CA Releases ArcServe 2000

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA, recently released the latest version of ArcServe, the company's storage management software.

ArcServe2000 offers new features that extend the functionality of storage systems, particularly SANs. The software is designed to allow administrators to manage their storage with a minimum of tweaking and a maximum of automation. "We tried to improve the system administrators’ end user experience," says Peter Malcolm, senior vice president, storage management, at CA.

The most significant feature included in ArcServe 2000 is its serverless backup technology. Serverless backup improves the performance of SANs, and is useful for organizations that demand 24x7 uptime.

Serverless backup moves data from primary storage to backup devices without running the data through a server’s processor. Serverless backup is a bit of a misnomer. It does require a server to send commands to the switches and devices to move data from one place to another, but the actual data is moved directly from device to device, rather than through the server.

Running data though a server imposes a serious performance tax that crimps the functionality of a network. Traditionally, backups were performed after business hours. At one time the entire network had to come down to back it up, but later developments allowed the network to stay live when backing up, but it still bogged down the system. Serverless backups allow the network to stay live with minimal impact on performance or end user experience.

Reducing the drag on performance is vital to organizations that operate on 24x7 timetables. Since these enterprises have end users accessing the network at all hours, there is no backup window when the network can be conveniently put to sleep, or at least slowed down. "The backup window has become too small for many businesses," Malcolm says.

Malcolm does not feel that an organization needs to be an e-business to take advantage of the new functionality of ArcServe2000. "Old economy businesses are adopting SANs for different reasons," he says. Health care organizations, for example, frequently work on a 24x7 schedule, and then there are companies that simply appreciate the robustness and performance of SANs without the need for round the clock operation.

CA rolled out its serverless backup before a standard has been adopted by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA, Although CA is first out the gate with serverless backup, some organizations are hesitant to release the technology without adoption by SNIA.

Dan Tanner, senior analyst, storage and storage management, at the Aberdeen Group Inc. (, believes the risk of releasing ArcServe 2000 with serverless backup before a standard is adopted is minimal. Serverless backup technology relies on the SCSI move command, which has been implemented in the majority of SAN devices.

Another feature of ArcServe is data sharing. With data sharing, multiple users can access the same file at nearly the same time. This is a benefit for e-businesses and companies that rely on collaborative environments.

Malcolm discusses a possibly overlooked feature of ArcServe: its automated virus scans. When a device is backed up, ArcServe scans for virus signatures and remedies the situation before the data is backed up. This ensures that the network is not reinfected with an old virus.

Malcolm vaunts the ease of installing ArcServe, which is marketed as an out-of-the-box solution. He says most users are able to get it up and running in about 10 minutes. "We’ve put all of the intelligence in the software," he says.

ArcServe 2000 fully integrates with Unicenter TNG, CA’s network management framework. The framework is bundled with the software, allowing users to install the framework when the storage software is implemented.