Ever since continuous data protection (CDP) was introduced nearly a decade ago, it has largely been a technology looking for a problem to solve. However in the last few years it is finding a home in the most unlikely of places – social media websites. But maybe what is most interesting is that little known R1Soft CDP has emerged as the early and widely recognized leader in this space.
The growing role that CDP is playing in protecting social media websites first came to my attention late last year. I was attending some conference in Silicon Valley and while there had the opportunity to talk to a number of system administrators who worked for various hosting providers.
Now if there is any place where geeks and business owners successfully co-exist, it is within the halls of today’s managed service providers as their system administrators and architects are in many respects today’s modern-day cowboys. What they may lack in discipline and couth they make up in savvy and an uncanny knack of how to milk the most out of systems that most other companies would have mothballed years ago.
Yet one particular thorny problem that many of these individuals were encountering and unable to easily and economically resolve was protecting their social media websites. While websites are often viewed as static and unchanging, many of the client websites for which they are responsible for protecting are social media sites that are often constantly changing and being updated.
Aggravating the problem, many of these websites are:
- Running as either physical or virtual machines on Red Hat Linux or Windows servers
- Collecting reader comments and feedback that could not be reproduced
- Websites hosted for a fixed monthly fee
Protecting the reader comments and feedback was specifically becoming a priority for the MSP’s clients. Aside from it being impossible to recreate the comments left by the readers on these sites, a growing amount of corporate intellectual property now resided in these reader comments in the form of suggested product enhancements, workarounds, and new use cases for the products.
The trouble these system administrators encountered as they looked for a solution were on multiple fronts.
- Few CDP technology options with support for both Windows and Linux. The number of data protection solutions that protect both Windows and Linux and offer CDP functionality is limited.
- Affordable. Managed service providers are under constant pressure to offer more services at ever lower costs so a backup solution, no matter how good it is, is not an option.
- Quick recoveries. Websites are expected to be up 24×7 so in addition to constantly protecting the environment, the CDP solution had to enable the MSPs to recover just as quickly.
- Protect both physical and virtual environments. This is maybe what surprised me the most. One would think that hosting providers would be at the forefront of adopting and delivering virtualization in their environment. While they certainly offer and support it, the amount of their environments that is virtualized is less than one would think. I expected somewhere from 70 – 80% but many are in the 50% or less virtualized range with some only having 20 – 30% of their servers virtualized.
- No SANs or NAS. Despite the buzz you hear about networked storage environments, many of these managed service providers still run physical servers with internal direct attached storage so they do not have access to any of the advanced software feature functionality found on high end storage systems.
It is in this space why CDP software and R1Soft CDP in particular is finding a new home. CDP software enables these service providers to provide the constant data protection that their customers want and keep the same low cost infrastructure they have in place now.
R1Soft CDP is having particular success in this space. The reasons that systems administrators at these hosting providers constantly and consistently cite for choosing R1Soft are:
- Protects a large number of servers (I have talked to R1Soft customers using a single R1Soft CDP server to protect over 100 servers)
- Is the only data protection provider of which I am aware that offers a snapshot plug-in for Red Hat Linux that has functionality similar to Red Hat Linux
- Bare metal restore capabilities
- An affordable starting price point (starts in the neighborhood of $15K)
CDP has long been a solution looking for the right venue in which to get a footing. In managed service providers, it finally seems to have found a match. These are cost-conscious organizations that need data protection software that gives them the ability to constantly protect their data and then quickly recover it. Equally important, they can achieve this ideal without first needing to put in place a costly hardware infrastructure.
This is really what makes rise of R1Soft CDP among managed service providers all the more impressive. There are numerous data protection providers in the market today but R1Soft CDP has carved out a nice niche for itself by providing the specific technical features that they need at a price point that matches their budget.