CDP poised to replace traditional backup methods


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Data restores can be performed by administrators or by permitting users to browse previous versions using Windows Explorer or Microsoft Office 2003 applications.

Some factors to consider:

  • DPM depends on Active Directory to manage access to data. Because of this, it can also identify systems or volumes that aren't protected, which can be valuable for discovering "orphan" systems and ensuring they're properly protected.

  • In its initial version, DPM protects only files. It doesn't handle e-mail or databases, although that functionality will be added in subsequent versions.

  • DPM is a "Windows Server-only" solution. It doesn't protect desktops, laptops or non-Windows servers.

  • Microsoft is positioning DPM as a solution for businesses with 10 to 99 file servers, and for enterprises implementing centralized data protection for branch offices.

  • The DPM server must be protected through replication, backup or a combination of the two. It's important to note that Microsoft is positioning DPM in a disk-to-disk-to-tape architecture and has provided an interface to enable backup software vendors to integrate DPM support into their products. With a fully integrated backup product, client restores from tape, if required, can be performed directly without the intermediate

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  • step of recovery to DPM.
Several other CDP products provide similar or greater levels of data protection. Some also protect applications such as e-mail. Whether Microsoft's entry into data protection chills the third-party market or raises awareness and broadens the market remains to be seen.

A number of promising storage technologies have taken time to gain traction: virtualization almost died but has been reborn; iSCSI was long awaited and is now growing; and intelligent switches--well, they're still emerging. Is it finally time to think about dumping your batch-oriented backup infrastructure? For most companies, the answer is "Not yet." However, it's clearly time to assess where these new technologies can be applied. It'll take a few years, but I expect that one day we'll be referring to transparent backup as a "best practice."

This was first published in November 2005

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