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                          Review: Diavolo 3.4 PRO
  Ivo Kroone                                             ivo@pimpernel.nl
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Naming a backup program "Diavolo" (Devil) is probably the worst name anyone
can think of for a backup program.  Who in their right mind would trust
his/her priceless data to the Devil?  After using the program for 2 weeks I
for one would.

Hardware used for testing:

Amiga 3000T/040 (2MB chip, 8 MB fast)  Amiga 500 plus (1MB chip, 2MB fast)
KickStart 3.1                          KickStart 2.04
1.4 G harddisk space                   520 MB harddisk space
Toshiba 4.5 speed CD-ROM               A570 single speed CD-ROM
built in SCSI controller               Supra XP ByteSync SCSI controller
          both with a Wang DDS/DAT-streamer model 3100 0.02 SCSI

UNPACKING AND INSTALLING

Making a living out of the Amiga means data needs to be backed up very
safely.  I opted for a Wang 3100 DAT streamer (officially "DSS DAT drive"),
capable of storing 2 G on one tape at a speed of 20 MB per minute.  Buying
a tape streamer also meant choosing software.  The choice was between
AmiBack, Quarterback, BackMan and Diavolo.  Development for both AmiBack
and Quarterback seems to have ceased anyway so they were not a real option.
Tape streamer support in BackMan (shareware!) is very limited compared to
Diavolo.

Clearly Diavolo is developed by a real Amiga freak.  The program uses the
standard Commodore installer utility, Magic Workbench (but does not depend
on it), a font sensitive GUI, drag and drop file selection, XPK compression
libraries and internal multi tasking.  The user interface is ace!

While installing the program will suggest to make an emergency boot disk. 
If the entire harddisk crashes, this disk can be used to boot from, run
Diavolo and restore the data.  The installer script includes a plug for
Magic Workbench, asking to install a demo version.  The script will ask the
user to install/replace some libraries.  Wether the user has a VLab motion
board or not, the VLab motion support library will be installed.  Perhaps
the program can check for that board first and only install the library if
needed?  Installation does not include personalization.  The unique serial
number is already "burned" into the program on the original disk.

USING DIAVOLO

Backups can be made to disk (both HD and DD), removable media (such as ZIP
or EZdrive), an AmigaDOS file or tape steamer.  Backups can be compressed
using any XPK compression library.  The default settings have suggested
compressors for each CPU.  A password and/or encryption can also be
applied.  When using a device that already compresses the data itself, one
should not have Diavolo compress the data as well.

Sources can be AmigaDOS volumes, AFS volumes and even custom file systems
like Macintosh or NetBSD partitions.  Using the MAC handler is it is even
possible to backup a Shapeshifter disk file wise.  Partitions have to be
mounted for Diavolo to see them.  To avoid useless icons on my Workbench I
have both my Shapeshifter and NetBSD partitions not auto mounted, therefore
Diavolo cannot see them.  The program did, however, see the shared
NetBSD/VMM virtual memory partition (which is also not auto mounted).  The
author suggests using a utility like SCSImounter to fix this problem.

Selecting files to be backed up (from any AmigaDOS compatible medium) is
very simple but can be made very complex on demand.  A directory tree with
MagicWB style 8 colour icons for volumes, drawers and assigns can be used
to visually select files.  Files can be selected individually, per
directory or per volume.  Using the advanced selection options one can make
filters to include or exclude files by date, archive bit, filename or
pattern.  These filters can be saved to disk or be edited using a text
editor for later use.  The manual provides examples on how to create such
files from scratch by hand.  A none AmigaDOS partition can only be backed
up and restored as a whole.

After backup archive bits can be set automatically.  After storing a CD-ROM
on tape it took some effort to convince Diavolo to stop displaying a "disk
is write protected" request for every file.  Hard- and soft linked files
and/or directories can be backed up as such on demand.

BACKUP TO DISK

When backing up to disk Diavolo will calculate the number of disks needed
for that backup.  When using compression this estimate will be the maximum
number of disks.  Of course all drives connected to the system can be used,
including high density drives.  While backing up bad sectors on a
destination disk can optionally be skipped so the disk can still be used. 
As Diavolo is a multi tasking program, the user can alter the backup
configuration while making a backup.

BACKUP TO FILE

A backup to an AmigaDOS file can be useful to compact a lot of small unused
files into one big file.  Also a none AmigaDOS partition can temporarily be
stored as an AmigaDOS file.  The standard options like compression and
encryption can still be used.  If a volume is full while writing a file
Diavolo will allow the user to continue that file on a different volume!

BACKUP TO REMOVABLE

Lacking a removable drive I was not able to try this option.  According to
the author of Diavolo is big advantage of directly writing to a removable
instead of writing a file to a removable is speed.  If a backup doesn't not
fit on one removable disk multiple disks can be used.

BACKUP TO TAPE

Diavolo is without a doubt the best backup program when it comes to
configuring for tape steamers.  Every tape streamer related parameter is
configurable making sure the program makes the most out of the hardware. 
Diavolo can "interrogate" a tape streamer and thereby configure all
parameters automatically.  The well written English manual explains every
single parameter but clearly states that auto config will always be better.

Diavolo's strongest point is tape streamer support.  Because of the linear
nature of a tape, the contents of a backup are written to harddisk for easy
access.  Every backup should be given a name for future reference.  Before
writing any data to the tape a window pops up showing the contents of that
tape showing the backup name, date and size.  The user can either append a
backup or overwrite the last backup(s) on the tape.

When backing up to tape the system gains speed while working.  After
setting the best buffers and task priorities for my hardware according to
the manual, the average speed when storing the Fujitsu harddisk in my A3000
to tape is 12 MB per minute.  Using the Amiga 500 with Quantum harddisk
this speed was reduced to 5 MB per minute.  I also backed up an Amiga 1200
harddisk via the AmigaTalk network, resulting in a speed of 1 MB per
minute.  As this is a floppy port based network this low speed can be
blamed entirely on the network hardware.  Backup from CD-ROM (one can fit 3
filled to capacity CD-ROMs on a single DDS tape!) also works without any
problems.  I tried this both using the Toshiba 4.5 speed CD-ROM in the
A3000 and the A570 in the A500.

Using both data (3M 90 minutes and Sony 90 minutes) and audio (3M 120
minutes) DAT tapes the result remains the same.  The audio tapes did not
show any more errors while comparing but I've been told that most DAT
streamers simply don't recognize audio tapes as valid tapes.

RESTORING DATA

Every backup can be compared to the original afterwards.  If using verify
when backing up to disks this is not very useful.  A tape however can only
be verified after writing all data.  While comparing a report is produced
showing which files differ from the tape according to file content, header
or date.  Regrettably this process always crashes half way on my Amiga 3000
(always a different GURU number).  As it works flawlessly on my Amiga 500
as well as on a friend's Amiga 4000/040 I blame my A3000, not Diavolo.

While restoring an existing file, this file can either be overwritten or
renamed.  Diavolo having internal multi tasking also allows the user to
configure restore settings while already restoring!

Reliability when restoring from disk is excellent.  Diavolo needs tracks 0
and 79 for vital information about the disk.  Every other track may be
invalid and Diavolo can still continue to restore the readable tracks. 
While restoring bad files, sectors or disks can be skipped.  Diavolo will
always try to restore every last possible bit of data.  Even when the index
is missing and only one single disk of a backup set remains, the data from
that single disk can be restored (providing at least tracks 0 and 79 are
readable).

Just like reliability from disk, tapes are surely not forgotten either.  If
the index on harddisk gets lost, it can be rebuilt from tape.  Of course if
both tape and disk are partly unreadable that part of the index cannot be
rescued.  If a tape itself is unreadable it is upto the streamer to decide
what options remain.  Diavolo has little control over the process inside
the hardware so this is very much up to the user's particular hardware.

MISCELLANEOUS

Diavolo PRO comes with a scheduler and daemon to auto backup data.  My
computer is not online 24 hours a day and personally I prefer to backup the
harddisks whenever I feel like it.  Regarding in superb quality of the
backup program itself I have no reason to believe that the quality of the
scheduler and daemon is any less.

Some German programs (i.e.  MultiFax, Retina software) have poor or half
translations.  Except for the German text on the box, this English version
of Diavolo has not a trace of any German text string in it.  The English
manual is very well written; it is clear, contains useful examples with
pictures and a handy "question and answer" appendix.

Updates and patches can only be obtained via Computer Conrner because of
the serial number in the software.  Despite of what the manual says the
NATHAN mailbox cannot longer be reached.  Further more the address of the
author has changed to: korndoerfer@t-online.de

Diavolo is notorious in the illegal software circuit.  Versions with nasty
viruses have been around as well a versions that will backup but never
restore data.  The author of Diavolo did everything possible to create the
absolute best backup software for the Amiga todate.  Diavolo comes in a
standard and pro version, both at very reasonable prices.  Destroying the
fragile Amiga market by spreading failing copies of a program is not Elite,
it is the worst kind of user a platform can have.

CONCLUSION

A couple of years ago Quarterback and AmiBack were good packages but
Diavolo clearly passed them by a long shot.  The shareware program BackMan
is a jewel in its own right but cannot compare to Diavolo when it comes to
reliability and support for devices like removables and tape streamers.

Diavolo is without a doubt the best backup program for the Amiga.  The user
interface has the looks and feel one expects from a 1996 Amiga program.
The program can backup everything and will store it on every medium
supported by the Amiga hardware.  Even if the backup medium itself fails,
Diavolo will do everything it can to restore whatever data is left.
Diavolo is the kind of program trust my precious data to, regardless of the
name!

Likes:
- reliability
- excellent SCSI tape streamer support
- user interface
- ability to backup non AmigaDOS partitions
- author's devotion to Amiga

Dislikes:
- name
- program size (with over 500k it will hardly load AND store tape contents
  in memory of my Amiga 500)

Price:
DM 139 for Diavolo PRO
DM  89 for Diavolo standard

Computer Corner
Diavolo Backup Support
Albert- RoFhaupter-Str. 108
81369 Munchen
Germany

tel.: +49 89 714 10 34, fax.: +49 89 714 43 95