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An IT executive at a major media services company has added Mendocino Software's CDP solution to the company's storage environment to handle database recovery, even though it's still using Veritas Software Corp.'s NetBackup (now owned by Symantec Corp.) for its main backup program. Mendocino's CDP solution is used as a rapid recovery platform that enables the firm's database managers to directly and easily control recovery operations. Rather than using "application blind" split-mirror or snapshot programs to support critical database recovery, this user wanted to bring the recovery operations directly under the control of database managers.

We also spoke with an IT manager at a leading nutritional product retailer who chose Storactive Inc.'s LiveServ for Exchange because he wanted greater application-level controls for Exchange-based recovery events. Storactive's ability to perform e-mail object-level recovery in seconds, or minutes, from any point in the protected history constituted a significant step ahead for this user because the recovery operation used to take days.

Most importantly, the new arrangement let the company's Exchange managers skip an entire range of recovery steps that used to heavily impact the storage team, while providing fast, incremental recovery services to business users. The company hasn't abandoned its existing Veritas NetBackup program either. It still uses NetBackup to handle normal backup operations, with the Storactive

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product dedicated to application-specific recovery.

A healthcare management company uses Revivio Inc.'s Continuous Protection System (CPS) for application recovery across multiple Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server environments running in a 100TB-plus environment. This company selected Revivio because of problems with the existing hot backup architecture for its multiple databases, which was extremely failure-prone and often corrupted. Since deploying the Revivio product, the company has eliminated the complexity of its rotating mirrors for backups and allowed database administrators to take more control of the recovery process, which had been a long-term goal of the team.

There are three basic elements for application-enabled recovery:

  • Application-centric recovery. The application executes and controls the recovery process from any point in its protection history.
  • Little human intervention. CDP technologies should minimize the need for the administrator to touch any infrastructure elements outside of the application.
  • Event-based recovery. Groups of managers should be able to define any number of business values from which recovery operations can take place for one or more applications. These could be recurring business events such as "quarterly closes" and "CRM software updates," one-time events such as "new servers brought online," or even a meta class of correlated events such as "pre-consolidation/post-consolidation."

CDP products should be carefully evaluated in the context of specific application environments (see "Pros and cons of CDP products,"). The following questions will help you decide whether a CDP product is something you should consider for your environment (see "Does your application need CDP?").

This was first published in November 2005

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