Computer Associates predicts 'bright' future


Computer Associates says it is counting on the strength of its new BrightStor platform-in particular, BrightStor Enterprise Backup-to catapult it back atop the network backup leader board.

Sanjay Kumar
Computer Associates
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Introduced at the company's annual users' conference last month, BrightStor is CA's attempt at an integrated, end-to-end storage management strategy, encompassing data management, enterprise storage resource management (SRM), and storage infrastructure. BrightStor Enterprise Backup-the first new product in the company's consolidated storage family-is a high-end backup-and-restore package for enterprise-level applications.

"Our [intention] is to put a dent in Veritas' plans," says Sanjay Kumar, president and CEO at CA. "At the high end, it's primarily been a Veritas market, with some competition from Legato."

Last year, Veritas' NetBackup had a 22% share of the enterprise network backup market, compared to 13% for IBM/Tivoli's Storage Manager and 9% for Legato's NetWorker, according to San Jose, CA, market researcher Gartner/Dataquest. CA, meanwhile, had a 22% market share overall but failed to penetrate the enterprise space with either its ARCserve or Alexandria product families (see pie chart below).

CA inherited Alexandria as well as other storage management products from Sterling Software in April 2000. Alexandria was designed for high-end Unix markets, especially very large database installations, while ARCserve for NT and NetWare primarily targeted workgroup environments.

BrightStor Enterprise Backup is a blend of old and new technologies, explains Phil Treide, vice president of marketing, storage solutions, at CA. "We've moved some of ARCserve's functionality up into Enterprise Backup, integrated some of Alexandria's high-performance capabilities, and added new functionality."

Treide says the company will continue to support the Alexandria platform, but that any new high-end features will land in Enterprise Backup, not Alexandria. As for ARCserve, it has been re-branded BrightStor ARCserve Backup, with continuing focus on workgroup and Internet backup markets.

BrightStor Enterprise Backup is backward-compatible with Alexandria and cross-compatible with ARCserve. Additionally, the company offers a migration path from existing products (e.g., ARCserveIT 6.61 Enterprise Edition, ARCserve 2000 Advanced Edition, and Unicenter TNG Advanced Storage Option) to Enterprise Backup.

Key features

According to Zachary Shess, a senior analyst with the Aberdeen Group, BrightStor Enterprise Backup represents a good opportunity for CA to get back into the enterprise backup game.

"BrightStor Enterprise Backup does well by users," writes Shess in a recent product profile. "It allows them to slice an architecture into backup/restore domains that cross server types...and has an exceptionally broad range of services from top-down disaster-recovery functions to cross-platform SAN [storage area network] device and media sharing [to] application backup over the SAN in serverless mode."

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But of the various attributes, CA seems most focused on the software's advanced parallel processing (multi-streaming) capability. "Our customers demanded higher throughput," says Kumar. "We've delivered a product with unparalleled performance and [at a competitive] price point."

In benchmark tests conducted by DocuLabs, an industry analyst firm in Chicago, IL, BrightStor Enterprise Backup backed up data at a sustained rate of more than 1.5TB per hour in a controlled Sun Solaris 8 environment and at a rate of more than 1TB per hour in a controlled HP-UX 11i environment.

"We saw near-linear scalability," says DocuLabs' executive vice president of research Jeetu Patel. "Every time we doubled the hardware [i.e., the number of data streams], we were also able to double throughput." DocuLabs has not yet tested competitive products from Veritas or Legato.

Besides high performance, Enterprise Backup offers:

  • Broad platform, application, and device support, including network-attached storage (NAS) devices and SANs on Windows NT/2000 and Unix;
  • A Web-based management interface and cross-platform domain architecture that allows users to implement consistent backup policies across complex environments;
  • Integration with leading applications and storage technologies from vendors such as EMC (TimeFinder and Fastrax); and
  • Serverless backup of relational databases (e.g., Oracle) and file systems (current option to ARCserveIT).

What's next?

Enterprise Backup users can expect continued improvements in performance and SAN management, as well as broader platform support (AIX and True 64) and serverless backup, according to CA officials.

BrightStor provides centralized cross-platform storage management.
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As for other product offerings under the BrightStor umbrella, look for a beta version of its centralized enterprise storage manager, or storage management portal, early next year. This product, explains CA's Treide, will reside above Vantage, Enterprise Backup, and ARCserve in the BrightStor hierarchy and can be combined with Unicenter products for end-to-end enterprise management of both the IP data network and the SAN (see figure on the left).

This tool gives backup administrators and CIOs a centralized view of the entire storage environment. Features will include centralized reporting, monitoring, and management as well as support for third-party products (e.g., Veritas NetBackup) and policies.

As for virtualization, the company is following market developments and, at the very least, will support other vendors' products.

Computer Associates partners with industry leaders

As evidence of the breadth of support for its new storage management umbrella, Computer Associates last month announced a series of partnerships with leading storage vendors-including Brocade, EMC, Emulex, and Network Appliance-centered on its Enterprise Backup software.

Brocade-Brocade and Computer Associates demonstrated serverless backup for Oracle databases using BrightStor Enterprise Backup and Brocade switches in a multi-vendor storage area network (SAN). Details on how to configure and deploy CA's Enterprise Backup and ARCserve products in a Brocade switch environment are available from Brocade's SOLUTIONware library.

EMC-EMC and CA teamed up to jointly develop, market, and sell their enterprise storage products. The cooperative agreement between these two companies is similar to one already in place between EMC and Veritas. By opening up its APIs to backup vendors like CA and Veritas, EMC says it ensures a high level of product integration for its users. BrightStor Enterprise Backup currently supports TimeFinder; support for Fastrax is expected this quarter. CA's TimeFinder package includes BrightStor Enterprise Backup server, client agents for Windows, and a backup agent for Oracle. Tape library, SAN, and serverless backup options are also available.

Emulex-Emulex and CA demonstrated high-performance backup and recovery and accelerated data movement in Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and CA Filer Server applications with BrightStor Enterprise Backup and CL1000 Virtual Interface host bus adapters (HBAs). In addition to delivering ultra-high throughput, the companies claim the hardware/software combination significantly reduces CPU overhead.

Network Appliance-NetApp and CA jointly announced that BrightStor Enterprise Backup works with NetApp's Data ONTAP 6.1 and F700 and F800 filers in Windows NT/2000 environments. The software supports the NDMP protocol for high-speed backup of NetApp's NAS filers to locally attached tape drives or libraries, as well as the data protection features of NetApp's ONTAP operating system for filer-to-filer backup.

This article was originally published on August 01, 2001