What is Continuous Data Protection (CDP)? The Pros and Cons

Continuous data protection protecting application data

Are you doing everything possible to protect your data? If not, you are running the risk of significant data loss impacting your business.

Here Are Some Statistics That Might Surprise and Shock You:

  • Roughly 1 out of 100 hard drives fail each and every year.
  • Ransomware is on the rise. In fact, it’s been predicted that a ransomware attack will occur once every ten or so seconds globally.
  • According to Datto, 28% of ransomware attacks result in the loss of data and/or a device. 13% of respondents also said that their data had been stolen.
  • Over half of small firms that suffer major cyberattacks go out of business within six months.

It’s clear that data protection is more important than ever before. So, what’s the best way to protect your data and ensure you have a continuous backup at the ready in the event of an emergency?

Continuous Data Protection Explained

One option is continuous data protection (CDP). CDP is a method of backup that continuously backs up data as it changes. This means that you no longer have to rely on scheduled backups, which can leave your data vulnerable if something happens outside of a normal backup window.

Data is the lifeblood of most businesses and needs to be protected as such. CDP ensures that data loss does not occur between scheduled backups, making it an ideal solution for businesses that cannot afford to lose any data. Without having a continuous backup, companies run the risk of their most important data being lost forever. When this happens, the only thing that can be done is to start from scratch, which can be costly and time-consuming.

How Does Continuous Data Protection Work?

Continuous data protection offers a quick recovery

CDP works by constantly monitoring the changes that are made to data and then copying those changes to a remote data center. This way, if the primary copy of the data is lost or corrupted, you will always have a backup.

CDP accomplishes this by writing to physical disk storage. This involves installing a dedicated continuous data protection server that is connected to the main network. The backup server then constantly monitors the data and copies it to the disks.

Continuous data protection software works to minimize the impact on data resources by only copying changed data blocks. This means that CDP uses less disk space and network bandwidth than backup methods that require periodic full backups.

Types of Continuous Data Protection

There are two main types of CDP: Near Continuous Data Protection and True Continuous Data Protection. Near CDP is typically snapshot-based and can therefore only restore data based on the interval of the snapshots (e.g., every 15 minutes), whereas True Continuous Data Protection is block-based and backs up all previous versions of the data. This means that you can restore your data to any point in time, which can be very useful if you need to roll back changes that have been made.

CDP can be used to backup any type of data, including databases, file data, and even entire servers or virtual machines. There are a few different topologies that can be used for CDP, depending on the needs of your organization.

The most common topology is on-site source-to-target replication, which allows users to quickly recover data from the target disk in the event of a failure. This topology also introduces some latency, as data must be written to both source and target. For businesses that require even higher levels of protection, off-site replication is a more suitable option. Off-site replication introduces higher latency, but it provides better protection against data loss in the event of a disaster.

Advantages of Continuous Data Protection

Data corruption can be prevented with a continuous backup

There are many advantages to using continuous data protection, including:

Records Every Write and Copies to the Target

This means that you have a complete record of all the changes that have been made to your data.

Preserves a Record of Every Data Write

This can be useful for auditing purposes or if you need to roll back changes.

Disaster Recovery

CDP can be used to quickly recover data in the event of a disaster.

Version Control

With CDP, you can always restore your data to any point in time. This can be useful if you need to undo changes that have been made.

Disadvantages of Continuous Data Protection

The main disadvantages of CDP are:


CDP is typically based on disk storage, which can be more expensive than other types of storage.

Single Point of Failure

CDP relies on a single copy of the data. If this copy is lost or corrupted, you will lose all your data. CDP is an adjunct to, not a replacement for, an effective backup strategy.

Increased load on data resources

CDP can place a higher load on your data resources, as it constantly monitors for changes.

How Is Continuous Data Protection Different From Traditional Backup?

Continuous data protection works by backing up critical data center data

The benefits of continuous data backup are numerous. You don’t have to choose a particular point in time before restoring from continuous data protection because it is, well, continuous data. Traditional backups only restore data from the moment the backup was made. There are no backup schedules with continual data protection. Data is both written to disk and sent over the network in parallel. Continuous vs. Near Continuous Data.

Some continuous data protection solutions are only capable of performing restores on a regular basis, such as every hour or once every 24 hours. Such methods aren’t regarded as genuine continuous data protection since they don’t allow you to recover to any point in time.

There is some disagreement amongst experts about whether CDP requires “every write” granularity or whether a solution that captures data every few seconds is sufficient.

The issue revolves around the word continuous: whether only the backup procedure needs to be continual, which is enough to provide the advantages listed above, or whether the ability to recover from a backup must also be continuous.

Continuous Data Protection Final Thoughts

Continuous data protection is a powerful tool that can be used to protect your data. It has many advantages over traditional backup, including the ability to recover from any point in time and the elimination of scheduled backups. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as being more expensive and having a single point of failure.

CDP is a great solution for businesses that need high levels of protection and are willing to pay for it. It is also a good choice for businesses that require version control or auditing of their data. However, CDP may not be the best solution for every business.

When deciding whether CDP is right for your business, weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully to see if it is the best solution for your needs.

People in office during disaster recovery

At Parsec Labs, we are constantly innovating and developing new ways to protect data.

Parsec Labs is the leading provider of cloud data storage and replication solutions. We make it easy to replicate your data to one or more clouds or replicate between clouds. Restoring from the cloud is straightforward and fast, meaning critical files can be retrieved immediately, even during a full restore. Parsec Labs offers the most comprehensive and scalable replication solutions on the market, making us the perfect partner for businesses of all sizes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your data in the cloud.

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