Review: Arcserve UDP

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Review: Arcserve UDP

When CA launched its new Arcserve UDP (Unified Data Protection) software, it claimed the product was its biggest release for 15 years and offered features no competitor could match. Since then, CA has spun off its Arcserve unit to Marlin Equity Partners, though the vendor is still working closely with the new owners during the transition.

The solution wraps a number of CA’s data-protection products into one package, offering protection of both physical and virtual environments, and delivers de-duplication and replication as standard.

It’s a common misconception that Arcserve UDP is a replacement for Arcserve Backup. This simply isn’t the case; the company does plan to merge together all its backup solutions, but not for a couple of years. In the meantime, the vendor recommends that businesses using tape as a primary backup stage continue to use Arcserve Backup, while only those requiring image-based backup should use Arcserve UDP.

Four versions of Arcserve UDP are available, with licensing based on physical CPU sockets or the number of terabytes of data to be backed up. The Standard version starts at US$595.20 excluding GST for a single-socket licence, and you’ll need a licence for the sockets on each Windows and Linux host you wish to protect.

A key feature of Arcserve UDP is its Recovery Point Server (RPS). This defines a central location where data is backed up and provides de-duplication and replication services. It can contain multiple data stores, where each performs global de-duplication and has its own data-block location, hash database and index. The database can be located on a different volume to the block store, while hash index operations can be accelerated by running in RAM or on an SSD.

An RPS can be replicated using a special backup task that defines the local and remote RPS, plus a schedule. The Jumpstart feature handles remote RPS seeding, creating a temporary data store on external media, replicating data to it and then exporting to the remote RPS.

General installation is swift: we had Arcserve UDP loaded on a Windows Server 2012 R2 system in minutes. The new web console is easy on the eye and provides a quick-start wizard for adding protected nodes, defining backup destinations and creating backup plans.

Backup nodes can also be added manually, discovered from Active Directory or imported from a file. You can then push the UDP agent to each one for backup and bare-metal recovery by using the Advanced version of Arcserve UDP. 

Adding VMs is even easier. We used the import option to browse our Hyper-V and VMware hosts and add selected VMs: this doesn’t require any agents, but VMs must be running for the pre-flight check and backups to work.

Next, you create backup plans, which contain selected nodes, a destination, the number of recovery points required and a schedule. Instead of an RPS, you can use a local disk or shared folder as a destination, but de-duplication won’t be available in this case.

Infinite Incremental strategy runs a full backup followed by smaller jobs that only copy changed blocks, and it’s possible to set the plan to run incremental backups as often as every 15 minutes. One smart feature is virtual standby, which uses recovery points to create a VM of a node. This keeps the VM up to date with the latest data; if the node goes down, Arcserve UDP can fire the VM up for you.

For agent-based backup, Arcserve UDP performs de-duplication locally at the source and globally on the RPS data store. We tested this by backing up a 95GB Windows 8.1 client and saw de-duplication and compression reduce this to only 38.2GB on the RPS.



Channel Angle

Distributors Express Data (Aust); Westcon (NZ)

RRP Available in: Standard, Advanced, Premium and Premium Plus. Licensing can be per TB of data being protected or per socket. Arcserve UDP Standard starts from US$595.20 ex GST

Launched May 2014

Product range

• UDP Standard provides image-based protection for file servers with tape migration

• UDP Advanced provides image-based protection for file and application servers with tape migration

• UDP Premium provides file-based protection capabilities to both disk and tape, in addition to image-based protection

• UDP Premium Plus includes high availability and application level replication capabilities

The reviewers say “CA’s Arcserve UDP simplifies backup and is suited to businesses with a mix of physical and virtual environments. Along with built-in de-duplication, it provides valuable data-protection features such as virtual standby and RPS replication, and everything can be easily managed from a single console. It’s on our A-list”

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