CDP: An alternative for VM backup

Is the best option for virtual machine backup to not actually back up data? Howard Marks, chief scientist at, tells his Storage Decisions audience that continuous data protection is more than making snapshots of data -- it's about having an infinite number of recovery points for your data. In this video, Marks explains how CDP is being used for VM backup today.

Five or six years ago, some vendors specializing in continuous data protection declared that backup was dead, and tried to position themselves as the next stage in preserving data, according to Marks.

Continuous data protection automatically saves a copy of every change made to an organization's data, instead of waiting for scheduled times to conduct an en masse backup process for changed data. But that system means placing a write splitter between a customer and that customer's data, said Marks.

"[CDP-specific vendors] are no longer with us, not because CDP was a bad idea, but in part because CDP was hyped a bit before its time, and in part because the people who needed CDP most were the people with enormous databases that were not practical to back up," said Marks. "And people with enormous databases that were not practical to back up do not buy applications to protect those enormous databases from start-up companies that could go out of business any day."

Marks said CDP is a "good idea" and has the backing of some of the storage industry's heavyweights. However, he warns that some vendors use the term CDP "loosely" and base it on snapshots -- even if it's granular, that is not the same thing as continuous data protection.

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