EMC has launched a new version of its Mac backup software Retrospect.

As well as adding back support for PowerPC-based Macs, Retrospect 8.1 also improves performance on Intel-based Macs.

Eric Ullman, director of product management for Retrospect, said the product, which underwent a significant user interface rework in version 8, debuted initially without any support for PowerPC-based Macs.

But he said such systems still make up approximately 50 per cent of Retrospect users, so it was important for EMC to make sure to release a version of the software that ran on them.

"Apple doesn’t make PowerPC-based Macs anymore, but plenty of people still use them," he said. "Whether they’re hand-me-downs from other users who have upgraded to Intel-based Macs, or people who are just trying to extend the lives of otherwise useful systems."

Ullman said Retrospect is particularly well-suited for small and medium-sized businesses that may have outgrown Time Machine – Apple’s backup system integrated with Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard".

He added that the software is also useful for businesses that want to centralise backups.

With version 8.1, a PowerPC system that might have otherwise been relegated to a closet can now be used to manage a Retrospect backup server.

Other changes have also been made in version 8.1 to improve performance on Intel-based Macs. Backup, data verification and restore activities are all faster, and EMC says that local backup performance has been increased from 10 to 15 per cent over 8.0, 30 to 35 per cent over 6.1. PowerPC-based systems will also see a boost over 6.1 – faster, multiple G5 systems run 10 to 15 percent faster under 8.1.

Some more user interface tweaks have been made to Retrospect 8.1, as well – icons have been updated, workflow has been improved, and the software provides better responses to user actions, according to Ullman.

Retrospect 8.1 is available as a free upgrade for 8.0 users; Retrospect 6.1 users who bought their software after January 14, 2008 are entitled to a free upgrade. Upgrade prices are also available for other users.

The new release is available throughout EMC’s distribution network both as a boxed software product and through download services.

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