Arcserve Backup 16.5 review

Consistent design, ease of use and plenty of data-protection features make this great value

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£350
  • Big storage savings; Cloud storage support;

Arcserve Backup scores highly for consistency despite its numerous upgrades, its central management console has retainedthe same form and feel for many years. New users will love its simplicity, and users of older versions won't be faced with a daunting learning curve.

However, plenty has changed underneath: Arcserve Backup has grown into a total backup solution for securing all your servers, applications and virtualised environments. It can archive to the cloud, works hand in glove with Arcserve UDP appliances, and is the only backup package that includes integral data deduplication in the standard price.

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All the action takes place within the intuitive Manager console, which makes the backup process simple. Once we'd pushed all the relevant agents to our test systems, they popped up ready for action in the backup source window.

We were able to browse machines, select specific folders and files, pick Hyper-V VMs and choose our SQL Server 2014 databases. Our Exchange 2013 server was also listed, with the mailbox databases and mailboxes appearing as separate entities under their own organisational folder in the same tree.

Hyper-V host-level backups simply require the Windows agent to be loaded on the host system: one agent licence lets you back up any number of guest VMs. For file-level backups and restores, an agent is loaded within each VM, which appear in the source view along with their virtual volumes.

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For standard protection strategies, you can pick from full, incremental and differential backups. You can use built-in rotation schemes, apply encryption and decide where to back up the data. Arcserve Backup works with tape drives, libraries, virtual tape libraries, local disks, NAS shares and IP SANs.

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There's cloud storage support too, extending to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Eucalyptus and Fujitsu Cloud, but these can only be used as part of a disk-to-disk-to-cloud (D2D2C) staging and data-migration strategy. We had no problems using our Amazon Web Services account and created virtual storage devices that linked up to our cloud buckets.

The deduplication feature is a cinch to use. Once we'd created a new backup device, we could place the data and index files on separate local or remote locations. Arcserve makes no specific claims about its data-reduction ratios, so we turned to the Binary Testing deduplication test suite to find out.

Using a 4GB dataset of 1,000 files, we introduced controlled changes within a percentage of the files throughouta standard weekly backup strategy. After a one-month simulation, we saw an impressive reduction ratio of over 8:1 so for typical business backup, you can expect big storage savings.

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Data restoration is easy. You simply select backed-up systems from the Manager console, pick files and folders, and click to restore them to the original location or another destination. The same process can be used for other sources such as SQL databases, and we could restore either our entire Exchange 2013 database or individual mailboxes, folders and messages.

You can keep a close eye on the action via the Dashboard, which offers a wealth of information, including status reports on backup jobs, client nodes and encryption,as well as reports on backup data distribution, volume usage, media- assurance operations and backup servers.

If you're using deduplication, it also provides reports and graphs on projected storage savings. Arcserve Backup is one of the longest-serving backup products on the market, and it still sets high standards for data-protection features. Its central console makes management a cinch, while its component and capacity-based licensing schemes keep it affordable for SMBs. 

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This review first appeared in PC Pro magazine issue 254

Verdict

Arcserve Backup is one of the longest-serving backup products on the market, and it still sets
 high standards for data-protection features. Its central console makes management a cinch, while its component- and capacity-based licensing schemes keep it affordable for SMBs.

REQUIREMENTS

Backup server

Windows Server 2003 upwards 

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