Can CDP render backup redundant?
My brain is mush
Comment Continuous data protection could render dedupe, virtual tape libraries (VTL) and backup software redundant. Er, run that past me again.
Alexander Delcayre, FalconStor's technical director, says that the company's Continuous Data Protection (CDP) product is block-level, not file-level. It captures every write I/O a server makes and journals it. That means that the CDP store is basically capable of becoming a disk image.
You mean, I say, you could do a bare metal restore from this? "Of course," he says.
So we have what I took to be a file recovery technology that can recover a file to any point in time, can in fact also recover a system. Physical and virtual, I asked? "Of course," he said. The CDP product running on a virtualized server contains logical sub-journals within it that save the changes to each VM's virtual disk.
Then I asked a dumb question: "Can you dedupe a CDP repository?" No, you can't but you don't need to, it only saving the changed data at a block level. Ah, cue Eureka moment. Use weekly snapshots to do full copies of disks and CDP to do the highly granular changes and you have a pretty complete disk data protection system.
"In that case, why do you need tape?" I asked. "You don't," he said.
This means, in theory, you don't need deduplication - because that's an answer to an overflow of data problem created by virtual tape libraries. You don't need virtual tape libraries either because they're an answer to a slow and unreliable file restore problem created by tape automation devices. You don't need tape automation devices - because they store data created by tape backup software - which you don't need either because backups aren't granular enough and take too much time.
The whole backup software-to-dedupe stack unravels, along with bare metal recovery products, if you use a block-level continuous data protection product that protects systems as well as files.
Tell me I'm dreaming. FalconStor is weaving a data protection reality distortion field and my brain is mush - or is it?
It's not that Delcayre believes tape is for the chop. He reckons: "CDP could potentially replace traditional backup practices, as long as the customers are ready to change the data protection model. Tape is not dead (yet)." ®
To the critics commenting here
I'm no expert, but this seems to suggest in this case study FalconStor CDP can be deployed remotely: http://preview.tinyurl.com/4sw4qj. Presumably, then, this data store could be mirrored to a location elsewhere too. So... doesn't that kind of eliminate half of Anonymous Coward's (at least) critical posts? Like I say, I'm no expert... just following all your terminology.
sure you still need backups.. but CDP can help
1) CDP won't protect you 100% against hardware or site failures, I think this was not the purpose of this interview ... Tape/Archiving is not dead, Mirror/replication is not dead.
2) However, CDP can enhance your existing backup solution with continuous journaling and any-point-in-time recovery, to protect data (databases, messaging applications) between regularly scheduled backups.
3) CDP technology can be combined with traditonnal mirror/replication technology to ensure off-site recovery.
I agree with Gary A, a good CDP solution is application and database aware - clearly you have no idea what you are talking about !
I'll respond to the others here shortly... but I wanted to post this quickie in response to the Earthquake scenario:
"It's very hard to be sure of what's gone wrong. Quake? Brief network outage? Power outage? Remember the news stories after Loma Prieta, 9/11, New Orleans? For hours no-one had a clue about what was really happening. Having a DR site pick up while the real problem is that someone tripped over the network cables (figuratively speaking) can cause much more grief than it cures. You can automate failover *within* a data centre, it is rarely safe to do it across geographical distances."
You are 100% correct about local failover being your first line of defense. However, I also believe that a properly configured DR architecture using CDP is just fine for even those instance where someone "trips over a cable". You can failback just as easily as you failover so why wouldn't you? If your clients don't see any interuption, isn't that where the value of DR is? Again this is a 'backup vs. CDP' argument and a tape backup system wouldn't be of any use in this scenario.
Just for a real-world example, we have offices in Miami. When evacuations begin for a hurricane, we usually have a 48 hour window to stage the failover (essentially babysit it) and test it before it actually goes live. If we were to have a fire i the building, it would failover at the first moment of disruption (which is tied into our security)