CA Unwraps New ARCServe for Backup

BrightStor ARCServe 9 boasts usability, reliability enhancements, simplified pricing model.

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) this week announced version 9 of BrightStor ARCServe Backup. CA bills ARCServe 9 as a significant redesign of its flagship backup product for Windows, Linux and NetWare.

New in BrightStor ARCServe 9 are a variety of ease-of-use, reliability and scalability improvements. In addition, CA says that its new version of ARCServe will ship with a simplified licensing model.

David Liff, vice-president of CA's BrightStor brand, says that BrightStor ARCServe 9's revamped user-interface makes it easier for first-time or non-administrative users to perform backups. To that end, he indicates, CA has streamlined the workflow processes associated with performing backups or initiating restores in the ARCServe environment. "The most obvious thing to do for us was to understand the user interface, and we basically gave our development engineers the task of looking at the ergonomics of the products in great detail to try to really understand step by step what the user expects."

Gabriel Zaldivar, a BrightStor ARCServe 9 beta customer and network administrator with maritime shipping outfit Pacific Maritime Association, says the user interface delivers the goods. "One of the important changes that I noticed is the interface. It is much easier to use and is more friendly, if you compare [it] with the older versions."

Zaldivar describes BrightStor ARCServe 9's new user-interface as "more intuitive," and says that even users unfamiliar with its functions are able to quickly get up to speed on it. "There are a number of people [in our organization] who weren't really familiar with [BrightStor ARCServe] and they found it very, very easy to use."

BrightStor ARCServe 9 also includes several reliability enhancements. For example, it now supports multiple network interface cards so backup administrators can specify how data is backed up across a network. According to CA's Liff, this eliminates congestion by routing backup traffic over a secondary network. In addition, Liff points out, it also has the practical effect of increasing ARCServe's resiliency. "You can separate your backup traffic from data traffic on separate network cards, and this in effect gives you redundant paths in the event of a network outage."

Pacific Maritime's Zaldivar says that during beta testing, ARCServe 9 was more stable than the ARCServe 2000 product that preceded it.

CA's new version of ARCServe boasts several fresh features, including a backup-to-disc facility as well as support for the Network Data Management Protocol, which, Liff says, makes it possible to backup a network-attached storage (NAS) device to a tape library on the back of another NAS device. "These are functions that are very important to people who have large environments," he says, noting that enterprise backup windows are shrinking even as the amount of data that enterprises must backup is increasing. "A faster way of using your environment is to back up your data to a disc system and then once the backup is complete move it to tape."

Like its predecessors, BrightStor ARCServe Backup 9 must be hosted on a Windows, NetWare or Linux platform. The product includes free client push agents for a variety of Unix platforms, including AIX from IBM Corp.; HP-UX from Hewlett-Packard Co.; OpenServer and UnixWare from the Santa Cruz Operation; Irix from Silicon Graphics Inc.; and Solaris on SPARC and Solaris on Intel from Sun Microsystems Inc.

ARCServe licensing model has been drastically restructured in version 9. ARCServe 2000, for example, offered as many as 15 different upgrade paths from previous versions, all of which were available at different price points. Liff says that CA will now offer only two upgrade paths to BrightStor ARCServe Backup 9. "Anyone who has ARCServe 2000 version 4 can upgrade to ARCServe 9 at one price, and anyone who has any other version can upgrade at another price."

Liff notes that new customers will pay the same price for ARCServe 9 regardless of whether they plan to deploy it on Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2000 Datacenter Server Edition, for example.

Anders Lofgren, a senior industry analyst with consultancy Giga Information Group, says that ARCServe 9's revised licensing should make things easier for existing customers, and could also attract new customers. "[Pricing is] a common compliant that you hear from customers, not specific to CA, [that] many times the ordering and licensing schemes and the pricing become way too complicated. Many times vendors end up recalibrating their licensing and pricing schemes … to make it easier to understand what [customers are] buying and what they're paying for."

BrightStor ARCServe Backup 9 is available today for Windows. Liff says that a version for NetWare—which is currently in beta—should ship in "about four weeks." Similarly, ARCServe 9 for Linux, also in beta, is slated to ship "about four weeks after [ARCServe 9 for NetWare]." Liff cautions, however, that these are not firm shipping dates: "We will not launch either product until customers tell us the time is right."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.