Continuous Data Protection and Recovery System


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Typical CDP & Recovery
Typical CDP & Recovery

Threats to data are always a paramount concern to all kinds of organizations in today’s technology world. Also called continuous backup, it is a storage system in which an organization’s data is backup whenever any movement or change is effected. Whatever the cause of the damage may be, that modification of the data was undesirable and must be undone immediately.


Optimal Backup Flow

Figure 1. Optimal Backup Flow

CDP (Continuous Data Protection) has, for several years, made its way off the most overhyped technology list and is by far rapidly picking up steam as one useful piece of the data backup and recovery utilization puzzle. The SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) has defined CDP as a class of mechanisms that continuously capture or track data modifications enabling recovery to previous points in time."

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Continuous data protection (CDP) or near-continuous data protection (near-CDP) provide recovery alternatives not feasible with any conventional backup system. Both support immediate recovery, allowing the application to instantaneously set up a recovery image if ever the prime image is damaged. The difference between the two is their RPO (Recovery Point Objective) wherein CDP delivers a second granularity on rollbacks and offers the best RPO or RPO of 0 and RTO (Recovery Time Objective) of any data security solution. Near-CDP on the other hand provides an RPO of how often an organization is doing a snapshot. This is in effect the same as snapshotting. This often takes an hour of recovery. Effectively, CDP generates an electronic log of a complete storage snapshot, at one storage snapshot for every on-the-spot data is modified.


CDP generates every written input/output (I/O), bearing a corresponding timestamp that transpires against a fortified volume. With CDP in place, a rollback volume can be generated depicting any point-in-time (APIT) copy of the data exactly before the unexpected event occurred without having to predefine a specific period when a copy should have been made. Installing CDP hardware and programming is quite easy and simple and does not put any existing data at risk.

The prime advantage of CDP is that it maintains a record of every transaction that takes place in an organization. Most important is the fact that if the system is infected with a virus, or if data is damaged or corrupted and that problem is not detected until sometime later, it is always possible to retrieve the most recent clean copy of the affected data. 

In fact, today, “CDP is often being implemented as an additional functionality within backup/software suites," according to Hill, principal/analyst at the Mesabi Group. A true CDP can potentially build any recovery point as the organization wishes using a disk-array-based data security system appliance and suitable software. In these instances, CDP is not a new backup system but rather a complement to conventional backup processes. However, while it is true that CDP may not be for everyone, its capabilities can be as important to organizations that cannot afford data losses. 

Organizations that utilize CDP in their IT programs tend to have sizeable data stores to secure. According to ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group), around 42% of respondents with more than 100 TB of data uses CDP and another 42% have planned to adopt it in the next two years. In contrast, 26% of those with less than 100 TB are using CDP and 47% were planning to adopt it soon. 

Can CDP replace conventional/traditional backup usually deployed in the network?

Yes. CDP can ably replace traditional backup, but as in most testing scenarios, it is only as good as the ability of organizations to get backed-up data off-site.

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