During my last trip to SF I spent a couple of hours with Arkeia’s CEO, Bill Evans, talking about the latest news from his company and how their product evolved in the last years. In the past I used to be a partner of this company and I remember them as a single product company very focussed on a SMB Linux environments backup solution, but after this talk, I can firmly say this doesn’t hold true anymore.

The company

Arkeia was born in 1996 and besides Silicon Valley headquarters, they have now subsidiaries in Paris, Berlin, and San Diego. Their mission is to provide backup and Disaster recovery solutions through their product, Arkeia Network Backup, marketed as a software or as an appliance.
The company claims to have 150 channel partners and more than 7000 customers worldwide in almost every vertical segment. In 2009 they did a big investment buying a small company, Kadena, a small software house with a very strong deduplication technology. They are competing in the midrange backup market, facing against products like Symantec BackupExec, Acronis and Veeam.

The evolution

As I wrote above, up to Version 6 Arkeia Network Backup, the company was mostly focussed on provididing a solution to SMB customers in the Linux field. Their support for Microsoft and Unix environments wasn’t very good and few application level integrations were offered.

Since then the company has been releasing a number of innovations to its product, up to the point Arkeia became a quite different thing, a very attractive solution expecially for any kind of virtualized infrastructures.
Now, Arkeia sports a great web user interface (introduced with V.7), a strong support for virtualized environments (introduced with V.8) and a very good deduplication solution (announced some months ago with V.9).

When I say they are very strong in virtualization support, I really mean it! Indeed, Arkeia supports almost any available hypervisor: vSphere, Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM, and Virtuozzo. When it comes to VMware and Microsoft they support every storage APIs (i.e.: vStorage, VSS, ecc.). Arkeia now supports many OSes and delivers agents for the most important applications and DBs.

Deduplication at the core

Arkeia sees Deduplication as a key point in its strategy. The technology developed by Kadena (they call it “progressive deduplication”) is very efficient and allows to achieve remarkable levels of data footprint reduction at an higher speed when compared to fixed o variable block dedupe techniques. Progressive dedupe is a very smart deduplication technology and Arkeia put a lot of efforts in it to achieve the best results regardless the kind of file it is applied to.
Arkeia is working on Deduplication both at the client level and at the server level. The former acts while the backup job is running so it doesn’t use any servers’s CPU power that will deal with compressed data thus minimizing the network traffic.
As for now, the servers can replicate deduplicated data between sites (electronic vaulting) but in a future they will add more interesting features to it.

The advantages of deduplication become very clear when thinking about cloud backup (both private or public) expecially in countries (like Italy) where bandwidth is still very expensive. Moreover, VARs may also sell just a simple appliance to backup data and replicate them to a remote DC and then sell a service to eventually grant the restore of customer’s environment, much like a “DR as a Service”.

Bottom line

Arkeia is a mature company with a mature product and a great deduplication technology as the icing on the cake. Their strategy is very simple and the products line up (software and appliances) makes sense for SMB and midrange customers. If you are about to rethink your backup infrastructure, Arkeia is an option you should consider, expecially if you are looking for a cheap way to build a cloud based backup/valuting or if you are in need of a cheap DR option.

Disclaimer: I was invited at this meeting by Condor Consulting Group and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any other person than the Juku’s team.