By Ann Silverthorn
Recognizing that “true” continuous data protection (CDP) can sometimes be overkill, Mendocino Software has added a “near-CDP” option to its InfiniView software. Don’t look for InfiniView to show up at Circuit City, though. This CDP is still priced for enterprises.
“End users, especially medium-sized enterprises, are cautious on the adoption of CDP because of a lack of familiarity,” says Brad O’Neill, senior analyst and consultant with the Taneja Group. “CDP is doing well in large enterprises with mission-critical environments. Large enterprises understand the value of having any-point-in-time capture and the efficiency it brings for disaster recovery or immediate local recovery.”
True CDP involves real-time capture of every block- or file-level write operation, allowing users to roll back to any point in time if they need to recover information. Near CDP can capture data many times per hour, but cannot recover data from absolutely any point in time.
According to Mendocino, it is much easier for a true-CDP vendor to offer near CDP than vice versa, which would require wholesale changes to the near-CDP software.
Current Mendocino users can add the near-CDP function by upgrading their software to the new 1.4 version. Upgraded and new customers can use true CDP, near CDP, or a dual mode.
Users can decide which type of CDP they need on an application-by-application basis. They may have some mission-critical applications that need true CDP all the time. There may also be applications for which true CDP is only needed for the first few days. As the data ages, near CDP might be sufficient.
“As a true-CDP vendor, we thought recovery granularity was most important,” says Eric Burgener, vice president of marketing at Mendocino. “But the benefit of near CDP is that you use a lot less storage even though you don’t have as much recovery granularity.”
Burgener hopes this move will broaden Mendocino’s market. “Users who don’t need the granularity and who in the past might have chosen near CDP can now get those benefits, but if they want more granularity they can get it with the same product.”
According to Taneja’s O’Neill, “As users become more familiar with the CDP engine taking over their point-in-time snapshots, they’ll eventually move into using any-point- in-time [recovery] at an application level.”
“We’re targeting companies with high-performance OLTP databases, very large Exchange configurations, and environments where there will be multiple servers plugged into one appliance,” says Burgener. “Those companies want transparent data capture and zero impact.”
O’Neill says companies that have had the time to evaluate CDP view it as a potential high-impact technology. “A common engine can do everything from creating recovery images, local-protection images, and replicas for remote sites, to testing images,” says O’Neill, “and Mendocino can also present a limited version of recovery images that more closely emulates the protection scheme the customer is familiar with.”
However, this will probably not be a suitable product for companies that only have a couple of servers to hook up to a CDP appliance. The software, which Mendocino OEMs to companies such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, costs $50,000 before the OEMs add any hardware to it.