Network Agents

Network Agents, divided on Workstation Agents and Server Agents, are the main components for data copying. The Agent provides access to the computer’s resources and a uniform interface to objects (file system, databases, FTP, e-mail servers).

All objects are represented in the form of files and folders, thus you can do different operations such as copy, delete, view attributes, etc. When you perform backup tasks, Handy Backup accesses the file system through an Agent.

Both Workstation and Server Agents in simple explanation consist of two main components:

1

Filters

Filters are a special type of plug-ins for converting the data stream. Unlike file system plug-ins, filters do not provide access to the file system (file system plug-ins are terminal elements reading/writing data directly to the file system). The filters are logically built between the workstation and the plug-ins.

Here is an example how filters work in the case of data backup with compression and encryption options enabled:

  1. File system manager creates an instance of the file system plug-in and opens a file for writing.
  2. The data stream is sent through a chain of filters.
  3. ZIP-filter archives the data file with ZIP compression.
  4. BlowFish-filter encrypts that compressed data.
  5. The plug-in gets ready (already packed and encrypted) data stream.
2

Plug-ins

Network Agents use Handy Backup’s plug-in architecture. With the help of plug-ins the program has access to a particular file system. Agent provides a convenient interface to the computer’s data via plug-ins. Thus, the details and features of the file system are “hidden” in the plug-in.

Agent controls the loading of plug-ins (and their properties), mounts and dismounts the file system, authenticates the users and checks the availability of specific functions. Agent receives all commands from the Handy Backup Network (or Handy Backup Server Network), although in some cases, it can check the user’s authorization itself.


Differences between Workstation Agent and Server Agents


The main difference between Workstation and Server Agent is a built-in plug-in set. Workstation Agent aimed to do a full-featured backup of the computer’s resources and has a special interface to the objects (file system, e-mail servers).

Server Agent is more powerful because it also has special plug-ins for backing up databases and server applications: MS SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, Lotus Notes, and others.


Setting Up the Network Agent


Auto configuration this is the main method of setting up the backup network.

The Network Agent is installed as Windows service. When you create a backup network, try automatic installation of the Agent. As the all the Network Agent’s depends entirely on the administrator server-side commands, the service will automatically look for proper server in your network, and will try to connect it.

In cases where the program can not connect to the server, refer to the Network Agent Configuration.


Technologies behind Network Agents


Technologies used by Workstation and Server Agents include:

FUSE for Windows - a special module that allows any program to create their own file systems. FUSE is particularly useful for writing virtual file systems. Unlike traditional file system, a virtual file system does not store the data itself. It is a “presentation”, essentially a "bridge" between the actual kernel and an application.

ZIP Backup. ZIP is an extremely popular method of the data compression. Currently, the ZIP format is the standard for many applications, including backup and data exchange.

Blowfish Cipher. Blowfish is an effective method of data encryption. It uses a 64 -bit block size and variable key length from 32 bits up to 448 bits. It provides a highly reliable data protection.



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