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Market Analysis: Continuous Data Protection

The technologies we use for backing up data have come a long way from nine-track tape, but too many companies' policies haven't kept pace with the real-time, online applications on which today's businesses depend.


A database that stores hundreds of customer transactions every hour needs more than a routine nightly backup. The solution is continuous data protection. CDP offerings aren't replacements for conventional backups, but they can save your butt if a high-traffic system suddenly goes south.

Companies are embracing the concept, slowly. In our reader poll for this article, 40 percent of respondents said they have CDP in place now or will within 12 months. Forty-one percent say they have no plans, and 19 percent cite a 24-month implementation window.

So where does CDP fit into your IT strategy? A comprehensive data-protection plan must include three basic tasks. First, protect data from the host and applications that create and manage it, typically by making a copy. If data is corrupted by a rogue process--say, a worm or virus on your database server--you must be able to access this protected copy to restore the application. These protected data copies, or views, must be sufficiently granular so you can revert an application's data to a usable view without losing too much data. Some vendors would argue that snapshot technologies cover this need, but snapshots have limitations (more on those later).

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