CA's ARCserve Backup r12 - Review

CA's ARCserve Backup r12 - Review

It's no secret that CA (NYSE:CA), the Islandia, N.Y.-based software maker has been working hard to rebound out of a near-death experience earlier this decade. But what the company has held close to the vest is just how much elbow-grease it has been putting into making its strategic products matter again.

With virtualization and advances in storage, backup and compliance continuing to shake up the IT industry, CA is now starting to flex its muscle. The company is launching ARCserve r12, with a focus on slashing management and maintenance costs in medium-sized enterprises. It's the first major overhaul of ARCserve in several years - - dovetailing with the company's own overhaul and new effort to re-engage the market.

At its base, ARCserve is CA's backup automation software. But in r12, the company has woven in a comprehensive software license management utility, centralized job management and centralized device management. A 200-node licensing renewel, for example, that used to take 200 separate management engagements can now be done from one, central location with a few mouse clicks. A look at the major upgrade points to ARCserve reveals a re-invigorated solution that's refreshed just in time to take advantage of virtualization, server consolidation and a never-ending thrust toward return-on-investment.

Installation and Setup

ARCserve r12 provides a straightforward, wizard-based installation. In our Lab, an installation on Windows Server 2003 took about 15 minutes on a low-end, single-CPU Opteron box. Once installed, the application's "Manager" console provides a GUI menu for options including "Quick Start" (for Job status, Backup Manager, Restore manager and server administration), as well as other administrative options including report generation management, protection and recovery and utilities including a Job Scheduler Wizard, a Diagnostic Wizard and several other options. Veteran solution providers may laugh or roll their eyes at ARCserve r12's "My First Backup" feature, which is a wizard-based, step-by-step guide toward selecting servers, backup and other rules.

Licensing Management

ARCserve's Central Management Console, which is GUI-based, provides click-based administration and inventory of licensing for the entire ARCserve backup environment. That means that in many applications, separate installation of software and licensing keys at each device location isn't necessary. CA's Central Licensing Management allows licenses to be activated, de-activated and inventoried from one, single management console. For a VAR performing this type of management for the customer, it could mean hours of process work eliminated. If the customer handles licensing management in-house, it provides the VAR with a strong ROI argument.


In ARCserve, CA is boosting its support of the VMware virtualization platform. ARCserve r12 provides a feature that enables physical-to-virtual server restore. That means that during a disaster recovery scenario, an enterprise can initiate bare-metal recovery of physical server backups to VMware virtual servers.

ROI Potential

CA's licensing management alone in ARCserve has potential to stir a compelling return-on-investment talking point for VARs to discuss with customers and potential customers. Simply put, in an IT environment that continues to see momentum around server consolidation, more and greater efficiency in the data center and clear migration paths, evaluation in our Lab shows ARCserve to be strong. However, it's got strong competition as well from a number of different vendors including Microsoft, which is including storage backup functionality in its Windows Server 2008 -- albeit orders of magnitude less robust than ARCserve.

Channel Focus

CA has been putting effort into rebuilding its channel program and leads with its CA Partner Program. The company lists 11,000 channel partners in North America -- and executives and engineers there say ARCserve r12 has been designed with a strong channel sales play in mind. In particular, CA executives say they are scheduling training sessions on site for some of their larger partners, offering training classes across the country for technical contacts from its VAR partners, conducting technical Webcasts and making plans to offer marketing material for channel partners.

Bottom Line

In a fierce market, CA needed to defend its market share in the storage backup and management space and ARCserve r12 should help it significantly. The product itself appears channel friendly, giving resellers an opportunity to deliver and add value to a key part of enterprise infrastructure -- whether it's a small enterprise or a large one.