I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago when I received an email inviting me to attend an Arcserve UDP Technical Bootcamp. What words appeal to a techie more than the words ‘Technical Bootcamp’ coupled with ‘free’. I don’t use Arcserve right now so you’re probably thinking why go? But if one wants to learn about different products that are out there and develop one’s knowledge you need to be prepared to put some personal effort in, so I decided that I should attend to see what it was all about.
Arcserve offer three locations for the bootcamp; London, Harrogate and Motherwell, so I chose London as it’s the closest. They use a room at Arrow by Canon Street and I found the venue to be very nice having never been there before, but I have had some pretty dodgy training facilities in the past.
We were shown to a room where we met our host for the day, Carl Green – Principal Consultant, Technical Sales. Carl has worked with Arcserve for over 20 years since it was purchased by CA so he is very experienced in the product which came across throughout the day.
The day was laid out with the morning dedicated to a deep dive presentation, quick demos and Carl spent quite a lot of time at the white board where things got explained in more detail. The afternoon was then spent doing a hands on lab (al la VMware style)
They keep the attendees down to 12 per session and there was a mix of about 50-50 of End-users and resellers which I think worked quite well.
Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) has been around now since 2014 and is their product of choice if you want to backup to disk, let’s face it who doesn’t nowadays. There are a number of different versions and you can either spin up your own virtual appliance (great for a trial) or go down the physical appliance route.
We covered a great deal of information in the morning session covering a number of topics including:
- Arcserve deduplication efficiency
- Arcserve UDP architecture and the recovery point server
- How dedupe and infinite incremental backups work
- The effect of Block level backups and block sizes
- VMware and Hyper-V imaged based backup to disk
- Instant Virtual Machine and bare metal recovery
- How to upgrade to UDP 6.5
- The ports needed for Arcserve to work
- Arcserve Appliances
- Arcserve Cloud
I won’t go through all these points, if you want to know more than you can book yourself on a Bootcamp, but I thought I would mention a few cool features that I wasn’t aware of.
- Source based deduplication (dedupe). Apparently some other products that dedupe do it at the target but doing it at source keeps the data off the Wan therefore making it faster, Carl was able to demonstrate some impressive statistics and they believe that with a typical retention period of 30 days most people can get about 80% dedupe which is then additionally compressed. Carl was able to quote examples of up to 96% dedupe which coupled with compression makes for overall data reductions of 97%.
- Deduplication and block size. Carl then spent several minutes explaining the affect of different block sizes against dedupe which should be obvious but you can’t change a disk block size on the fly so you really need to give it some thought. The default is 16K which Arcserve believe is a good point to start. Smaller and you will need more space for the database.
- Instant Virtual Machines. This was a feature I wasn’t aware of in that you can effectively instantly spin up a virtual machine from backup. The virtual disk is created and you can literally start working on the server whilst the data is being restored in to the virtual disk. What’s more you can use Arcserve to backup from one hypervisor and restore to another (we covered this exact scenario in a lab in the afternoon).
The Labs were run on a web platform from Skytap, so you need to take your own laptop and I found them to be very responsive indeed. We spent about two hours running through:
- Lab 1: Add a VMware server and backup the virtual machines running on it
- Lab 2: Add a recovery point server and replicate the backups to it
- Lab 3: Create a Virtual Standby of a server
- Lab 4: Create an Instant VM of a node from VMware to Hyper-V
The next day I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email informing me that on completion of the bootcamp I had been awarded the accreditation of Arcserve Associate.
So as you will see we achieved a lot in one day and I can honestly recommend it, especially if you’re thinking of changing your backup product, and if Arcserve is on the shortlist you have a great way to see how easy it is to use Arcserve UDP.
If you want to test out the product for yourself you can sign up for a 30 day trial of Arcserve UDP 6.5 here.