CA Revamps Its Data Protection Software

CA Revamps Its Data Protection Software

CA on Thursday unveiled a new version of its CA Recovery Management software, including new releases of its CA ARCserve Backup, CA XOsoft High Availability, and CA XOsoft Replication.

The launch of the new software is aimed at simplifying management, tightening security, and offering faster recovery of data, said Glenn Rhodes, vice president of product marketing for CA Recovery Management.

"It's arguably one of the largest product launches in CA history," Rhodes said.

The changes to the company's data protection and management applications come after a time of rebuilding of the CA channel, said Bill Lipsin, senior vice president of worldwide channels for CA.

About a year ago, the vendor put a dedicated CA sales manager in charge of 4,000 named enterprise accounts, and made another 24,000 customers with revenue ranging from $300 million to $2 billion-plus exclusive to channel partners, Lipsin said.

CA also set up a channel-neutral sales compensation program, and introduced a margin builder program to give solution providers higher margins, Lipsin said. Also new in the last year or so is co-branded marketing assistance and new training programs.

"That's a lot of money, a lot of resources, and especially a lot of commitment from CA from top management on down," he said.

CA has had its issues with the channel, said Shawn Giordano, senior director of sales at Programmers Paradise and Tech Extend, a Shrewsbury, N.J.-based solution provider.

"But there have been many improvements over the course of the last year," Giordano said. "It's evolved. On paper, the programs started as, 'OK, this looks great.' But over time, we've found new ways to leverage the relationship."

Marc Malafronte, SMB sales manager at Software House International, a Piscataway, N.J.-based software corporate reseller, said his company has worked with CA for 19 years, a time that included some rough patches.

However, Malafronte said, CA has introduced stability to its channel, especially in the local people who work with Software House. "They've been a strength to us," he said. "CA has worked real hard to be a good channel company."

CA does have some of the best storage channel people in the industry, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi Corp., a Cleveland, Ohio-based storage solution provider.

However, despite moves to be more channel-friendly, CA still has issues, Knieriemen said. "It's so hard to change that direct culture at companies like CA," he said.

CA ARCserve Backup r12 now includes centralized management of backups, recoveries, and licensing in order to simplify the administration of both local and remote backups through a single console, Rhodes said.

Security of protected data has been increased with the introduction of AES 256-bit encryption, a far more secure protocol than the 3DES 168-bit encryption employed in previous versions of ARCserve, Rhodes said. And while encryption could only be done for data on production servers in the past, it can now be done for data on the backup server and on hardware-encoded encryption devices like LTO-4 tape drives, he said.

Also new is the addition of integrated VMware Consolidated Backup, which allows simple, high-performance backup of virtual servers created by VMware, Palo Alto, Calif., and those virtual servers' data, to a SAN, he said.

The new ARCserve also integrates with a number of applications from Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT), Redmond, Wash., including Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint in order to better integrate the backup and data discovery of these applications.

Also new is better reporting capabilities on backups and recoveries, including where bottlenecks exist in the process and what administrators can do to solve them, Rhodes said. The software also allows third-party virtual tape libraries to be used to stage backups, he said.

CA has also enhanced several of the applications it received with the acquisition in mid-2006 of XOsoft, a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of failover and data replication software.

CA XOsoft High Availability, formerly known as CA XOsoft WANSyncHA, and CA XOsoft Replication, formerly known as CA XOsoft WANSync, now include centralized management to allow customers to manage thousands of replicas from a single console, Rhodes said.

Also new is Assured Recovery, which allows customer to do test restores using a replica of data to ensure that disaster recovery procedures work as planned. They also include the Microsoft's VSS data snapshot manager which gives customers a complete logical history of all snapshots.

Also new is the zero-reboot capability, which allows a server and data to be recovered from a mini disaster without the need to reboot the server, Rhodes said.

CA also reorganized many of its products into bundles aimed at easing sales and implementation and cutting costs, Rhodes said.

The company's File Server Suite lists for $995, or $1,495 for the e-Mail, Database, and Application Suites. Each suite contains options and agents that previously had to be purchased separately. Pricing for CA XOsoft High Availability and CA XOsoft Replication starts at $2,000 per server, with at least two servers required in order to replicate data.

The new bundled pricing scheme makes it easier for channel partners to price CA offerings, Malafronte said. "It's also easier for customers to have one price and fewer SKUs instead of all those options," he said.

The new pricing is definitely much easier than before, Giordano said. "Before, we had to collect a lot of information about the customers servers and applications before we could quote a price," he said. "Now, since it's priced by the suite, it's easier to procure. And pricing is lower because of the bundles."

Changes to ARCserve are in line with the rest of the industry, especially the VMware integration, which is very important as more customers implement server virtualization, Malafronte said.

Giordano also cited VMware integration as important. "It fits into our business model, giving customers more choices for how they do virtualization around their storage infrastructure," he said.

Knieriemen also said that new product features are very positive, and are clearly following where the industry is moving.

Actually, Knieriemen said, it's about time that CA added certain of the new features, especially the VMware integration. "Every software needs to work with VMware today," he said. "So this is not a revolutionary change. It's expected."

Knieriemen also expressed reservations about adding encryption to the CA software. "We haven't tested it yet," he said. "But whenever we hear software encryption, it raises a red flag. What is the impact of the extra overhead on backup windows? Right now, backup windows are already getting tighter before encryption is added.