Computer Associates' BrightStor Arcserve Backup Release 11.0 for Windows is as sophisticated as it easy to use, making it a highly capable option for backing up your network--whether you're a solo entrepreneur running a small network out of your garage or you run IT for a medium-size business. A wizard feature called My First Backup makes it a snap to prepare media, designate what to back up, and schedule future jobs. Advanced options, such as report writing; staging tape backup on disk; establishing tape rotation schedules; and supporting tape libraries, NAS, or RAID hardware as well as enterprise software such as SAP and Oracle, make BrightStor Arcserve Backup a capable tool for more complex operations, too. But beware: The more features you activate, the more BrightStor Arcserve Backup will cost you. Setting up BrightStor Arcserve Backup is quick and easy, a pleasant surprise from such a sophisticated package. Within 30 minutes, you'll be starting your first backup.
The program breaks down into three major components: the Backup Server, a user interface called Backup Manager, and various add-on options and agents. Backup Manager may share the same system as the Backup Server (where the backup data is stored) or run on an administrator's desktop or notebook PC.
Small-business owners handling their own backup administration will find BrightStor Arcserve Backup easy to use. A tutorial called My First Backup runs automatically the first time you launch Backup Manager and walks you through preparing destination media, deciding what to back up, and scheduling backups. Restoring data is also self-explanatory. The Restore module's tree structure resembles Windows Explorer's. Ironically, the standard restore interface stuck us as much easier to use than the restore wizard designed for beginners.
In general, the more sophisticated your network, the more you'll pay for BrightStor Arcserve Backup options. Depending on what you need, the extras may run many times the program's $795 base cost. For example, the Windows agents for SAP or Oracle each cost $995. Fortunately, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution, so you pay only for what you need. Computer Associates also offers customized technical support for BrightStor Arcserve Backup's various option packages, which is good. BrightStor Arcserve Backup supports many backup options--from the simple (tape, hard drive, DVD, and other write-once/read-many (WORM) drives--to the sophisticated--tape libraries and storage-area networks (SANs). To speed performance, the program backs up first to hard disk, then copies from the hard disk to tape. With symmetric digital linear tape (DLT), BrightStor Arcserve Backup will multiplex up to four streams at once. Computer Associates claims this reduces backup times by up to 80 percent; however, restoration from simultaneous streams does take longer.
The BrightStor Arcserve Backup program offers a report suite, the Preflight Check report, which improves the odds that a scheduled overnight backup will operate successfully. In our test run, Preflight Check uncovered a permissions problem that would have prevented access to one of our client PCs, thereby derailing the job. For convenience, there's a configuration option to send Preflight Checks, as well as other reports, directly to your pager or e-mail in-box.
Once you complete the first full backup, you'll have the option of customizing future backups. For instance, you'll need to define your tape rotation and whether to perform incremental jobs (backing up only what's changed since the last backup) or differential jobs (backing up every file that's been opened since the last complete backup). To save even more time, you can save an archive of files that don't change, then skip them entirely during subsequent full backup jobs.
The easy-to-follow disaster recovery wizard guides you through the process of creating boot disks for disaster recovery. To ensure that your backups are saved virus-free, Computer Associates includes its antivirus scanning and repair modules from the . As with the standalone version of eTrust, this version handles antivirus updates either manually or through the job scheduler at predetermined intervals. If you're installing BrightStor Arcserve Backup after hours, Computer Associates provides 24-hour technical support. For all other inquiries, Computer Associates offers tech support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except on major U.S. holidays.
The program's thorough, built-in help index links out to definitions for those new to data protection. Online, Computer Associates offers a product-specific tech-support page with manuals and technical documentation for downloads and FAQs and a link for e-mail support.