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Storage Vendors Advance Continuous Data Protection

Posted by iTech - 2006-04-11

Several vendors are advancing continuous data protection, or CDP, the latest technique for backing up storage to reduce the risk of data loss.

FalconStor, Kaysha and Mendocino Software launched some new CDP tools and partnerships during this week's Storage Networking World conference in San Diego. Proponents of CDP say it is a viable method of assuring continuous availability, particularly of mission-critical applications, because it employs an approach to backing up systems in real time by providing numerous recovery points, minimizing the chance for transactions to be lost between backup periods.

CDP still is considered cutting-edge within the data-protection market, as most customers still are trying to understand the technology's fine points. In fact, CDP can be considered a close cousin of more commonly implemented methods of backing up servers and storage arrays -- snapshot and replication.

While replication enables IT managers to recover the most recent replicated version of data, snapshot and CDP offer numerous recovery points. CDP promises the most granular level of data recovery, or infinite points-in-time retrieval. Depending how it's configured, data can be incrementally backed up every hour, minute or even in a span of seconds.
Among this week's announcements: FalconStor launched a CDP tool called CDP IPStor Enterprise Edition, suited for midsize companies ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 30,000 employees, while Kashya unveiled the latest version of its KBX5000 R2.3Data Protection Platform with integrated disaster recovery and CDP. Mendocino, which bagged an OEM deal with EMC late last year, says it has inked a joint-technology agreement with database and middleware provider Sybase.

FalconStor's CDP offering is particularly attractive to midsize enterprises looking for a cost-effective entry point into the emerging technology, says Mitchell Vallone, a practice manager at M&K InterNetworking Security Services.

"It improves recovery objectives in a cost-effective way," Vallone says. "It fits horizontally across systems instead of a stovepipe solution. It's an agnostic application, so customers don't have to empty their pocketbooks."

FalconStor, which has built a strong OEM business through its Virtual Tape Library (VTL) product, added a CDP enhancement to its most recent IPStor v.5 software.

Donald Mead, FalconStor's vice president of marketing, says CDP IPStor Enterprise Edition has been integrated with its TimeMark snapshot product and includes a feature that intelligently monitors how many I/Os are hitting the disk drive. This enables IT managers to pinpoint the cleanest point to retrieve data by finding the most stable point within an application as it was being copied.

FalconStor's CDP IPStor Enterprise Edition -- geared for branch offices and SMB environments -- also is tightly integrated with a range of databases, messaging applications and file systems, including Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Windows, Sybase, IBM Lotus Notes, DB2 UDB and Novell NetWare. The CDP offering has a remote version that provides continuous or periodic disk or file protection for servers, workstations and laptops.

Kashya, which offers an appliance that employs CDP between branch offices and enterprise data centers, has enhanced its KBX5000 R2.3 software. The update is currently is in limited release, while general release is planned for later this month. Enhancements include the ability to do CDP recovery either from the primary or remote site.

"Previously, if a local site went down, you had to go to the secondary site to recover," says Rick Walsworth, Kashya's vice president of marketing.

Furthermore, the new KBX5000 version is integrated with Oracle and Microsoft applications. The software journals every write operation and adds a recovery time stamp to generate infinite data recovery points.

Mendocino is one of the few CDP start-ups to sign an OEM deal: It inked an agreement with EMC late last year. Now the vendor has signed a joint-development pact with Sybase. Mendocino plans to integrate its "infinite snapshot engine" with Sybase's database products.

In addition, Mendocino will have access to Sybase's database-application transaction logos to enable transaction-specific data recovery. Currently, the product can recover lost data based on events and time. The new product is scheduled for release in early 2007.

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