IBM offers file-based CDP

By Ann Silverthorn

—IBM today announced its first foray into the continuous data protection (CDP) market with the IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files software. The real-time backup software is designed to scale from corporate file servers to departmental remote offices and down to desktops and laptops. Looking ahead, IBM plans to expand its CDP offerings to include block-based CDP and arrays.

IBM claims that when working together with enterprise disaster-recovery software, such as Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), the CDP for Files software protects files by automatically making copies of data locally or across the network. Data can be guarded against deletion or alteration of active files and also from viruses and other forms of corruption.

"We have 10 patents filed on this blend of replication, traditional backup, and CDP," says Chris Stakutis, CTO of Tivoli CDP for Files. "The product is file-based, which is a good place to start with CDP since the digital assets that most people want to protect are file-based assets."

While a file is being written to, Tivoli CDP for Files makes a copy, catalogs it, and copies the file so it can be restored later should the need arise. "That feature is just as valuable to someone sitting in an airplane creating a document as it is for an office worker tethered to a file server," says Stakutis.

Kami Snyder, marketing manager for Tivoli Storage Products and ILM Strategy, explains further: "Every time I hit 'save' on my laptop, or every time a file is saved to a server, it's protected at that moment. I don't have to wait for the next scheduled snapshot or the next scheduled backup to tape."

Of course, an employee, working remotely on a laptop with no access to the network, is protected only with the cache that CDP for Files creates on the laptop itself. The next time the laptop is connected to the network, the synchronization process takes place. "We expect that 95% of restores will be done from the local cache," says Stakutis. "But you will still want to get the information off the machine to protect against machine-oriented disasters."

Charles King, a principal analyst with the Pund-IT consulting firm, says it's critical for storage vendors to address the huge amount of information distributed across enterprises. "Some businesses tend to forget that the information on their employees' individual hard drives is also a storage asset."

The most obvious competitor IBM faces is Microsoft with its Data Protection Manager (DPM) and its mission to bring CDP to the masses. Both products are about the same price (just under $1,000), but DPM is just "near-CDP" (see Microsoft enters D2D backup market ) and IBM claims that its software is easier to install. According to IBM's Snyder, CDP for Files can be deployed and configured in less than three minutes.

IBM will also compete to a degree with smaller vendors in the CDP space, including Kashya (see Kashya adds CDP to DR ), Lasso Logic (see Lasso CDP targets SMBs ), Mendocino Software, Mimosa Systems, Nexsan (see Nexsan combines CAS and encryption), Revivio, Storactive, TimeSpring, and XOSoft.

This article was originally published on August 26, 2005