The 'C' in CDP has been downgraded

When I started writing this month's Special Report on continuous data protection (CDP), I had a goal of not getting into the "true CDP" vs. "near CDP" discussion/argument. It just seemed old school, and we had already covered that angle in a previous article on CDP.

But it’s impossible to avoid that distinction, in part because vendors still use the true vs. near CDP terminology to differentiate their products (while at the same time saying that the distinction is meaningless).

Maybe it is meaningless. The fact is that very few companies really need true CDP, which, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll define as the ability to recover from any point in time (APIT). This in contrast to near CDP, which offer less granular recovery points—essentially, “snapshots on steroids.”

In addition, many vendors offer a spectrum of recovery points, ranging from good old snapshots to APIT recovery: Users can choose based on their specific recovery point objective (RPO) requirements, capacity issues, cost, service level agreements (SLAs), “application-consistent” vs. “crash-consistent” requirements, the importance of the data being protected, etc.

Further, many traditional backupsoftware vendors have integrated some level of CDP functionality into theirbackup suites, or at least offer it as an add-on option. This blurs the linesbetween CDP and backup and, in fact, standalone CDP applications/platforms are becoming rare.

As such, it’s possible that the CDP term will eventually fade away, despite the fact that the Storage NetworkingIndustry Association’s Data Management Forum has a special interest group dedicated to CDP.

As Fadi Albatal, FalconStor Software’s director of marketing, says in the Special Report, “The argument [over true CDP vs. near CDP] is irrelevant. It all depends on your SLA, RPO and RTOrequirements. It’s a matter of what isacceptable risk and/or data loss.”

Or as John Ferraro, InMage Systems’ president and CEO says, “We don’t sell CDP; we focus on disaster recovery.”

Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on January 01, 2009