We have been providing offsite backup services for about 100 of our customers for years, using pcAnywhere at both ends. Our three host computers are standard PCs running Win7 Pro. This setup works well, except for two insurmountable problems with the pcAnywhere software:
1) If it loses the connection, it can't automatically restart.
2) Only one customer PC can be connected to the host at a time.
So I'm wondering if FTP software will be better--doing everything pcAnywhere does, plus solving these two problems. I found a site that says SmartFTP is the best client software, so wrote them an email with a few questions (since there is apparently no way to talk to a person). Here is the narrative:
>1) I see that it can auto-reconnect, which is one of the important things pcAnywhere cannot do. How does this work? Does it reconnect a preset number of times, or does it keep on trying “forever”? Does the transfer pick back up where it left off, or does it start all over?
=> It can be setup. Default is 99 times. Transfers are resumed.
2) In pcAnywhere, I have a ‘queue’, where I can set up commands telling it which folders to copy from the local PC, and where to copy them to on the remote PC. They also offer a command where I can tell it to run a batch file on the host PC. And, I can save this queue and run it from within a DOS batch file, thus completely automating it to run at night. Can I do all these same functions with SmartFTP?
With programming/scripting yes but you have to write your own scripts.
>3) Say I have 25 customers backing up to one host PC. Would I buy 25 copies of your software for those 25 PCs? And then what would I need to purchase for the host PC?
Yes you need 25 licenses + FTP server.
>4) I would need to be able to set up the scripts (?) on all 25 of those PCs somewhat differently, in terms of telling the software where to copy the files and folders on the host PC. Can I do this?
You can use the same script
5) Does the software have the ability to zip or compress data before it sends it—or would I need to zip the data in a batch file before running the SmartFTP app?
No you have to zip the files yourself. But transfers are compressed/encrypted.
Now I'm realizing that I also have to have FTP server software. Like I say, I want something that can run on these same Win7 PCs already in place. It does not need to be free--just reasonable. Any suggestions on server software for my purposes?
Also...am I headed in the right direction overall? Or, is there a better way to handle my file transfer/backup problems for my customers? TIA