ARCserve Backup Format

In 1990 Cheyenne Software created the client/server backup software suite called ARCserve allowing backup storage solution for networked computers. Designed to provide a Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) solution across a wide range of platforms, it was possible to back data up to the storage media of your choice such as tape or optical disk.

Over the last twenty five years ARCserve has undergone a large amount of development and now provide unified data protection servers as their data backup solution. As with the original software data can be easily backed up from a wide range of computers and servers, also providing virtual server support, data deduplication services, mirroring and automated failover server systems. The core of ARCserve is to provide data backup and a means of recovering data in the event of a disaster.

History of ARCserve History

Aimed primarily at the enterprise market, Cheyenne Software developed their flagship product ARCserve as a server based software solution to allow data on a network to backed up to the client’s media of choice. The importance of data backup solutions was soon apparent with OEM’s distributing copies of the software in 1993, ensuring ARCserve was seen as one of the most important data backup software suites. This enabled them to release versions aimed at specifically at the Windows and Apple Mac markets, providing standalone software solutions.

Computer Associates acquired Cheyenne Software in 1996 which allowed ARCserve to be developed across an even larger range of platforms. In 2014 Marlin Equity Partners purchased ARCserve, turning it in an independent company providing full disaster recovery services.

Format of ARCserve Backup

Cheyenne Software created a propriety data format for all its ARCserve products, the details of which have not been made publicly available. The data format is however highly structured making it relatively simple for our tape data recovery research and software development team to determine the metadata structures. This makes it possible to perform data recovery from any ARCserve backup, be it a complete or partial backup.

ARCserve maintains a database on the computer rather than storing an on-tape copy as some other software does. If the catalogue needs to be recreated the tape backup sets can be rescanned. This allows selective restores to be made using the ARCserve software suite.

ARCserve and Data Recovery

A wide variety of tape media can be used with ARCserve with data coming from a vast range of different source computers, from which DiskEng are able to recover the files or provide data conversion services. We can recover and restore your files, whether the backup is incomplete, such as a damaged, overwritten or missing tape or the backup sets have logical corruption making the data inaccessible to the ARCserve software.

The most common reason for a tape containing an ARCserve backup to require data recovery is due to a physical media issue or user errors, such as a tangled and snapped tapes, reinitialising or overwriting a previous backup. At one time problems with tape driver support, particularly on Windows systems were a common problem, which could lead to the incorrect format being written to the tape media were fairly common, such an occurrence is rare, although not unheard of, especially if attempting to restore from old archive media.

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