By Ann Silverthorn
September 18, 2006—The entrance of large vendors such as EMC, Hewlett-Packarad, IBM, Microsoft, and Symantec into the continuous data protection (CDP) market has raised end users' awareness of the technology, according to a new report on the CDP market by International Data Corp. (IDC). The report states that 61% of the survey respondents say they understand CDP, compared to 25% in a previous survey conducted about ten months earlier. Though the recent IDC survey indicates that users plan to spend a larger percentage of their 2006 data-protection budgets on CDP than in the previous year, adoption of the technology has seen only modest growth.
The report, "Continuous Data Protection: Capturing the Changes in End-User Awareness and Technology Adoption Life Cycle," authored by IDC's Rhoda Phillips, research manager, storage software, and Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst, states that since the previous survey a number of acquisitions have affected the CDP market. Startups that have been acquired by large vendors in the past year include Kashya (EMC), XOSoft (CA), Alacritus (Network Appliance), Storactive (Atempo), and LassoLogic (SonicWALL).
Other factors that have affected end-user awareness of CDP include compliance requirements and the need to protect remote-office data. As regulations force companies to place a higher priority on business continuity and disaster-recovery planning, many users believe that CDP can help address those priorities. In addition, the report states that CDP can help companies support remote users since their data can be restored from a centralized location.
While end users are more aware of CDP and many plan to increase their CDP budgets, the number of survey respondents currently using CDP products has risen from 21% in 2005 to only 28% in 2006—not a dramatic climb. In addition, end users planning to start using CDP in the next 12 months actually dropped five percentage points from 2005 (see figure below).
"There was an expectation last year that CDP was going to take off like crazy," says IDC's Phillips. "In the beginning, the whole CDP area was driven by startups. Then the larger vendors jumped in and since then we've seen all these acquisitions. But you don't hear a lot from the big vendors about the CDP they acquired."
"As the level of awareness of what CDP is grows, end users start to recognize that what they need is not a CDP product," comments IDC's Yezhkova. "So that's one of the variables that impacts a drop in the rate of CDP adoption, installation, and usage over the next 12 months."
Yezhkova also says that the hype associated with CDP is calming down. "CDP is supposed to solve all your problems, but now that people are more familiar with the technology, some know they don't need CDP. Many of them don't need data from every second. Recovery from a half-hour ago is good enough."
Phillips and Yezhkova believe the future of CDP is as part of a standard data-protection package rather than as a standalone feature. And as end users become more aware of the technology, they're expecting ROI justification. This, according to the analysts, in addition to the number of products to choose from, is lengthening product-evaluation cycles and will slow both the adoption rate of CDP and the growth of market activity.