CA ARCserve and Symantec Product Comparison
The following article was published by Productive Corporation to provide its customers with an additional resource in determining the right data backup and recovery solution for their company's environment. Productive produces content focusing on the relevant issues of Mid-Market IT professionals to give its customers perspective on current trends. Recent topics have included patch management, hosted recovery on demand, as well the evolution of software licensing.
Comparing 9 categories to help you uncover the right solution for your data backup needs.
IT professionals for small to mid-sized companies are constantly looking for new and improved ways to secure and protect important data in their physical and virtual environments. These high performance standards require that IT professionals have the right data backup and recovery solution, for their environments.
Market leaders in backup and recovery recommend Symantec's Backup Exec and CA's ARCserve, as the leaders in high performance storage solutions. The differences of these two leading storage solutions are marked by the subsequent features; ease of install, ease of use, scalability, performance, cost, data security, supported systems, customer service and added value. These two data backup and storage products are relatively similar in function; nonetheless, there are critical differences in their performance, made evident below.
Ease of Install:
When installing Symantec's Backup Exec, IT professionals should know what options they have purchased and have the serial numbers available. If the information is not at hand, Backup Exec, can be installed as a trial and registration can be completed later; most installs should not take longer than a half hour. The install process will alert administrators to answer prompts prior to beginning the install. Once the install is complete, a First Time Start Up Wizard, will configure the software to the system.
CA's ARCserve, has a wizard based installation that is very straightforward; it takes about 15 minutes to install on a single server. An advantage, to the ARCserve installation process, is that it not necessary to setup each individual device. This eliminates hours of work, since everything can be done, from one console. ARCserve has a Quick Start option, as well as, a My First Backup option that will help administrators when first starting to use the system.
Overall, the ease of installation for CA's ARCserve seems to be the better choice, as it provides a simpler and easier installation that uses a wizard base, operated with ease by administrators. ARCserve takes less time to install and can be done from one console, instead of setting up each, individual device.
Ease of Use:
Symantec's Backup Exec has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to use by the novice and the expert. All backup and recovery tasks are set up in a traditional, hide and expand, format. Across the top of the interface, there are live icons for the major task categories including: Job Setup, Job Monitor, Alerts and Reporting. On the left side of the screen, tasks are displayed in each category. Backup Exec offers within the overview tabs for each process, how-to's and wizards. Backup Exec also adapts the backup process to remote users, using desktops and laptops.
CA's ARCserve has a click based administration, which is not only good for simple applications but can handle more complex processes, as well. The Manager console provides a GUI menu for options including: Job Status, Quick Start, Backup Manager, Restore Manager, Server Administration, Report Generation, Job Scheduler Wizards, and a Diagnostic Wizard. There are numerous features, that can be purchased, but each feature will cost more. It is apparent that ARCserve has more features available than Backup Exec does, but that makes the price steeper for small and mid-sized companies.
Overall, the ease of use for Symantec's Backup Exec, may be easier to use and somewhat cheaper in the process; but in most instances you get what you pay for. CA's ARCserve has a more thorough Manager Console, but lacks the how-to's and overviews that Backup Exec possesses. Most IT professionals would choose CA's ARCserve because of its flexibility and ease, as well as, the many options it provides to administrators.
Symantec's Backup Exec and CA's ARCserve are scalable enough to grow a company from a single server into a multi-server storage network. Backup Exec is more geared to small and mid-sized companies, whereas, ARCserve can not only serve smaller companies but medium and large companies, as well. ARCserve is better for companies who are unsure how much they will expand. Both software applications will receive updates that periodically will need to be installed in order to keep the storage network at its optimal performance. Both products can backup more data, with less hardware and in less time than ever before; which will provide a good return on the investment put into the product.
Overall, the scalability for small to mid-sized companies, Symantec's Backup Exec and CA's ARCserve solutions, are on even footing. Should companies be unsure of their rate of expansion, then ARCserve would be the better choice, as it can expand further than Backup Exec.
Symantec's Backup Exec is considered one of the fastest disk based recovery systems around. It is quick, efficient and easy to use. It extends high performance protection to remote Linux and Unix servers and reduces operational costs of Microsoft Windows environments. This provides a great return on the investment in the product because it not only performs the normal backup and recovery functions; but it also increases Windows application availability. Backup Exec, also, utilizes multi-stage single or multiple sets of data to disk and then to archive tape. Finally, it minimizes network traffic and maximizes performance throughout the network.
CA's ARCserve slashes management and maintenance costs. Its centralized job and device management eliminates hours of time consuming processes. ARCserve's use of de-duplication technology is a powerful storage resource. It uses what is called hash-based chunking and each increment of data is given a hash value. Instead of storing duplicated data, ARCserve gives the address to the block where the data is already in a data file. This is important, when considering the amount of duplicate data that most companies have. Server consolidation has become a vital issue for small and mid-sized companies and de-duplication technology could be the answer to numerous problems. What is even more interesting is that ARCserve makes de-duplication technology available for no extra cost. IT professionals can get it with Symantec's Backup Exec but it's going to cost them.
Overall, CA's ARCserve, with its de-duplication technology, easily out scores Symantec's Backup Exec. Not only will ARCserve be providing great server consolidation options, it will also be for no extra cost. Can't beat that when considering which program is more cost effective for small and mid-sized companies. Money is usually a more prevalent concern with small companies and getting more for their money is a very good incentive to buy.
Both CA's ARCserve and Symantec's Backup Exec have what most companies like to call, a la carte, pricing. This means that there is a base price for each system and then as IT professionals add features, the price goes up. Basically, the more you want the more you pay. The base price for Backup Exec is in the neighborhood of $600, and can go up to as much as a $1000. ARCserve starts out at around $800 and can easily exceed $1200 when service agreements are added in. As stated before, in most instances, you get what you pay for.
Overall, the cost for Symantec's Backup Exec is lower, but IT professionals will get more value from CA's ARCserve; especially, considering that the de-duplication technology is added, at no additional cost to the buyer and their service agreements are much more detailed than Backup Exec. It basically comes down to how much a small or mid-sized company can afford to spend on their backup and recovery system; how important is protecting the data they have.
Symantec's Backup Exec is 100% compatible with all Microsoft Windows server operating systems. It is highly reliable and uses proactive management. The Job Test Run feature checks available tape capacity, credentials for systems being backed up and identifies problems that can cause job failures. The Automatic discovery feature, also, shows unprotected resources that are at risk and need to be backed up. Backup Exec has a self healing process which allows administrators to set thresholds at which backup fails on jobs that stall, as well as, recovers and customizes the time tables, consistency checking and redundancy checking. All of these features help to make sure that the data on the networks is secure and ready to be used, at any time.
CA's ARCserve has new media assure technology which significantly reduces the risk of losing data, by validating the recoverability of your backup data in the event of a disaster. It reduces the amount of redundant data but using incremental processes which will backup only what data has changed since the last back. It can, also, be set to use differential processes which backup every file. There are easy to follow disaster recovery wizards which will guide administrators step by step through the process of recovering. ARCserve also provides antivirus scanning and repair modules so that infected data will not continue to disrupt the system.
Overall, data security is even between the two products. Each has different features than can be used in a disaster to recover data. Symantec's Backup Exec has the automatic discovery feature, which helps administrators, see what needs to be backed up while CA's ARCserve provides antivirus scanning which will help to keep the system running effectively.
Both, Symantec's Backup Exec and CA's ARCserve, are programs that are used for Windows based physical and virtual environments. Both programs can be used by Linux and Unix servers and use a disk to disk or disk to disk to tape archive system. ARCserve, however, can use four streams of data at once which reduces backup times by 80% on tape, hard drive, DVD, tape libraries and (SANs) network drives. This gives ARCserve an advantage over Backup Exec.
Both, Symantec's Backup Exec and CA's ARCserve, provide a built in help file and live technical support. Backup Exec's live support cost's $89 per call when used Monday - Friday from 8am to 6pm and $250 a call not during these times. CA's ARCserve has 24 hour tech support but it is only available with a service contract and regular hours being 8am to 8pm - the cost is $75 per call. When VERTIAS was still in control of Backup Exec, you could find online tech support, but it no longer exists; a community is available, however, they are not professional tech support analysts. ARCserve has an online division and will do support by e-mail, as well.
When considering the prices to call in for tech support, it is easy to see, that service agreements are the way to go. However, if this isn't an option for some IT professionals, CA's ARCserve has the most present and economical solution to tech support.
During my research, I was unable to find extra value that Symantec provided for Backup Exec. CA's ARCserve, however, provides the de-duplication technology, without added cost. Therefore, ARCserve has the best extra value.
After reviewing both products, CA's ARCserve product appears to be the better value. Though the price is somewhat higher, the features and technology clearly are beyond what Symantec's Backup Exec has to offer. IT professionals who are looking to buy software that will backup and recover data should consider what features are most important to their companies and what price they are willing to pay for these features. ARCserve provides a better return on the investment that is being made.
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