CDP: Awareness up, adoption slow

By Ann Silverthorn

The entrance of large vendors such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard, 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 510 survey respondents say they have a good understanding of CDP, compared to 25% in a previous survey conducted about 10 months earlier. Although 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 notes that in the 2005 survey, larger storage vendors had not yet introduced CDP solutions, and the report concludes that a strong correlation exists between awareness and adoption and the introduction of CDP products by large vendors.

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The report, “Continuous Data Protection: Capturing the Changes in End-User Awareness and Technology Adoption Life Cycle,” authored by IDC’s Rhoda Phillips, storage software research manager, and Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst, states that since the previous survey, a number of acquisitions have affected the CDP market.

Start-ups that have been acquired by large vendors in the past year include Kashya (by 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 compliance 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.

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The IDC survey asked respondents to provide their own definition of CDP. Then they were given the following definition of CDP:

Continuous data protection (CDP), also referred to as continuous backup, pertains to products that track and save data to disk so that information can be recovered from any point in time, even minutes ago. CDP uses technology to continuously capture updates to data in real-time or near real-time, offering data recovery in a matter of seconds. CDP systems may be block-, file-, or application-based and can provide fine granularities of restorable objects to highly variable recovery points.”

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While end users are more aware of CDP and many plan to increase their CDP budgets, the number of survey respondents currently using some form of CDP has risen from 21% in 2005 to only 28% in 2006. In addition, end users planning to start using CDP in the next 12 months actually dropped five percentage points from 2005-from about 25% to 20%.

“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 start-ups. Then the larger vendors jumped in and since then we’ve seen a lot of acquisitions. However, you don’t hear a lot from the big vendors about CDP.”

“As the level of awareness of what CDP is grows, some users start to recognize that what they need is not a CDP product,” comments IDC’s Yezhkova. “That’s one factor that caused a drop in the rate of CDP adoption…over the next 12 months.”

The report states, “Delivering the message of the value of CDP technology appears to be overshadowed by the hype.”

Yezhkova says that the hype associated with CDP is calming down. “CDP is supposed to solve all your problems, but now that users are more familiar with the technology, some of them realize 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 stand-alone product. And as end users become more aware of the technology, they’re expecting ROI justification. This, according to IDC’s 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 the market.

For more information, see the Reader-Expert I/O column (by Cambridge Computer’s Jacob Farmer), InfoStor, September 2006, p. 8.

This article was originally published on November 01, 2006