Finally time to declare full backups dead


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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 hogged space. Some snapshots were backed up and occupied space on tape. In a typical IT environment, it wasn’t unusual to find anywhere from 10 to 100 copies of the data on primary storage and tape combined. Often, the cost of protecting data outweighed the cost of primary storage by a factor as high as 5-to-1.

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This was first published in July 2012

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