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CA To Offer Cloud-Based Backup, Recovery

Targeting SMBs and branch offices, CA will launch a version of its ARCserve platform on the Windows Azure cloud later this year in partnership with Microsoft.

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CA Technologies announced on Tuesday that it will launch an online version of its ARCserve backup and recovery platform later this year, to be delivered in partnership with Microsoft via the Windows Azure cloud. The subscription-based software is intended to attract smaller business and branch office customers.

"This is very much targeted at the SMB market," Brian Wistisen, director of product management at CA, said in an interview. "It really allows a much more attractive model for them versus some of the more conventional kinds of backup solutions that they might be presented with."

Pricing has not been set, nor has a launch date. CA simply said the cloud subscription service will be available at some point in the second half of this year. CA isn't putting its definition of small business in permanent ink. Wistisen said that CA typically considers somewhere between 20 to 200 employees as the range, but notes that the software is built to scale into the midmarket. In terms of data volume, the cloud version of ARCserve could suit firms with just a few gigabytes up to several terabytes, according to Wistisen.

A better benchmark than the number of employees might be the size of the IT department. "It's meant for organizations that really don't have a lot of the resources or infrastructure in place to be able to manage and service more of a traditional backup solution," Wistisen said.

Given growing virtualization adoption among SMBs, there's one noteworthy catch: Because it will be delivered through Windows Azure, the cloud version of ARCserve will only support Microsoft's Hyper-V for backup of virtualized environments. That could change in the future, but at launch Citrix and VMware users will have to look elsewhere. "We're specifically focusing on the Windows Azure relationship right now, although there's a lot of potential we have and that we're looking at with regards to other platforms and other kinds of potential offerings," Wistisen said.

Wistisen describes the Azure-based version of ARCserve as a hybrid backup and recovery tool, noting that it will support on-site storage as well. That's important for both data redundancy as well as minimizing latency in recovery situations. "It really allows the best of both worlds from the standpoint of cloud-based data protection, but we're going to be allowing these customers to store that data locally as well for disaster recovery purposes," Wistisen said.

The hybrid model for backup and recovery appears to be gaining steam, at least among vendors catering to small and midsize firms. Symantec recently announced it will add both cloud and appliance versions of its client-side Backup Exec software. Earlier in the year, Cisco entered a partnership with Mozy to offer optional online backup on its network storage devices for SMBs.

"Customers are realizing it's very, very critical not to place all of your eggs in one basket in terms of storing your data," Wistisen said. "We're seeing a lot of demand for hybrid as a go-forward model, especially in SMB arenas where they may not have the resources to develop their own private cloud or an additional off-site repository."

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