By Heidi Biggar
With the release of a new version of Image Option this month, Computer Associates says it has made server-less backup a reality in ARCserveIT environments. The software, which will be offered as an option to the next release of ARCserveIT (due this month), enables direct disk-to-tape backup in Windows NT-based storage area networks (SANs). Support for Unix and NetWare is expected later this year.
Among the software's differentiating features is its simplicity, according to company officials. "The complexity of alternative server-less backup approaches has been a barrier to their wide adoption," claims Peter Malcolm, senior vice president of storage solutions at Computer Associates. "In contrast, users simply install or upgrade the Image Option and ARCserveIT does the rest."
ARCserveIT issues instructions to an Extended SCSI Copy Command-compliant SAN device (bridge, router, etc.), which in turns reads the data from disk and writes it directly to tape, giving users the immediate benefit of im-proved performance and 24x7 backup capability.
"Server-less backup has clear advantages for enterprise markets," says Said Rahmani, senior vice president at Pathlight Technology. "It enables businesses to perform 24x7 backup as a background application-and at the highest speeds possible." In demonstrations with CA and IBM at CA-World 2000, Rahmani says Pathlight achieved backup streams in excess of 30MBps.
Computer Associates is not alone in its pursuit of standards-based server-less backup. Other vendors, including Veritas, are in various stages of development. And Legato, once considered to be the forerunner in this area, continues to garner support from hardware vendors for its NDMP-compliant Celestra-driven approach. (For more information, see "Server-less backup to take center stage," March, pp. 24-28.)
As for ARCserveIT's lack of NDMP support, industry analysts say it is pretty much a non-issue.
"I don't see it as a major deterrent," says Dan Tanner, a senior analyst for storage and storage management at the Aberdeen Group, a consulting and market research firm in Boston. "It's the here and now that's important."
Legato's Celestra 1.1.2 is currently limited to workstation environments; release 2.2, with Extended Copy support, is expected this quarter. Veritas isn't expected to make a server-less backup product announcement until the fourth quarter.
Computer Associates demonstrated Image Option at last month's CA-World 2000 conference, using hardware from various vendors, including Crossroads, Gadzoox, IBM, Overland Data, Pathlight, and QLogic. The technology has also been endorsed by ADIC, Brocade, Exabyte, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu Siemens, Mc-Data, Overland Data, and Vixel. Image Option is priced at $995.
Senior vice president of storage solutions, Computer Associates