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CA takes unified data protection approach

CA combines three ARCserve protects into arcserve Unified Data Protection to handle disk, tape, physical and virtual backup plus replication.

CA Technologies is putting all of its backup eggs in one basket to try and appeal to customers who feel they have too many data protection products.

CA this week launched arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP). UDP combines previous ARCserve data protection products -- Backup, D2D and High Availability and Replication -- under a common interface. CA also claims more than 30 new features that were not in its previous applications. And that doesn't include the branding change from ARCserve to arcserve.

UDP includes the ability to set up Protection Plans according to recovery time objective and recovery point objective requirements.

UDP protects physical and virtual servers and includes source-side data deduplication, block-level replication, 256-bit AES encryption and retention policies through a Recovery Point Server. It supports Microsoft Windows, Linux and Unix systems.

Protection Plans allow customers to set service-level agreement policies by picking the level of protection for an application or server. For example, they can select the following options; Good which includes daily backups, weekly copy to DR site and monthly recovery test; Better which adds continuous replication to DR site, virtual stand-by in place for key systems; Best which includes full high availability for critical systems, two DR locations and weekly DR testing/reporting. Each host can have a protection plan. Customers can create groups and policies and manage them through Windows Active Directory groups.

Other features include agentless virtual machine protection for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, Assured Recovery with automated non-disruptive disaster recovery testing, and continuous replication that allows near-instant recovery of files and business applications.

"We've re-invented ARCserve," said Steve Fairbanks, CA's VP of product delivery for data management. "Our heritage is a file-based backup approach supporting tape. This is a block-based approach with a unified management console."

CA positions UDP for mid-market companies with 250 to 2,500 employees and around $76 million to $500 million in annual revenue. CA hopes UDP is attractive to customers who are tired of having point products for physical and virtual backups, as well as replication, high availability and endpoint protection -- UDP does not include endpoint backup.

"Many vendors provide point solutions and that's a problem in the industry," said Christophe Bertrand, VP of arcserve product marketing. "Customers are asking to have everything under one roof."

Suggested list prices for UDP include one year of maintenance and start at $595 per protected socket -- hypervisors and physical servers -- $3,777 per protected terabyte or $445 for a 5-pack of workstations. General availability is set for May 14. Bertrand said current ARCserve customers can migrate to UDP. CA will support and upgrade its current ARCServe backup products, but new customers can only buy arcserve UDP, he added.

Is unified backup the new trend?

CA is taking a different approach than larger backup vendors such as EMC and Symantec that have multiple backup products, or those who only provide virtual backup such as Veeam Software.

Analysts agree with CA about customers looking to consolidate backups.

"CA has done things to integrate better. That's the opposite approach of EMC, which has kept things splintered in data protection," said George Crump, lead analyst of Storage Switzerland.

"CA has their work cut out for them, but there is an opportunity. A lot of people don't really like the backup software they're using and are looking to change. If you can consolidate even down to two [data protection applications], it would be a massive improvement."

Eric Burgener, IDC storage research director, said his firm's research shows that most enterprises have at least three backup products. Also, smaller companies often don't have dedicated backup administrators. "A lot of companies are shoving everything to generalists, and arcserve UDP is targeting them."

Burgener said UDP is probably at the start of a trend of consolidating data protection products. "I think other vendors will also try to do a unified approach."

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