Asigra 'Features' CDP

Positions CDP as a piece of the backup puzzle but not a standalone application

September 11, 2006

4 Min Read
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Asigra is adding continuous data protection (CDP) to its backup software, and hopes to make up for lost time by building it into its Televaulting application for remote offices with no license fees for CDP.

Asigra today launched Televaulting 6.2 with a CDP option. Asigra concentrates on backing up data from remote sites to data centers over the WAN. Most of Asigras customers are service providers and enterprises with at least five remote sites. (See Asigra's Path Forks.)

CDP will let Asigra customers restore data from any point in time instead of from their last backup. Customers determine which files or applications they want to use CDP on, with Exchange the main candidate. Televaulting then captures data as it is written to disk, and sends it to the centralized server over the WAN. If a file is corrupted or deleted, users can restore the last good version of it from the remote site or data center.

By now, many backup vendors have CDP but most offer it as a separate product or charge extra to make it part of the core backup application. Asigra executive VP Eran Farajun says he considers CDP valuable for disk-based backup, but not a standalone product.

“To us, CDP is a feature of the product, not a product in itself,” Farajun says. “That’s why we’re giving it away.”Although Asigra doesn’t charge for the CDP option, it isn't free. Asigra charges by how much data it collects at its centralized site. Customers using CDP will have more data stored, so they'll have to pay more. Televaulting pricing begins at $11,250.

Tom Dugan, president of IT outsourcing firm eSourceGroup, says CDP is cheaper and easier to manage when integrated into the backup application. Dugan’s company, referred to us by Asigra, backs up its clients data to a data center supplied by Recovery Networks -- a service provider that uses Asigra Televaulting. He likes the idea of CDP but not having to install it as a separate product.

“I read about CDP about six months ago and thought ‘That would be great,’ ” he says. “But I shuddered when I thought I have to go buy a CDP piece of software, deploy it, convince people it works, and then have two backup technologies.”

While CDP is becoming common data protection, vendors offer it in different forms. (See CDP Report Card.) CDP started as a standalone technology offered by startups Mendocino Software, Revivio, TimeSpring and a few others. Backup vendors Atempo, CA, and EMC acquired companies with CDP technology, and Hewlett-Packard has an OEM deal with Mendocino. (See Atempo Swallows Storactive, CA Buys XOsoft, EMC Coughs Up for Kashya, and HP Picks Mendocino .) Those deals result in CDP as a separate application from the core backup product.

CommVault and now Asigra have developed their CDP as integrated pieces of their backup applications, although CommVault charges extra for CDP. (See CommVault Advances QiNetix .) Symantec also charges licenses to protect servers with its near-CDP (frequent snapshots, file-only protection) feature in Backup Exec. IBM offers a CDP application for files but has yet to integrate it into its Tivoli backup software. (See IBM Brings CDP Home.)“CDP is just another form of data protection like backup is,” says Diane McAdam of The Clipper Group. “You have a choice -- you can do full backup of an application or CDP. You want to use CDP for more mission critical applications where things are changing rapidly, and normal backup might work fine for other things like human resources or payroll files that don’t get changed.”

Dugan says the biggest benefit for his users is the ability to instantly restore deleted emails individually without having to bring back an entire mailbox.

“If a client deletes an email message, I can restore one single email,” he says. “It’s not this big rigamarole about restoring the whole mailbox.”

Doing CDP over WAN connection has a big potential pitfall -- the WAN speed may not keep up with a big CDP data load. Asigra Televaulting uses data de-deduplication to reduce the amount of data going over the WAN but even that might not be enough to transmit changes every minute. Farajun says Televaulting automatically adjusts the granularity based on available WAN capacity.

“If a customer changes a lot of data frequently, it could cause a bottleneck,” Farajun says. “The application throttles itself. It might not grab data every time it’s written, maybe it will grab it every couple of minutes.”This could cause it to transmit changes every 10 minutes instead of every minute during certain periods. “If that’s the case [not enough bandwidth], you get the best CDP you can, instead of no CDP,” Farajun says.

— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Asigra Inc.

  • Atempo Inc.

  • CA Inc. (NYSE: CA)

  • The Clipper Group Inc.

  • CommVault Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Mendocino Software

  • Revivio Inc.

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • TimeSpring Software Corp.

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