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Independent Reviews of Network Hardware and Software

 

NETWORK TESTING LABS REVIEW

Acronis Backup 12 vs.

Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) 6

 

 



Acronis Backup backs up and restores data faster than Arcserve UDP.
It’s also more highly integrated, easier to use and less expensive than Arcserve.

by Barry Nance

Executive Summary

Acronis Backup is:

  •          Much faster for both backup and recovery operations
  •          Made by a more reliable, stable vendor
  •          Less expensive and simpler to license
  •          Easier to use

Acronis Backup has more features than Arcserve UDP and is more highly integrated. Impressively, Acronis Backup helped us better manage our data. Acronis Backup earns the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best backup and restore tool.


Good Products – from Good Vendors

You expect to buy software from a software technology company and investment advice from an investment brokerage company.

In 1996, for $1.2 billion, Computer Associates (now known as CA Technologies) bought Arcserve in its acquisition of Cheyenne Software. In 2014, CA Technologies sold Arcserve and the remnants of Cheyenne Software to Marlin Equity Partners for just $170 million – a loss of over a billion dollars.

Marlin Equity Partners is an investment broker something like a mutual fund, except that it uses client contributions to buy whole companies and stakes in companies instead of purchasing stock shares. For example, Marlin Equity Partners owns email marketing firms BlueHornet Networks and TeraData Marketing Applications. The investment broker also owns the kitchen device company Ronco, the health food restaurant chain My Fit Foods, the manufacturing firm Palladium Energy, the UK hospital bedside communication services company Hospedia, the car parking and transportation services company Duncan Solutions and the educational software companies Compass Learning and Renzulli Learning.

Despite this relatively new and, to our minds, dubious ownership of Arcserve, we decided to compare data backup/recovery products from Acronis and Marlin/Arcserve.

A number of vendors offer data backup and data recovery products that can shield you from the risk of data loss and business interruption. You also need a flexible disaster recovery plan that allows for all the different data recovery options you might face.

 

 

The ideal data backup/recovery tool stores up-to-date copies of your data in one or more safe locations. It’s easy to use, produces useful reports, gives you finely-granular recovery of important data and works with the computing platforms you have in your organization. The best data backup/recovery tool does its job quickly, consumes few computing resources and is affordable. It protects both physical and virtual environments, can move data to and from physical and virtual machines and supports all the hypervisors in your data centers. The ideal tool works as well with clouds as it does with your own data center storage.

We evaluated two data backup/recovery products in our U.S. Alabama network laboratory to discover which we could recommend to you, Acronis Backup 12 and Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) 6. Our review criteria included performance, usability, features and pricing.

Acronis Backup emerged the winner in the review. It performed faster than Arcserve UDP, it cost less and Acronis Backup was easier to use. Acronis Backup earns itself the Network Testing Labs World Class Award for best data backup/recovery product.




Performance
We benchmarked Acronis Backup and Arcserve UDP in three different computing environments and situations:

  • “Small Data” – a group of servers or a small data center with 26 GB of data
  • “Medium Data” – a data center hosting and processing 195 GB of data
  • “Big Data” – 4.2 TB, with most of the data in a large database
  • RTO/RPO system recovery time (i.e., disaster recovery)

In the first test environment (“Small Data”), we measured the elapsed time to back up and restore 26 GB of server data stored on a variety of computers – file servers, email servers, Web servers and database servers. Figure 1 shows the averaged results.

 



Acronis Backup was significantly faster than Arcserve UDP in all our Small Data tests – 20 percent faster for both backups and restores.



Figure 1. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Arcserve UDP 6 average backup and restore elapsed times for 26 GB of data.


In the second (“Medium Data”) environment, Acronis Backup’s performance again greatly exceeded that of Arcserve UDP.

Acronis Backup completed backup operations 31 percent quicker than Arcserve UDP and data recovery operations 24 percent faster on average. Figure 2 graphically depicts each product’s Medium Data results.




Figure 2. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Arcserve UDP 6 average backup and restore elapsed times for 195 GB of data.



Our “Big Data” tests used a multi-Terabyte database that we “sliced” horizontally into 6 shards, with each shard containing data for a particular global region.

Acronis Backup finished backup operations 34 percent faster than Arcserve UDP and recovery operations 37 percent faster. Figure 3 shows the averaged results.



For all three environments, Acronis Backup needed, on average, 10 percent less backup server disk space than did Arcserve UDP.





Figure 3. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Arcserve UDP 6 average backup and restore elapsed times for 4.2 TB of data.

To measure Acronis Backup’s and Arcserve UDP’s Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) performance, we simulated the destruction of four Windows Server computers containing a total of 50 GB in a single data center. One of these computers ran SQL Server 2008, one ran Internet Information Server (IIS), one ran an OLTP business application and the fourth was the backup server. In our tests, both Acronis Backup and Arcserve UDP copied data from primary servers to backup servers at a second data center at a remote location. Four computers at the remote location stood by, waiting to go to work in case of a disaster. We measured the minutes needed to recover data and resume operations.

Using Acronis Backup in one series of tests and Arcserve UDP in another series of tests, the administrator at the remote location restored the transferred data onto the waiting secondary servers. The test concluded when the administrator had restored all servers and had brought the OLTP application back online.


In the Acronis Backup tests, the administrator needed just 15.8 minutes to restore data to the servers and resume the OLTP application. In contrast, the Arcserve UDP administrator took 21.6 minutes, making Acronis Backup 37% faster. Figure 4 illustrates these results.

Acronis Backup was the clear winner in our disaster recovery testing.



Figure 4. Acronis Backup 12 vs. Arcserve UDP 6 average elapsed RTO/RPO recovery times.

Usability and Features

Acronis Backup has one user interface for all functions (the classic “single pane of glass”), while Arcserve UDP is actually a family of disparate products that Arcserve is currently working to integrate under one user interface.

The easy-to-use Acronis Backup interface presents an administrator with clear, uncomplicated task choices (i.e., back up now, recover, create a backup plan and manage my account) along with a list of recent alerts and a list of recent activities.

In contrast, Arcserve UDP’s disk-image-based and file-based backup/restore components each have separate and quite distinct user interfaces.

Acronis Backup is simpler to use. It has one type of “job” – backup. Arcserve UDP has eight different types of jobs.

 




If you have multiple site backups, both Acronis Backup and Arcserve UDP consolidate and centralize backup status information from all sites.

Acronis Backup also supports more modern platforms out-of-the-box. In addition to traditional physical systems, virtual machines and hosts, and applications, the Acronis solution supports backup and recovery of Microsoft Azure VMs and Amazon EC2 instances. It also includes backup of mobile devices – iPhone, iPad and Android, via native mobile OS backup interfaces, including cross-platform recovery.

To its credit, Arcserve UDP’s topology map clearly and intuitively displays a customer's infrastructure, much as a network monitoring tool would.

Cloud Support

Acronis maintains a set of SSAE-16-certified data centers through which the company offers cloud backup for Acronis Backup customers. Acronis’ cloud backup can be used as a backup and staging destination or a disaster recovery option. Acronis Backup can also use Microsoft Azure as a backup destination.

Acronis Backup’s cloud support is built-in, and the cloud is a data target or source just like any other. You don’t need to perform extra configuration steps or use an external tool to access the cloud. With Acronis Backup, backing up to or recovering from the cloud is perfectly seamless and transparent.

 

Acronis also offers Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) – the ability to run a copy of the customer’s system in the cloud with a guaranteed SLA.

Arcserve UDP’s cloud support is limited to Amazon, Azure, Eucalyptus and Rackspace. Moreover, only after it has completed an image-based backup can Arcserve UDP, in a secondary operation, copy critical files to a cloud.

Pricing
Acronis’ licensing is per server (host), without regard for the amount of data to be backed up. Unfortunately for Arcserve customers, Arcserve’s preferred licensing model is per terabyte.

An Arcserve UDP customer with a quite modest one terabyte of data on two Microsoft SQL Server computers would have to pay Arcserve $9,450 for Arcserve UDP Advanced. The price becomes $15,740 for Arcserve UDP Premium edition.

Licensing Acronis Backup for the same two database servers would cost the customer only $1,998.








The following two tables provide detail on Acronis and Arcserve licensing.


Table 1. Acronis Backup License Fees


License

MSRP

Server (physical/cloud, Windows/Linux)

$999

Virtual Host (VMware/Hyper-V)

$1,199

Client Workstation (PC/Macintosh)

$89

Acronis Cloud

$ 499 per year for 500 GB


Acronis license fees are feature-inclusive. They include universal restore, support for Microsoft applications, host and VM backup, image and file-based backup, any type of storage, Acronis Instant Restore, on-premise and cloud web-based console.

Table 2. Arcserve License Fees

License

MSRP

Arcserve UDP Standard

$3,777

per Terabyte

Arcserve UDP Advanced

$4,725

per Terabyte

Arcserve UDP Premium

$7,870

per Terabyte

NOTE: Arcserve UDP Terabyte Volume Tiers are 1TB, 2-5TB, 6-15TB, 16-25TB, 26-50TB, 51-100TB, and 100+TB

 


The Arcserve UDP Standard Edition includes basic, image-based backup, with limited tape functionality (i.e., tape migration of data).

The Advanced Edition adds application-specific backup (e.g., Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, and Active Directory).

The Premium Edition adds the ability to back up to both disk and tape, along with role-based administration. A Premium Plus Edition also includes.Arcserve’s High Availability feature.
Conclusion

Acronis Backup emerged the winner in all our tests. It clearly offers better performance, better features and lower costs than Arcserve UDP. We also found Acronis to be a better software technology vendor than Marlin/Arcserve.



Vendor Info

Acronis Backup 12

Arcserve UDP 6


  Acronis International GmbH


  Arcserve

781-782-9000

844-639-6792

www.Acronis.com

www.arcserve.com



Testbed and Methodology

The testbed network consisted of six Gigabit Ethernet subnet domains connected by Cisco routers. Our lab's 150 clients consisted of computing platforms that included Windows 2000/2003/2012 and Windows Vista/7/8, Macintosh 10.x and Red Hat Linux (both server and workstation editions). Our remote testing took place across T3 and OC-9 WAN links.

The relational databases on the network were Oracle and both Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012. The network also contained two Web servers (Microsoft IIS and Apache), three e-mail servers (Exchange, Notes and iMail) and several file servers (Windows 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 servers).

 

Our virtual computing environments consisted of VMware, XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V.

A group of four PowerEdge R720 servers with Dual Xeon E5-26xx processors, 384 GB RAM and 32 TB disk storage and running Windows 2003Server, Windows 2008 Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, was our test platform for all the products’ server components. A second group of four computers simulated our backup site for disaster recovery.



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