Feature

Second-generation CDP

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How CDP is used today
While the CDP acronym is familiar, it's interpreted in different ways. "There has been a lot of confusion about CDP and what CDP really is," says Laura Dubois, program director, storage software at IDC, Framingham, MA. "CDP is like video and snapshots are like photos," explains Whitehouse. As a result, CDP minimizes the loss of data in case of a failure. With snapshots, all data between a failure and the latest snapshot is lost.

With rapid data growth, meeting backup windows is a challenge for IT managers, a problem CDP can address. CDP eliminates the need for a designated backup window as changes are captured on an ongoing basis. Similarly, the need for more aggressive recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) can be met by CDP (see "Data protection metrics comparison," below). "There's a clear need in the data protection market for more compressed recovery points and times, which CDP helps to achieve," says Dubois.

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Click here for a comparison of
data protection metrics (PDF).

Data protection for branch offices has been a pain point for most companies. The lack of IT staff in remote offices, the need to deploy tape libraries and using non-IT staff for tasks like tape changes has been challenging, resulting in inadequate data protection. Unlike expensive array-based replication, CDP has addressed this crucial issue relatively inexpensively with the installation of CDP agents on remote servers that replicate data changes back to a central data center. Because changes are replicated as they occur, bandwidth requirements are modest. "We're replicating data in remote offices back to our data center where it's backed up to tape," says Newell Rubbermaid's Frehner. "If a remote location loses a server, we're able to point users to the replicated data in the primary data center by simply changing their login scripts."

CDP has been very successful in the disaster recovery market. In a typical DR setup, production data and applications are mirrored to standby servers in a DR location to which users can be failed over quickly. Unlike array-based snapshots and replication, which have been primarily used for this in the past, CDP is less expensive and less complex to set up. As a result, CDP enables smaller companies to put in place a DR strategy that only larger firms could afford in the past.

"We chose CA XOsoft High Availability [formerly CA XOsoft WANSync HA] as our DR solution because it was relatively inexpensive and has built-in provision for DR testing," says Peter Haas, director of technology at the Supreme Court of Louisiana in New Orleans. Asempra Technologies Inc., CA XOsoft, Double-Take Software Inc. and InMage Systems Inc. have opted for CDP as the underlying technology to power their DR-centric data protection products. "A combination of local backups and DR with the ability for failover is the best way of ensuring 24/7 availability, and CDP is the most appropriate technology to achieve it," explains Rajeev Atluri, CTO and senior VP of engineering at InMage.


This was first published in October 2008

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