Around Macworld time this year, there were rumors floating around that there were problems at the company that produces a pretty key piece of software for a lot of Mac production shops. The product? Retrospect. Retrospect is back up software. I’ve had a long 17 year love-hate relationship with Retrospect and my opinions have had the resultant peaks and valleys, so I wasn’t sure what to think of the rumors. There were initially some denials of problems with the program but now, it looks like Larry Zulch, the founder of Dantz the orginal parent company of Retrospect has left the company.
I’ve been here before, with an investment in a technology that seems to be going away. I tend to take a pragmatic approach as much as possible. Things usually don’t fall apart right away, but as each new software update is added to the puzzle you start to lose functionality. So you have to start your migration strategy early. I first do an inventory of the current technology landscape and what options are available. If there is a clear migration path (hint to backup vendors: If you can read a Retrospect catalog , reverse-engineer the tape format and make it seemless I’ll be the first in line) I’ll take that path. If not, it usually involves some sort of dual platform support until the first technology platform fades into the background. This path is less ideal because that first platform becomes so archaic, Jazz Disks anyone?, that you end up having ancient workstations dedicated to that format taking up valuable studio space. If the data is important, I’ve found that it makes sense to bite the bullet and migrate to the new format.
Either way, none of this is fun. I don’t have any definitive answers of what is the right direction to take, but I’ll be posting some of the information I find out as I do the research and see what’s out there. Feel free to leave comments about any information you have about good options for small and medium sizes businesses with the heavy back-up requirements that digital studios face.