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?

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£547

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It brings a lot more new features to the table as well and is this exclusive review we take a closer look to see how well it shapes up in the lab.

CA opted to carry out deduplication at the backup server for two main reasons. Firstly, it's faster than client side deduplication, which can introduce a big hit on the host's performance and by carrying it out at the backup server, ARCserve can apply this simultaneously to multiple backup streams.

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ARCserve uses hash-based chunking, where it segments the incoming data, examines each chunk and computes a hash value, or fingerprint, for each block of data, which it stores in a separate index file. If the hash value for an incoming block matches one in the index then instead of storing it, ARCserve updates its reference file with the address of that block already in the data file.

ARCserve goes one step further as along with in-line deduplication it carries it out post processing as well. This is applied globally to all system drives, system states and virtual machines as there is a strong likelihood of duplicated data in these. Consequently, this will have a significant impact when backing up multiple client systems where their C drive is included as a source.

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Only NTFS volumes are supported for the data and index file locations and the index should preferably reside on an SSD for the best performance. Encryption and compression can't be applied to deduplicated data but these devices can be part of a D2D2T backup strategy.

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Deduplication may be the jewel in ARCserve's crown but r12.5 offers a lot of other equally valuable new features. It focuses strongly on virtualisation and now integrates with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and VMware's VCB (VMware consolidated backup). You can carry out full and incremental image and file level backups of VMs and ARCserve's granular recovery enables individual files and folders to be restored from images.

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