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July 1, 2012

Finally time to declare full backups dead

Continuous data protection (CDP) was bleeding-edge a few years ago, but it’s re-emerging as the best technology for protecting organization's virtual environments. In 2006, Taneja Group published a technology brief titled “Continuous Data Technologies: A Paradigm Shift.” Back then, we maintained that the traditional method of data protection was seriously flawed and needed a fundamental overhaul. For decades, the basic method of data protection was based on copy making. To protect a file we made a copy of it and stored it elsewhere -- but we did it as inefficiently as possible. For backups, we would start with a full backup to tape. That meant every bit of data in that volume was transferred from primary storage where it resided, through the application server, over the local-area network (LAN), into the media server and then onto tape. Nightly incrementals came next and any file that had even a slight change was dragged through the backup process again. A bunch of snapshots were taken and these stayed on the primary storage and...

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