Monday, 13 November 2006

Continuous Protection

I've been looking at Continuous Data Protection products today, specifically those which don't need the deployment of an agent and can use Cisco's SANTap technology. EMC have released RecoverPoint (a rebadged product from Kashya) and Unisys have SafeGuard.

SANTap works by creating a virtual initiator, duplicating all of the writes to a standard LUN (target) within a Cisco fabric. This duplicate data stream is directed at the CDP appliance which stores and forwards it to another appliance located at a remote site where it is applied to a copy of the original data.

As the appliances track changed blocks and apply them in order, they allow recovery to any point in time. This potentially is a great feature; imagine being able to back out a single I/O operation or to replay I/O operations onto a vanilla piece of data.

Whilst this CDP technology is good, it introduces a number of obvious questions on performance, availability etc, but for me the question is more about where this technology is being pitched. EMC already has replication in the array in the form of SRDF which comes in many flavours and forms. Will RecoverPoint complement these or will, in time, RecoverPoint be integrated into SRDF as another feature?

Who can say, but at this stage I see another layer of complication and decision on where to place recovery features. Perhaps CDP will simply offer another tool in the amoury of the Storage Manager.

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