By Ann Silverthorn
—Tomorrow, CommVault will make the first of three major announcements this quarter around its QiNetix data management suite. The first announcement introduces ContinuousDataReplicator (CDR), a data-recovery software module built on the QiNetix platform. CDR protects data located at remote offices and also between data centers.
CommVault describes CDR's function as "continuous protection of data" instead of today's popular buzzphrase "continuous data protection" (CDP), because CDP is just part of the company's solution, according to CommVault officials. CDR protects data at the byte level, which is more granular than CDP products that protect data at the block level.
Chris Van Wagoner, director of product marketing at CommVault, explains: "We don't believe CDP is a category separate and distinct from other technologies, but a tool that customers can use to better protect and reduce vulnerability to data loss. We're offering an integrated spectrum from traditional backup to tape, disk-to-disk technology, snapshots, replication, and continuous data protection."
Van Wagoner says CommVault applied the CDP-like functionality of continuous change and capture technology to two customer needs: the need for byte-level continuous change capture and data movement, and the ability to indicate when application data has referential integrity. CDR addresses those two functions through continuous replication of file and application data between the source and designated targets. The software employs "Recovery Points" designed to provide referential integrity of application data.
Users can decide per application how many recovery points to designate. For example, a SQL Server application can tolerate more of the "freeze-thaws" needed to mark recovery points than an Exchange server can. To capture I/O, CDR software requests that the application commit all of its operations to disk, placing Exchange in a suspended state (although still online and processing requests).
"Since users are banging on Exchange all day, you don't want to pause it with great frequency. A database, like SQL, is more tolerant of being paused because it captures the I/O onto a log and then replays the log in the background, so you can have more-frequent referential integrity," says Van Wagoner.
CDR moves the captured images, through integration with CommVault's backup software, to any media. Later, it can restore from any of those images directly back to the host. Administrators can replicate entire volumes, individual directories within a single volume, or selected folders. Administrators can choose a recovery point and then, since all transactions are recorded, those transactions can be applied to roll forward or backward.
CommVault's CDR joins six other modules in the QiNetix portfolio: Galaxy Backup & Recovery, DataMigrator, DataArchiver, QuickRecovery, StorageManager, and QNet. Users can purchase modules individually or bundle them as needed.
The CDR module is comparable to Mendocino's RecoveryOne and EMC's RecoverPoint CDP offerings.
Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner with the Data Mobility Group consulting firm, comments that CommVault's entry into the CDP arena is another example of validation of the technology. "CDP began with start-ups and now the bigger vendors are embracing the technology. Some large vendors acquired start-ups' technology, but CommVault developed its own."
ContinuousDataReplicator is priced at $1,595 per host.