Backup appliances have become a popular method for backup software vendors to deliver their software. It eliminates much of the hassle of initial installation and makes on-going support easier, since the vendor is now dealing with a more common foundation. The challenge with most backup appliances is that they stop there, only providing backup functionality and only easing initial implementation woes. Arcserve’s Unified Data Protection Appliance promises to deliver a complete data protection solution that goes far beyond just backing up data and one that promises to ease total data protection operations.
Backup Appliance vs. Data Protection Appliance
Most backup appliances are preconfigured backup servers with the vendor’s backup software loaded. As stated above this does make initial installation easier, but doesn’t solve two other problems.
- First, most backup appliances still require that the software be run and configured to protect the servers in the environment, and give limited assistance to the backup administrator for this part of the installation process.
- Second, the backup appliance often does not include anything more than the backup and recovery software. This means that if the user needs to meet stricter recovery point objectives (RPO) or recovery time objectives (RTO), another application, like replication or continuous data protection, needs to be run, probably on a separate server.
Data protection appliances on the other hand address these issues by providing a wizard that can walk the user through the initial configuration to protect servers, speeding up not only the time to bring up the data protection solution but also the time to first backup. In fact, Arcserve claims that with their data protection appliance, a customer can go from box to first backup in about 15 minutes.
The data protection appliance also provides complete data protection going well beyond simple backup and restore. The Arcserve Data Protection Appliance provides all the backup and recovery table stakes (including tape out) and then adds replication, continuous data protection, migration, near high availability with virtual standby, global deduplication, cloud backup, data seeding, and file archiving. The Arcserve Data Protection Appliance is essentially a complete data protection toolbox in a 1U appliance managed from a single interface. See our briefing, “Tackle The Backup Beast With Arcserve UDP”, for more details on these capabilities.
Meet The Arcserve 7000 Data Protection Appliance
While Arcserve promises a full range of data protection appliances, the first iteration is called the Arcserve 7000 series. This series of appliances consist of five models, the 7100, 7200, 7200V, 7300, 7300V. Each runs Windows 2012 Server as the operating system. The basic difference between the models is the capacity of the appliance, ranging from 3TB on the 7100 and 9TB on the 7300. Arcserve UDP already leverages an intelligent incremental technique, requiring only one full backup. The company expects clients to get up to 9TB to 27TB of effective capacity with deduplication and compression.
Of course backup capacity issues can be mitigated by using Arcserve’s tape-out and/or cloud functionality. Doing so would reduce on-site hard disk investment and provide near infinite retention of data. The tape-out and cloud functionalities allow the above capacities to be considered the data protection working set only, far extending the usefulness and market range of the appliances.
The “V” units are very interesting. They include extra processing power and RAM so that up to three virtual machines can be run under Hyper-V. These virtual machines could be used to test recoverability of an application or to even stand in for a server hardware failure. In remote offices the V series appliances could be all that is needed to protect the office as well as provide a simple file server or other basic services.
For now, the Arcserve Data Protection Appliances are focused on the SMB and Remote offices. Arcserve plans on following these systems up with more models that have even more processing power and capacity. Also on the roadmap is a service call Arcserve Elevated, a cloud service that provides backup vaulting and DRaaS.
As we covered in our briefing note “Can Arcserve make a comeback?” the company is now freed from the shackles of the CA conglomerate. We stated then that we expected to see a more nimble and creative company. The data protection appliances, plus the forthcoming cloud service, are excellent examples of that. Arcserve is essentially a startup with a code base that has been tested for almost 30 years. With the UDP 7000 Appliances they are delivering a product that meets the demands of the small business data center head on, with quick, reliable and complete data protection. For those data centers the UDP 7000 deserves strong consideration.