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CA ARCserve Backup r12.5 review

CA’s latest release of ARCserve is quite unique - including space saving data deduplication feature as standard. But does it actually work in practice?

ARCserve can securely manage all passwords used for encrypted backups whilst Media Assure jobs check deduplicated data at regular intervals to ensure that it is not only readable but recoverable. Role based administration is supported and a feature that will appeal to larger businesses is the ARCserve Dashboard, which includes full storage resource management (SRM) reporting facilities.

Using a Boston Supermicro dual 2.5GHz L5420 Xeon rack server running Windows Server 2003 R2, we found installation a swift affair helped along with an express option for a standalone backup server. The management console sees some minor improvements but we've always found it easy enough to use.

You get a backup wizard on first contact and a navigation bar pops up when requested to provide easy access to the various functions. Basic backup is a simple three-step process where you pick your source data, decide where to secure it and then schedule the job.

For deduplication you create a new backup device type and decide where the data, reference and index files are to be stored. These can be in separate locations and also on remote systems as well. CA doesn't have any published claims about deduplication ratios so to test this we created our own set of tests that looked at performance for file server operations.

We used a 4GB data set consisting of 1,000 files and introduced controlled changes within a percentage of the files during a simulated standard backup strategy consisting of daily incrementals and weekly full backups. After the first full backup was completed, two per cent of the data was modified in 40 per cent of the files prior to each subsequent backup.

ARCserve's reporting facilities were used to determine the amount of data sent to the appliance and how much was actually being stored on it. After a two week simulation we saw ARCServe deliver a deduplication ratio of 5.3:1 showing good savings on storage are quite feasible.

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