Whether you sell software or shoes, your business has become a tech business. The reason for this has to do with the value of data; information, not physical capital, is fast becoming the most precious commodity of the digital age.
Digital business means the need for data recovery solutions: IT that allows companies to retrieve lost or corrupt data from the brink.
Not surprisingly, there’s not a great deal of understanding of these issues in the mainstream business community. While business leaders rely on data to keep their organisation running smoothly, many are still only just coming to grips with the need to back up and put recovery plans in place should there be a catastrophic loss of data.
Data suggest that, in general, businesses are not ready for data loss. Only around 30 percent say that they have a disaster recovery plan in place, and 15 percent say that they do not need a disaster recovery plan at all.
The good news is that there are data recovery solutions already available and they are relatively easy to implement — with the right support. Data recovery vendors use a combination of hardware, software, and processes to ensure the protection and longevity of data. With data recovery vendors, businesses can use off-the-shelf solutions to protect their valuable information, back it up, recover it, and use it again in the event of a loss. But, knowing where to start is important.
In this article, we’re going to help you understand what these DR software solutions deliver by taking a look at two of the leading solutions on the market: Arcserve UDP and Veeam.
Arcserve UDP: The Solution The Works
Arcserve is a company that specialises in data protection and recovery software. The company’s flagship product is called Arcserve UDP (Unified Data Protection) and forms the foundations of the firm’s offerings.
The main draw of Arcserve UDP is its simplified architecture. Rather than requiring users to manage yet another software solution (and somehow figure out how to incorporate it into the rest of their product stack), Arcserve UDP aims to make the business of data protection more user-friendly.
The software works across a range of infrastructures and aims to simplify data recovery processes across a variety of storage platforms. The architecture, the company says, will work seamlessly whether paired with local storage, the cloud, or virtual environments, making it a universal solution for companies that keep data in “heterogeneous silos.”
One of the nice things about Arcserve UDP is the ability to scale up or down in line with business needs. Companies have the ability to use more storage, less storage, make more frequent uploads to the cloud, and protect their data whether they are based in an office or have a legion of remote workers in the field.
Veeam: Delivering Granular Control
Veeam is a Switzerland-based company which, like Arcserve, specialises in data backup and recovery. The company has been in operation since 2006 and turns over around $963 million a year. Since the company was first conceived, it has focused on the tricky issue of data protection. With the advent of the information age, Veeam understood early that businesses would become far more dependent on data to manage operations, and so it set about creating data recovery solutions that would assist firms in the event of a catastrophic loss.
Enter Veeam Backup and Replication. Veeam has been working on its eponymous product since 2008 and has now developed a disaster backup and recovery solution which is able to distinguish between data on real machines and data on virtual machines.
The company says that its aim with Veeam is to provide a data recovery solution which restores lost data in under 15 minutes, whether on a real machine, virtual machine, or anywhere else in the IT infrastructure. Right now, the company is using wide area networks to facilitate rapid data exchange, replicating off-site data some 50 times faster than standard data transfer.
Veeam allows users to manage all their virtual, physical and cloud-based workloads from the same platform. This helps to simplify the process of data recovery for businesses. IT managers often do not have the expertise to manage data recovery across multiple platforms, and so Veeam’s tool helps to integrate their efforts, making it easy to see what data they have and what requires backup through a single console.
Veeam’s solution also delivers exceptional levels of granularity — allowing businesses to manipulate data running from virtual machines all the way down to single files. This is a vital tool that helps speed up the process of data recovery, wherever it may have occurred.
This is important: with Veeam, there’s no need to restore an entire virtual machine (which could take a lot of time). The company allows you to backup single files and applications, replacing them where necessary on an individual basis.
Veeam vs. Arcserve: Options vs. Packaged Functionality
The similarities between Veeam and Arcserve are more significant than their differences. Both solutions provide firms, both large and small, with the ability to back up and restore lost data. And they both offer helpful platforms which integrate across IT infrastructures, enabling IT managers to manage their data from a single console.
Perhaps the most important difference between the two has to do with recovery options. Veeam gives users the ability to recovery segments of lost information, even on virtual machines, whereas Arcserve does not permit the same level of granularity.
Bare metal recovery
Arcserve offers business customers what it calls “bare metal recovery.” The idea behind BMR is to provide companies with a comprehensive version of its data recovery solution to get them back in the game and making money faster. However, unlike Veeam, Arcserve does not allow users to choose which files to restore and when with BMR. The solution is more broad-brush in nature. Veeam, on the other hand, gives users options to recover whatever chunk of data they like, no matter what the platform or environment.
Arcserve markets their recovery product as offering “unified data protection.” One of the ways in which they do this is to incorporate traditional backup and recovery options with real-time network monitoring. The idea is to keep an eye on all data as it transits through your IT infrastructure.
RTO and RPO Visibility
Arcserve also includes more with the basic product. The company, for instance, gives you both restore time objective (RTO) and restore point objective (RPO) included as standard, while Veeam does not, allowing you to see how much your downtime your business can tolerate in the event of a failure, and the maximum update period for your backup system your firm can endure. You can get this information through Veeam, but you have to buy a separate module.
It’s a similar story when it comes to “high availability.” Both Arcserve and Veeam offer high availability (with Arcserve doing it through Amazon Web Services), but only Arcserve includes high availability as standard. Veeam can restore to Azure for an additional fee.
Operating System and Control Console
There’s an operating system difference too. While both products are compatible with Windows OS, only Arcserve provides comprehensive backup for Linux-based machines. Veeam does offer some Linux compatibility with the Veeam agent for Linux, but the agent is still undergoing data testing.
If you’re new to the data backup and recovery game, Arcserve is likely to appeal to you more for another reason: the ability to manage all functions and control from a single console. Veeam offers a similar range of functionalities to Arcserve, but forces users to use different consoles for separate products, potentially making managing each platform harder.
Finally, there’s the price. Arcserve comes out as cheaper than Veeam in most cases. However, that does depend on your use case, and the overall costs will be highly variable depending on the size and scope of your enterprise and data usage.
Veeam’s product doesn’t come with high availability or reporting as standard. Although these are normally needed, you can make a cost saving if these features are not necessary. However, the granular control Veeam delivers makes it one of the most popular products in the industry.
The Right Choice Depends on Your Use Case
Both Veeam and Arcserve UDP are great products for backup and data recovery. But the way that Veeam targets the market is different. Arcserve offers a single product across all firms, whether large or small, whereas Veeam breaks the market up into segments, depending on size.
Veeam has a product for small businesses (less than 250 employees), medium size enterprises (where it adds features like being able to restore parts of virtual machines), and Veeam Availability Suite for large enterprises, claiming to provide disaster recovery in seconds or minutes.
If you’re not sure about which product to choose, then it is a good idea to consult with a specialist who understands the pros and cons of both software solutions. It’s critical that your business incorporates concepts like failover, failback RTO and RPO into its disaster recovery plan so that it can decide when, where and how often to back up data.
Finally, although choosing a software backup solution is important, it is not the only consideration when it comes to data recovery. Any comprehensive backup plan also requires careful attention to hardware, processes, and networking. Disaster recovery software can only take you so far.
Other considerations include training staff to handle data appropriately, and using the right local or cloud solutions to keep data backed up, depending on your specific company needs. This is what it means to develop a true ‘business continuity’ plan, not just a disaster recovery solution. Business continuity planning is the only way to ensure that you will be able to carry on operations in the event of a failure — the true outcome your need for your investments. Keep that in mind no matter what solution you choose.