CA addresses common backup gripes

By Heidi Biggar

With the release of BrightStor Enterprise Backup v10.5, Computer Associates says it addresses some of users' biggest backup complaints—notably, manageability, integration, and performance.

"Existing BrightStor Enterprise Backup users should view this release as a useful turn of the software crank," says David Hill, vice president of storage research at the Aberdeen Group, an IT analyst firm in Boston.

Among the highlights of the new release is integration with BrightStor ARCserve and Portal. By integrating Enterprise Backup with these two products, Computer Associates claims to have significantly simplified the management of both CA and non-CA backup environments.

"Customers want to centrally administer their backup operations and to consolidate these environments," explains Ed Cooper, product manager of BrightStor Enterprise Backup. Because Enterprise Backup and ARCserve share the same building blocks (e.g., identical tape formats), they, unlike some other vendors' solutions, integrate nicely, he claims.

Integration of Enterprise Backup and Portal, meanwhile, allows users to control non-CA vendor backup environments (e.g., Legato and Veritas) from a single interface. This reduces overall backup management tasks, aids in backup consolidation, and allows users to migrate data between CA's backup applications. For example, CA customers can use the Enterprise Backup GUI, which has been redesigned to resemble the ARCserve interface, to manage ARCserve and Enterprise Backup servers.

From the portal's one window, users can see all backup applications and then drive backup processes, change policies, and set backup schedules.

"Integration of [the two applications] is essential because it enables IT professionals to more effectively manage the entire data-protection process," explains Aberdeen's Hill. And it also emphasizes the importance of having a backup strategy that spans the entire enterprise (i.e., from laptops to mainframes).

BrightStor Portal comes with Enterprise Backup 10.5, or it can be purchased separately for use with previous versions of the software.

In addition to ARCserve and Portal, Computer Associates has integrated Enterprise Backup with BrightStor Storage Resource Manager 6.4, Unicenter NSM, and eTrust Antivirus, as well as with third-party products including off-site vaulting services from Iron Mountain and a variety of snapshot technologies from vendors such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, and Microsoft.

"We recognize that all data is not created equal, and we're trying to help users determine the most appropriate technology for protecting their various data types," explains Yogesh Gupta, CA's chief technology officer. "It comes down to determining how much risk you're willing to take and then matching technology to those levels."

By integrating Enterprise Backup with BrightStor SRM and Iron Mountain's vaulting services, for example, Computer Associates says users can not only tell where all their resources are (with BrightStor SRM's trending and analysis capabilities), but also make better business decisions about where data should then be stored (i.e., on on-site tape or disk or off-site in a vault).

"This is an important concept since otherwise data tends to get the same level of protection whether it's a revenue-generating transaction or a three-month-old e-mail," says Aberdeen's Hill.

To simplify the management of data flow, the 10.5 release also has policy-based management functions. Through wizards, users can automate and centralize a variety of tasks, such as job queuing and scheduling.

As for the software's performance, Computer Associates says that, in testing, it was able to push backup data at a rate of 2.6 terabytes per hour. The test environment consisted of a beta version of Enterprise Backup 10.5 and a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database running on a Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. Cooper claims that users can expect to see a 30% to 50% boost in performance over version 10.0, as well as significant improvements on the recovery side going forward.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2003