BakBone integrates CDP with backup

By Kevin Komiega

—BakBone Software has upped the ante in the backup-and-recovery market by building out the newest version its flagship product, NetVault: Backup 8.0, with capabilities such as integrated continuous data protection (CDP) and Shared Virtual Tape Library (SVTL) support, all in an effort to eliminate the need for stand-alone products.

The biggest advance in NetVault 8.0 is the integration of what the company calls "TrueCDP," an add-on that captures byte-level, file system changes in real-time across Linux and Windows environments, and then journals the changes locally, separate from primary storage."

The promise of CDP is faster, more-granular data recovery and, according to Matt Law, BakBone's product marketing manager, the best way to provide CDP is as an integrated feature of the backup software. Law claims most CDP implementations are point products that only provide "near-CDP" functionality via the recovery of scheduled snapshots.

"There are plenty of near-CDP products that are limited to recovering snapshots. TrueCDP provides protection for users who need more-granular recovery capabilities down to the millisecond," says Law.

NetVault 8.0 with TrueCDP is aimed at users with large file server environments or at any organization that deals with constantly changing data. "TrueCDP is a fit for any environment where it's costly to reproduce lost data, particularly companies with stringent recovery point objectives [RPOs] that can't afford the gaps in protection associated with snapshot technologies," says Law.

Analysts agree that CDP should be integrated into backup products.

"Some vendors offer a traditional backup product, but then if a customer wants CDP functionality, he or she needs to buy a separate product," says Laura DuBois, research director for storage software at International Data Corp. (IDC). "That's not ideal as CDP continues to mature and its adoption for improved recovery continues," she adds.

DuBois also says users want a data-protection platform with the flexibility to enable or disable features such as CDP for specific systems.

"Users want a common data-protection platform with features like CDP, data de-duplication, and tape emulation that they can enable or not based on business needs and application priorities. BakBone is an example of one vendor that provides this," says DuBois.

Some confusion still hovers around CDP in the user community despite the media blitz by storage vendors in recent years. The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) defines CDP as a class of mechanisms that continuously capture or track data modifications, enabling recovery to previous points in time.

Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at the Taneja Group consulting firm, boils it down: "True CDP technologies capture every write. Every time an application changes something, it modifies data. True CDP captures and maintains those writes locally for recovery of an image from any moment in time," he says.

Taneja says BakBone's latest release provides this functionality for file data. The next step, he says, is to elevate CDP to the application level.

BakBone's TrueCDP client for Windows costs $2,999, while the Linux client is priced at $3,999.

Along with TrueCDP, NetVault 8.0 offers integrated SVTL support. SVTL lets administrators increase virtual tape library (VTL) capacities on-the-fly to accommodate capacity growth. Other additions to version 8.0 include re-startable backup functionality and expanded support for cluster managers from vendors such as Fujitsu, Sun, and Symantec.

NetVault: Backup 8.0 also manages clients and servers across firewalls, enables password change enforcement to improve security and compliance, improves disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) management by encrypting copies, and supports Network Appliance's ShadowTape.

This article was originally published on October 10, 2007