Arcserve UDP review

£448
Price when reviewed

Arcserve claims its new UDP (Unified Data Protection) software is its biggest release for 15 years, offering features no competing solution can match. It wraps a number of Arcserve’s data-protection products into one package, offering protection of both physical and virtual environments, and delivers deduplication and replication as standard.

Arcserve UDP review: which version should I buy?

It’s a common misconception that Arcserve UDP is a replacement for Arcserve Backup. This simply isn’t the case; the company does plan to merge together all its backup solutions, but not for a couple of years. In the meantime, CA recommends that businesses using tape as a primary backup stage continue to use Arcserve Backup, while only those requiring image-based backup should use Arcserve UDP.

Four versions of Arcserve UDP are available, with licensing based on physical CPU sockets or the number of terabytes of data to be backed up. The Standard version starts at £373 for a single-socket licence, and you’ll need a licence for the sockets on each Windows and Linux host you wish to protect.

Arcserve UDP

Arcserve UDP review: features and installation

A key feature of Arcserve UDP is its Recovery Point Server (RPS). This defines a central location where data is backed up and provides deduplication and replication services. It can contain multiple data stores, where each performs global deduplication and has its own data-block location, hash database and index. The database can be located on a different volume to the block store, while hash index operations can be accelerated by running in RAM or on an SSD.

An RPS can be replicated using a special backup task that defines the local and remote RPS, plus a schedule. The Jumpstart feature handles remote RPS seeding, creating a temporary data store on external media, replicating data to it and then exporting to the remote RPS.

General installation is swift: we had Arcserve UDP loaded on a Windows Server 2012 R2 system in minutes. The new web console is easy on the eye and provides a quick-start wizard for adding protected nodes, defining backup destinations and creating backup plans.

Arcserve UDP

Arcserve UDP review: backup types and test results

Backup nodes can also be added manually, discovered from Active Directory or imported from a file. You can then push the UDP agent to each one for backup and bare-metal recovery by using the Advanced version of arcserve UDP.

Adding VMs is even easier. We used the import option to browse our Hyper-V and VMware hosts and add selected VMs: this doesn’t require any agents, but VMs must be running for the pre-flight check and backups to work.

Next, you create backup plans, which contain selected nodes, a destination, the number of recovery points required and a schedule. Instead of an RPS, you can use a local disk or shared folder as a destination, but deduplication won’t be available in this case.

Arserve’s Infinite Incremental strategy runs a full backup followed by smaller jobs that only copy changed blocks, and it’s possible to set the plan to run incremental backups as often as every 15 minutes. One smart feature CA has included is virtual standby, which uses recovery points to create a VM of a node. This keeps the VM up to date with the latest data; if the node goes down, Arcserve UDP can fire the VM up for you.

Arcserve UDP

For agent-based backup, Arcserve UDP performs deduplication locally at the source and globally on the RPS data store. We tested this by backing up a 95GB Windows 8.1 client and saw deduplication and compression reduce this to only 38.2GB on the RPS.

We also tested the granular restore feature by backing up our Exchange 2007 system with the Catalogue option enabled in our plan. The Restore option in the main console loaded the agent interface for the host, from where we were able to browse our Exchange users and select individual emails.

Arcserve UDP review: verdict

Arcserve UDP simplifies backup immensely and is suited to businesses with a mix of physical and virtual environments. Along with built-in deduplication, it provides valuable data-protection features such as virtual standby and RPS replication, and everything can be easily managed from a single console. It’s more than worthy of its place on our A-List.

Details

Software subcategoryBackup software

Operating system support

Other operating system supportWindows 8 and 8.1

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