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Microsoft's DPM may be flawed, but you'll buy it

By Steve Duplessie
January 23, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Since You Asked is a weekly Computerworld column in which Enterprise Strategy Group founder and senior analyst Steve Duplessie will field questions from readers about storage and storage networking technology.

I saw you speak recently about Microsoft's DPM (Data Protection Manager). You acknowledged that it works as a CDP type device only on Windows files -- not even Exchange or SQL -- yet you stated that it was going to be one of the most important products ever introduced for data protection. Why? -- J.L., San Francisco.

DPM is loaded with shortcomings. It only does files (Windows); it isn't really CDP since it only keeps "snapshots." It isn't transaction granular. It doesn't do any Microsoft applications like Sharepoint, Exchange or SQL. But what it will do, better than anything else can, is put CDP type function into the mainstream. Sure, it will only be for your Windows file data (for now), but once you use it (and you will -- I can prove it), you'll be hooked on the benefits that K-CDP (kinda CDP) offers -- far better RPOs (recovery point objectives) and RTOs (recovery time objectives). Once you taste the love in the files environment, you'll hanker for it all over your data protection landscape -- and start demanding that your primary backup/recovery vendors provide you with the same level of granular data protection for your Unix/Linux world and all your application areas.

The concept of CDP is one of the smartest things ever in the computer business. Prior to CDP, we accepted our pathetic fate in backup: We know it's awful, we know it's going to fail, and we know we're going to throw good money after bad, year after year. CDP is the first significant technological change in backup and recovery in a lot of years -- no matter if it's "true" CDP (transaction-level granular) or K-CDP (a collection of point-in-time snapshots) -- either is much better than the RPOs/RTOs that we get from our traditional full backup on the weekend, our incrementals during the days, etc.

So how do you quickly socialize a mass market to the benefit of CDP? Microsoft, that's how. No one else has the power to put tons of products in tons of places in no time at all. Our research tells us that pretty much everyone on the planet is going to have some DPM in their shop this year -- and why not? It's incredibly inexpensive, and it will make your Windows file data recoveries much more effective. Sure, it has shortcomings, but

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