To CDP, or not to CDP: That is the question:
Whether ’tis best for the budget to suffer
The pain and hassle of outdated backup,
Or to take arms against the tower of tape
And by D2D, CDP.

Continuous data protection used to be only for very large enterprises with very large budgets and extremely stringent requirements in terms of recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). In fact, early CDP products cost well over $100,000.

Although those implementations qualified as “true” CDP (near-instantaneous recovery to any point in time), “near” CDP (snapshots on steroids) products now put CDP within the budget range of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In fact, some CDP software packages are priced at less than $1,000 per server. And that suggests that adoption may be ready for takeoff.

Based on QuickVote polls of InfoStor’s readers last year, about 34% of the respondents have already deployed some form of CDP. And in an end-user survey conducted a couple of months ago by Peripheral Concepts, 45% of the respondents said they had already implemented CDP. If those percentages seem high (and they are), that’s probably because some of those users are referring to snapshot technology that’s marketed as CDP, rather than as true CDP. In fact, I’d guess that many SMBs consider daily incremental backups with weekly full backups to qualify as CDP, which would obviously skew survey results.

Some of the results of the Peripheral Concepts survey are summarized in one of our Special Report articles this month. See User survey: Data protection, CDP, snapshots,” by Peripheral Concepts’ president Farid Neema.

One of the results of the survey that I found interesting was that companies that have implemented CDP only use it, on average, for about 30% of their data. This is an important point for SMBs: CDP is probably only required for a portion of your total data, so it doesn’t require a rip-and-replace restructuring of your existing backup procedures.

The other article in our Special Report package this month (see “The role of CDP for SMBs,” by Enterprise Strategy Group storage analyst Heidi Biggar) explains how CDP can address most, if not all, of the backup problems associated with traditional backup-and-recovery techniques.

And in “What’s the right ‘fit’ for CDP?”consultant Dan Tanner writes about how CDP products can emphasize data protection or business continuity-or both.

Whether “near” or “true,” CDP is definitely worth evaluating, but do pay close attention to the total costs involved.

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Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on April 01, 2007