CA ARCserve r16: Taking Data Protection To Virtualized, Cloud Environments

CA this week rolled out the newest release of its ARCserve data protection suite, a release with a focus on helping customers and solution providers get ready for operations in the cloud.

CA ARCserve r16 provides a single solution for everything from simple file backups to image-based bare metal recovery to full system failover and high availability, said Steven Fairbanks, vice president of product management for CA's data management business.

With ARCserve r16, data is protected in physical and virtual IT infrastructures whether on premise or in the cloud, Fairbanks said.

"This is a major release for ARCserve," he said. "We're releasing a lot of capabilities for virtualized and cloud environments, and helping provide strong protection for virtual architectures and the cloud."

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The release of ARCserve r16 comes only four months after another major update of ARCserve which focused on making it available for customers working on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

CA ARCserve provides centralized management of all a company's data protection, including tape or disk backups, image-based backups, replication, and high availability, Fairbanks said. All the capabilities are available via a single SKU with a per-TB license, or each can be purchased as stand-alone applications, he said.

New to CA ARCserve r16 is a scalable, unified data center architecture which Fairbanks said unifies data management across a customer's entire IT environment. It offers Web-based centralized management to make all capabilities licensable with per-TB pricing, which Fairbanks said is a big change from the prior versions where backups, archiving, and disk-to-disk backups were done on a per-TB basis while other functions were on a per-server basis.

"The new version marries it all together in one license," he said. "So with one SKU, customers have access to all capabilities without worrying about keeping up with managing licenses."

Also new is the ability for customers to purchase licenses on a monthly subscription basis under CA's Service provider License Agreement, or SPLA. The SPLA is for now available only through Ingram Micro, Fairbanks said.

CA ARCserve r16 includes several changes related to protecting data in virtualized environments.

New are image-based, host-level backups via VMware vSphere APIs. Fairbanks said this allows customers to back up multiple virtual machines at the host level instead of individually, while providing the ability to restore individual virtual machines or files or folders.

Also new is the virtual standby feature which allows customers to automatically provision a virtual machine in VMware, Hyper-V, or XenServer environments from a standard image-based backup. "That virtual machine is pre-registered with the hypervisor, and provides a 'heartbeat' to the original host server or virtual machine so that if a server goes down, it automatically fails over to the standby virtual machine," Fairbanks said.

ARCserve r16 also now supports full system replication and full system failover for VMware or XenServer environments based on live replicated data. That capability was previously available in Microsoft Hyper-V environments, he said.

The new version of ARCserve also features new cloud integration capabilities to provide full private and public cloud support for ARCserve's backup, disk-to-disk backup, and high availability modules.

This includes the ability to build a "cold standby" server and storage infrastructure in the clouds, Fairbanks said. "With failover to a cloud, having a cold standby means customers do not have to pay for any cloud resources before an actual failover takes place," he said.

ARCserve r16 also now includes AES-256 encryption for backups of data to a cloud, as well as SSL protection for high availability replications, he said.

Next: Channel Partners Like ARCserve r16's All-around Flexibility

By closely integrating physical and virtual and cloud data protection, CA is balancing its offering for customers, said Todd O’Bert, president and CEO of Productive, a Minneapolis-based solution provider and CA partner.

"Nobody can back up everything over the pipes to the cloud because the performance will impact their RTO (recovery time objectives) and RPO (recovery point objectives)," O'Bert said. "Customers have only a certain window for backups and recovery. We at Productive think customers can use the cloud only if they have less than 200 GBs to back up. That would let them recover in a reasonable time. Otherwise, it's cheaper and less risky to have on-site backups. CA allows replication of data to virtual servers, giving them two servers on-site for recovery."

ARCserve r16 offers a number of new features that O'Bert said appeal to his customers, including the ability to do full synthetic backups so customers are not relying on all the incremental backup data to be available, the ability to recover individual files or emails from a disk-to-disk backup, and management flexibility.

Productive does a lot of Web-based events around data protection, O'Bert said. "We're opening eyes to the fact that ARCserve is not just backup," he said. "It has tons of capabilities. Data availability is just as important as data security."

John Quinn, principle and technology architect at Merrimac Solutions, an Aurora, Ill.-based solution provider and CA partner, said that ARCserve r16's cloud storage capabilities, the enhanced disk-to-disk backups, and the ability to do full backups for virtual machines using any hypervisor, are all important features to customers.

And because Merrimac has a service provider licensing agreement (SPLA) with CA and with Microsoft, Quinn said that CA makes it easy to use a single product to manage data protection for physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

"I can talk to customers about backups to the cloud and local backups, and charge them on a monthly basis," he said. "That is a big deal. If the customer has a couple servers and 20 GBs of data and want to take it offsite, they can work with CA. CA can help them get an Amazon Web Services account all in the same fee, or work with the customer's own AWS account."

Of course, Quinn said, he would rather customers use the cloud services provided by Merrimac. "I'd rather control the data in the customer's environment so I can help them spin up servers for recovery to a local site," he said. "They're never going to get everything back from AWS with a T-1 line."

Merrimac can use CA ARCserve r16 to appeal to customers of all sizes, from handling the complete production environment of small companies with one or two servers, to handling replication and disaster recovery for companies with five to ten servers, to helping larger customers with disaster recovery and low-cost, cloud-based test and development architectures, Quinn said.

"We can do it all with r16," he said. "They can back up locally or off-site, and replicate data to us."