Storage Soup

Oct 10 2007   2:04PM GMT

CDP’s evolution takes shape

Maggie Wright Profile: mwright16

The evolution of the use of continuous data protection in companies is taking shape. BakBone Software’s inclusion of CDP as a new feature in its NetVault:Backup 8.0 release puts it in the growing number of products such as Asigra’s TeleVaulting and InMage Systems DR-Scout that use CDP to protect Windows and Linux servers.

The rationale for including CDP in backup is simple. Easy backup and recovery of standalone Linux and Windows servers remains a significant challenge for administrators. Companies still have too many of this class of servers with too few administrators, who are struggling to provide a cost-effective means to backup and recover this class of servers.

Using CDP as part of the backup client addresses this issue on several fronts. It replicates data to disk locally and remotely; it provides for fast point-in-time recoveries at any past point-in-time (typically 3 – 30 days); and by creating and keeping a complete copy of the data on disk on another host, administrators can manipulate this copy of data in multiple ways.

One way that BakBone Software differentiates itself from other CDP products is that it does not completely abandon its backup software origins. BakBone Software’s NetVault:Backup software still serves as a configuration and policy manager for CDP on each backup client while also acting as a CDP target, receiving replicated data from each of its backup clients. As the NetVault:Backup server receives the data, it periodically creates point-in-time snapshots of the data. Administrators can then use that snapshot as a source for near real-time application recoveries or to copy the data from disk to tape for offsite data protection.

CDP does come with hidden costs and considerations, no matter who the vendor is. With any CDP product, administrators need to allocate enough additional disk to the target server to keep a copy of each backup client’s replicated data. For example, if the target server acts as the backup target for 20 backup clients, it needs enough storage capacity to hold the data for each of those 20 clients.

The target server will also need sufficient additional capacity to store all of the changes that occur daily on each of the protected clients. In this example, if administrators want to provide point-in-time recoveries going back 14 days for each CDP client and there are 10 GB of changes on each of the 20 cdp clients each day, companies will need at least an additional 3 TB of capacity just to store these changes.  However with disk capacities climbing and the price of disk dropping, this is not as costly as it once was.

While paying so much attention to deduplication and disk libraries (disk-as-disk or virtual tape), vendors seem to have ignored Windows and Linux server backup and recovery. Using CDP either as part of the backup client or as a standalone agent to protect Windows and Linux servers fills this hole in corporate data protection.

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