unfortunately, the software would not know what to do with it, nor where to replicate it to in the cloud.

Can I have periodic snapshots kept off line?

Answer: From April 2016 this is an cost optional extra each time we snapshot for you to cover the cost of the drive that contains the snapshot.  Basically we will insert a drive at our end and copy all of your data to it.  We will then retain the drive here free of charge for however long you have requested us to retain it, or, we will send it to you if you prefer.  You can always request the return of any drive from our lodge at any time in the future.  Every snapshot has a retention period.  Once that retention period as passed, you can elect to re-snapshot again, or the data deleted for security.

What is the notice period?

Answer: One calendar month, during which time, you need to return the unit to us at your own expense.  Should the unit not be returned, we will charge £99.00+VAT.

Can we have access inside the local backup unit?

Answer: No, as the unit contains our software.  We will make a repair charge for broken padlock/seals.

If the local unit breaks down, what do we do?

Answer: Call us on one of the above numbers and arrange a replacement unit with all of your data pre-loaded.  A replacement unit is free of charge so long as the padlock/seal is not broken.

Can I use the system with an ADSL broadband link?

Answer: No, because the uplink from an ADSL circuit is too slow.  Our system requires at least an Infinity or fibre connection.  If you have the most basic fibre connection and you are concerned that the RKive.IT unit might hog all the bandwidth, do not fear, there is a throttle you can set in the local RKive.IT units control panel.  Customers with the most basic links may need to seed initial data, (see below).  Supported links: Infinity, Fibre Broadband, Leased Line, EFM (Ethernet First Mile), Two Way Satellite Broadband, Wireless Internet (Metronet et al).  Unsupported links: Dial-Up, ADSL, 2G, 3G as these are just not fast enough or require expensive plans.

How long does it take to synchronise?

Answer: Most Infinity and fibre links typically synchronise 100Gb of data in a 24 hour period.  However, most customers do not change 100Gb of data every day.  So long as you are mirroring to a local RKive.IT unit, you will find that only the additions and changes within files need to be synchronised between the two NAS devices (your local RKive.IT unit and the remote off-site data storage vault).  Typically, most small businesses only change around 2 to 5Gb of data, as even on large files, the whole file does not change, only portions.  The synchronisation between local and cloud stores looks inside the files and synchronises only the portions that have changed making it very very efficient, hence the recommendation to use mirroring of data structures in your backup software (try FBackup) to your local RKive.IT unit.

Can we send you a drive with our initial seed data?

Answer: Yes, there is no charge for this service, and it is a sensible solution if you have considerable data to store.  We accept USB and SATA drives.  We do not support Firewire drives as our servers do not have firewire ports, sorry.

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