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Do you have an application that's routinely taken offline during operations, and can this downtime be managed on a regular basis without business loss?

If the answer to this question is "Yes," you probably shouldn't consider using CDP for this application. Existing snapshot and mirroring technologies should provide adequate disk-based recovery capabilities. CDP might be overkill.

What's your sensitivity to data loss for this application? Is it measured in data lost over days, hours, minutes or seconds? What's the recovery point objective (RPO) trend over the past year?

If you're measuring RPO in minutes (or less) of data loss for this application, you should definitely consider CDP because you can more easily achieve those fine-tuned goals. On the other hand, if a data loss of hours (or longer) is currently acceptable, CDP enablement for this app may prove to be excessive.

What's your sensitivity to downtime for this application?

If you answered "It's always highly sensitive" or "It's becoming a five-nines environment," CDP can improve the recovery time objective (RTO) for this application; however, a detailed analysis of cost/ benefits must be conducted.

Is your application recovery failure rate in the double digits? Do you rely heavily on recovery scripts that require ongoing updating and attention? Do common storage activities such as provisioning place applications at risk?

A "Yes" response to any of

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these questions could mean your environmental complexity is sufficient to merit an evaluation of CDP technologies. These questions force you to analyze the indirect costs of a complex application environment. One of CDP's advantages is that it removes complexity by collapsing formerly discrete functions into one action (for example, providing a single, user-specific restore image for a database vs. synchronizing multiple, independent backup images as in traditional hot backups).

If you decide to investigate CDP products, the next question you need to answer is "What application(s) will CDP protect?" To protect multiple database applications spanning multiple platforms will require a fundamentally different product than one that protects Exchange.

This was first published in November 2005

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