CATEGORY: Storage, Content Management and Knowledge Management
REVIEWER: Christopher Duffy, communication manager for Rockford Corporation.
BACKGROUND: Rockford Corporation is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of high-performance audio systems for the mobile, professional and home theater audio markets with distribution in 80 countries.
PLATFORMS: Windows and Novell NetWare (and evaluating consolidating platforms to Linux).
PROBLEM SOLVED: We regularly experienced corrupted backups with our previous solution, and we needed faster backup and restore performance to meet our backup window and internal requirements. Because our data is critical to the success of our business, we needed a reliable, flexible data protection solution that was easy to use. We have worldwide operations, and administrators of differing experience and skill levels cover all the locations and shifts. The previous solution was difficult to administer and required frequent support calls. We needed reliable, centralized protection for our data center in Tempe, Arizona, and we also wanted a solution which provides ease of use for remote offices. Our other concern was whether the solution could support both our current environment, including NetWare, and migration to Linux. As a replacement, we chose a combined BrightStor ARCserve Backup and BrightStor Enterprise Backup solution from Computer Associates (CA) because it met all our needs, including our need for enterprise-class functionality in the data center as well as ease of use for our worldwide remote offices. BrightStor ARCserve Backup tested out as very reliable and much easier to use than our prior solution. The fact that ARCserve for NetWare can be managed by Enterprise Backup for Windows also gave us the flexibility we needed for our diverse computing environment. Because CA offers a version of ARCserve for Linux as well as cross-platform upgrades, we solved our migration problem from NetWare to Linux. A key benefit of the BrightStor backup and recovery solutions is that we get much better performance and have lowered our cost of owning and managing our backup environment.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We reduced our backup window by several hours because of the performance and reliability gains and cut our required administrator cycles because the GUI was so much easier to operate. Our NetWare and Windows applications now stay up and available during backups because the product has such low overhead.
STRENGTHS: We really like just about everything about the solution: its reliability, ease of use, platform and application coverage, performance and enterprise-to-branch office flexibility. It also includes the BrightStor Portal product which allows us to centrally manage and do reporting on both our new BrightStor solution and our previous product during the transition.
WEAKNESSES: We were looking to try out Microsoft's new VSS snapshot integration to further improve backup and restore performance, but CA said they were still working with the disk hardware vendors and Microsoft to make it work with BrightStor. We've been informed that CA has added this in the new version. Also, their Linux product doesn't currently have online backup agents for all the Linux applications we are considering (no other vendors currently offer this).
SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked at staying with incumbent Veritas and also evaluated CommVault. We chose CA's combination of BrightStor Enterprise and ARCserve Backup because it met all our current and planned multiplatform needs. We found it to be the easiest to administer, most reliable and highest performance data protection. We also tested and liked the integration between the BrightStor products with their security products and were excited about the road map of future integration and features.
DELIVERABLES: The solution included a lot of useful reports for management and administrators. The job preflight report was especially valuable because it let us know if anything would cause our nightly jobs to fail before we left for the day, which allowed us to add media or fix the problems before they ran.
VENDOR SUPPORT: CA was responsive and helpful during pre-implementation. Even when the rep didn't have the answer, they kept working on it and stayed in touch with progress until our questions were resolved. Since then, CA support has continued to give us great assistance and be very responsive.
DOCUMENTATION: The two guides that came with the product were very thorough and easy to understand. We were able to install and use the product in a very short period of time.
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