Articles & Guides

What is Continuous Data Protection?

George Di Falco on July 12, 2007
 
Whether it’s financially sensitive records, claims, client info, or if it’s to meet compliance regulations, keeping data safe and accessible at any point in time – no matter what happens – is more imperative than ever for Web hosting providers, businesses and their clients.

Within the past couple of years, Continuous Data Protection (CDP) solutions have become a highly attractive option for storage vendors and service providers, looking to stay competitive and for ensuring the utmost in data security for customers.

The concept of CDP comes in various forms, but in the purest sense it means the ability to restore data to about any point in time. Through CDP technology, all changes in an organization’s data are recorded right at the time of change. So if a virus, trojan or a disaster of some kind affects a file or an entire system, the most recent copies can be retrieved.

David Wartell, CEO and Founder of R1Soft Inc., spoke to TopHosts about the advantages of CDP and where it’s headed. He thinks CDP technology is truly catching on, as more and more recognize what it can do for their business and for their peace of mind. He explained that their CDP solution remains the most affordable on the market and won’t hamper a website’s performance in any way.

“Many businesses might be backing up weekly or daily right now,” Wartell said. “But we can back people up several times a day and, if they choose, several times an hour, without really any more cost to storage space or load on their server, or performance.”

R1Soft recently announced plans for a new CDP product, which will backup online MySQL databases running on Linux-based servers. The company also recently announced support for Ubuntu, Debian and control panel, DirectAdmin. With those moves, their CDP solution currently stands as the only one catering to the Linux market and for backup of MySQL.

Wartell explained that as CDP services like his evolve and become more affordable, many will realize the drawbacks of the more traditional, free back-up solutions out there – technologies that cannot handle storage much more than a 100 GB, with some barely able to back up every 24 hours. For the demanding storage quantities of today’s businesses, and growing amounts of VPS hosting operations right now, Wartell says CDP is far and above those traditional services.

The most attractive benefit of CDP is the flexibility and control it offers, with the ability to conform to the 24-hour rhythm of any organization. For example, many websites today still choose to back data up during the night, when transactions and activity is low, and when performance and functionality can’t be affected. But what happens if the database is corrupted during the day? What happens to the daytime transactions? CDP rises above that problem by delivering around-the-clock recovery, to any point in time, while barely affecting downtime.

Users of R1Soft’s CDP can schedule frequent volume snapshots, as little as 5 or 10 minutes apart. These “synchronizations” can be performed online and causes no interruption to other I/O requests even on a busy server.

Among the benefits of CDP, Wartell notes how easy and affordable it is these days. R1Soft offers various special pricing options for hosting companies, ISPs and resellers, with pay-as-you-go plans, where you pay for how much data is actually protected. For resellers, that means there’s no-out-of-pocket expense, because their end-users pay for it as they grow. There are also one-time pricing fees and you can also just pay per computer you’re backing up too.

Within the next couple years, Wartell explained CDP will become more essential to organizations, especially as the prospect of national regulations hit the scene. Already, in some parts of the European Union, businesses are required to keep records of emails, blog entries and records going back as much as three years. Wartell warns that it’s only a matter of time until such regulations hit North America.

As more businesses scramble to find affordable ways to meet those regulations, and as more customers demand the best in data back up, CDP will inevitably become an industry standard.

“CDP is really catching on and service providers and resellers are really starting to see how important it is to have this among their offers,” Wartell said. “Right now it’s uncommon for a dedicated server or Web hosting plan to come with a real data protection solution like CDP. But I don’t think that’ll be the case three years from now. It will soon just be a standard way of doing things.”




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