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Advanced array features and data deduplication further reduce the gap between CDP, snapshots and replication. NetApp, for instance, feels that CDP and array-based data protection compete on an equal footing. Although NetApp acquired CDP vendor Topio, it has no plans to offer a pure CDP product at this point.
"Array-based snapshots and replication are proven technologies, and features like application integration and deduplication put it in direct competition with CDP," says Chris Cummings, NetApp's senior director, data protection solutions.
But array-based data protection has some significant disadvantages vs. CDP: It's typically more expensive, more complex and only works between supported arrays (see "CDP vs. array-based data protection," below). "Software-based CDP has enabled small- and medium-sized businesses to deploy data protection solutions that could previously only be afforded by larger firms," says Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) in Milford, MA.
Even though CDP failed as a standalone app, it has re-emerged and is succeeding as a feature, option or enabling technology in backup and disaster recovery (DR) products. Backup vendors BakBone Software Inc., CA, CommVault, EMC Corp. and Symantec Corp. all offer CDP in their products. While BakBone, CA, EMC and Symantec leverage the work of CDP pioneers through acquisitions or OEM relationships, CommVault developed its own CDP technology. So the lack of integration of early standalone products has become a non-issue. More significantly, it lets users dabble with CDP and use it to protect some apps and data, but use traditional backup methods for the rest of their data protection needs.
"Many of our customers start with CDP for a particular application, but as their comfort level and trust with CDP grows, they start using it for other apps and data," reports Zahid Ilkal, product manager at CommVault. A case in point is Matt Frehner, information systems manager at Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid, who has been using CommVault's Continuous Data Replicator to centralize remote-office backup and is now ready to take the next step. "We're planning to extend the use of CDP to disaster recovery of our Exchange and Microsoft SQL servers," says Frehner.
This was first published in October 2008