Second-generation CDP


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Continuous data protection products still offer the most granular recovery points of all data protection applications.

WHEN CONTINUOUS DATA PROTECTION (CDP) emerged a few years ago, it was positioned as a product that would replace traditional backup software. CDP vendors predicted IT managers would abandon their age-old weekly full and daily incremental backups and adopt CDP, which captures every data change and can restore data and applications to any granular point in the past. But that prophesy never materialized, as the majority of CDP pioneers--vendors like Kashya, Lasso Logic Inc., Mendocino Software, Revivio and TimeSpring--were either acquired or went out of business. In addition, most IT managers continue to rely on traditional data protection vendors for backup and recovery. Does that mean CDP has failed? Or is it succeeding, but in ways most observers wouldn't have expected?

CDP has failed as a standalone product because most IT managers weren't willing to forgo their proven backup software and backup methods for a new and unproven technology. "In hindsight, it's clear that offering CDP as a standalone product was the wrong approach to get into the marketplace," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO Group, a technology analyst and consulting firm in Stillwater, MN.

The lack of integration with existing

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backup software was one of the reasons CDP wasn't able to survive on its own. Those who bought into CDP had to run two completely separate backup infrastructures or take a leap of faith and commit all of their data protection to CDP, a step only a few were willing to take.

Equally damaging to CDP vendors was the success of array-based data protection for critical data. Array-based snapshots and replication are very similar to CDP. Instead of capturing every change, snapshots taken in defined intervals were sufficient for most data protection needs. As the frequency of snapshots increases, the distinction between snapshots and CDP blurs. Moreover, the idea that only some of the many recovery points of CDP are application-consistent confused users, and made the concept of capturing each and every change somewhat questionable. "While all snapshots are consistent and usable for recovery, determining a good point of consistency can be difficult in CDP products," explains David Russell, VP of research at Gartner Inc., Stamford, CT.

This was first published in October 2008

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