HP Picks Mendocino

Will resell startup's CDP and eventually OEM it. But it's not clear who's interested yet

October 18, 2005

3 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard will make continuous data protection (CDP) a big piece of its enterprise backup strategy next year, through an OEM deal with Mendocino Software. But there are signs the move may have limited appeal with customers.

HP is the second large storage company to strike a deal with Mendocino. EMC will announce its OEM deal with Mendocino next week at the Storage Networking World tradeshow. (See Mendocino Cops $18M and CDP: An OEM Game.)

HP will resell Mendocinos RecoveryOne CDP appliance in the first quarter of 2006, according to HP senior director of ILM Paul O’Brien. The company plans a rebranded HP version in mid-2006, and it will eventually embed Mendocino’s CDP technology in other products.

Like other CDP products, RecoveryOne captures all changes made to data and allows users to restore from any good version of a document or application in case of a system or media failure. RecoveryOne also allows users to go back to specific events, such as the point before a patch was installed, or the end of the last fiscal quarter. (See Mendocino Makes an Event of CDP.)

Up to now, HP has offered a NAS server based on Microsoft Data Protection Manager (DPM), a “near-CDP” product that uses frequent snapshots to store Windows files but does not continuously back them up. (See HP Bundles Up With MS.) EMC hasn’t fully revealed its CDP strategy, but appears to be headed in the same direction as HP. EMC is taking a frequent snapshot approach for Windows files and applications with its Legato RepliStor and will build CDP into enterprise applications.Suppliers seem undecided about how best to sell CDP. IBM and Symantec say CDP is a way for SMBs to restore Windows files. But CDP startups such as Mendocino, Revivio, and XOsoft that were among the first to develop the technology consider it best suited for enterprises, and HP and EMC appear to be taking that tack. (See Microsoft and Symantec Cut SMB Tape and IBM Hops CDP Bus)

Clearly, customers are sending conflicting signals as to CDP’s best use, or if it has much value at all yet. A survey of more than 150 storage professionals from Fortune 1000 companies conducted by research firm TheInfoPro (TIP) showed enterprise users haven’t yet warmed to CDP. In the survey results announced last week, CDP finished 18th -- near the bottom -- of TIP's Heat Index that ranks technologies according to current and planned usage. A Byte and Switch poll conducted last month found 40 percent of respondents not sure of their CDP plans compared to 16 percent using CDP now.

One early CDP customer has been using the technology for a specific application, Microsoft Exchange. “Some of these larger applications such as Exchange and SQL Server are really in the dark ages as far as backup and recovery are concerned,” says Mike Johnson, senior systems engineer at Nature's Sunshine, an herbal supplement company based in Provo, Utah. “I was looking for specific features that I could only find in CDP.”

Johnson has been using startup Storactive’s LiveServ for Microsoft Exchange CDP product since last November. (See Storactive Backs Up Exchange.) He says CDP helps him back up Exchange applications spread over the company’s subsidiaries in 32 countries that otherwise would go unprotected.

Johnson appears to be part of a trend among enterprise users -- a trend HP is now responding to. "I think CDP will be application-specific initially. It’s not meant to replace backup applications, but will be used for databases and email servers.” O’Brien says.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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