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Rollout: SonicWall Continuous Data Protection 4440i

The Upshot

SonicWall's Continuous Data Protection 4440i appliance aims to simplify backup by bundling software and hardware. Designed for small enterprises, the appliance copies data in near-real time to an encrypted hard drive. Unlike scheduled backups, CDP makes near-instantaneous copies of data to prevent information loss.
4440i vies with established software products like CA's Arcserve and Symantec's Backup Exec. It also competes against online backup services, which are easy to use and provide disaster recovery. SonicWall plans to offer new options for off-site storage using the appliances.
The 4440i makes sense for small enterprises or for remote offices. However, customers will sacrifice modular storage expansion and the ability to customize the setup. With a 1.2 TB maximum (compressed), the product isn't sufficient for data-intensive environments.

SonicWall Continuous Data Protection 4440i

Data backup and recovery is just as crucial for small enterprises as it is for big ones. But backup can be expensive and require separate hardware and software. Plus, conventional schedule-based solutions leave a gap between when data is created or changed and when it's backed up. During this gap, data may be lost.

SonicWall's new line of CDP (continuous data protection) appliances aims to solve these problems. It simplifies installation by bundling the hardware and software. The four models in the line range in capacity from 200 GB to 1.2 TB, depending on the compression level (see table, below). SonicWall also plans to offer off-site a new backup capability that will let customers send data to a second appliance off site--a nice perk for small and midsize enterprises that need disaster recovery. And data is backed up nearly instantaneously, reducing the risk of lost information.

SonicWall is aiming at customers that want options outside software, such as CA Arcserve, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager, and Symantec Backup Exec 11d, all of which offer disk-based CDP. However, such customers also may be looking at online backup services from EVault, Symantec and others. These services can be as easy to use as an appliance, provide disaster recovery and don't restrict storage capacity.

We tested the SonicWall CDP 4440i. It includes a base level of 600 GB of storage, along with the software agents installed on Windows PCs and servers for data and application backup. SonicWall says you can get about 1.2 TB of storage with compression, lowering the total cost per gigabyte to less than $7. But vendor-provided compression figures should always be taken with a grain of salt.

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