CDP Moves to Storage Forefront

Smaller companies join top-tier vendors with offerings.

With the amount of data produced by enterprises growing at a staggering rate, vendors are looking for ways to help businesses better store and protect that information.

A technology moving to the forefront is CDP (continuous data protection), which an IT manager can use to restore a system to working order within 5 minutes after a failure, with nothing getting lost or damaged in the interim.

CDP continually records data changes and stores only the changes, instead of the entire database. It essentially creates an electronic journal of complete storage snapshots—one storage snapshot for every instant in time that data modification occurs. When coupled with disk storage, CDP offers data recovery in a matter of seconds; it also allows recovery from previously created recovery points enabling rollback to specific points in time.

Enterprises are getting on board with the idea. In a report issued in February, Forrester Research analyst Stephanie Balaouras said about 20 percent of businesses now use some sort of CDP technology, and that number should jump to 35 percent by 2011. In addition, more than half of all enterprise data protected with disk will be protected with variants of either true CDP or near CDP over the next few years, according to the report.

That will be important as data—structured and unstructured—continues to grow in the enterprise by as much as 60 to 70 percent per year, according to some analyst estimations.

Datacore Softwares Traveller CPR (Continuous Protection and Recovery) features high-availability mirroring software that lets storage administrators roll back to any previous point in time prior to a disaster, virus attack or other disruptive event.

"We call it time travel CDP plus virtualization," said Datacore President and CEO George Teixeira, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Traveller logs and time-stamps all the I/O changes to data asynchronously, without impacting production systems. Storage becomes a time-addressable resource."

Top-tier industry players, from Symantec and CA to EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Iron Mountain, all offer some form of CDP technologies. However, smaller players are getting into the mix as well.

Asempra Technologies launched the latest version of its Business Continuity Server May 21. Version 2.5 of the companys product includes support for Windows applications running in a VMware virtualized environment. Data protection software maker Yosemite Technologies added CDP technology to its portfolio in February, when it acquired FileKeeper, which made software for continuous backup of desktops and notebooks.

Mendocino Software unveiled dual-mode CDP support in its InfiniView product Feb. 20, enabling businesses to save data either in a true CDP or near-CDP fashion, depending on their needs. Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., on May 1 unveiled enhancements to its NetBackup PureDisk data deduplication offering. Among the upgrades—due out this month—are integration with Veritas Backup Reporter, improved storage availability and more security features, such as support for Active Directory/LDAP authentication and the companys new Data Lock feature. Data Lock enables users to apply a unique password to data.

"We have our own CDP layer that encompasses any part of an enterprise system," said Kris Hagerman, group president of Symantecs data center management division. "As far as we know, its the only one of its kind that can connect all systems, no matter what hardware or operating system or application, under one roof."

One IT manager with a mixed data center went with Symantecs NetBackup because of the ability to link myriad systems. "We were more than just a few islands; we were the whole South Pacific," said the manager, who didnt want to be identified.

CA bought XOsoft in July 2006 for its CDP expertise and has integrated its products into CAs BrightStor ARCserve Backup to develop a package that protects and recovers critical applications.


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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...