CDP for the Masses

Lasso Logic gets small businesses into the continuous data protection game.
Posted February 7, 2006

Drew Robb

Drew Robb

Continuous Data Protection (CDP) is getting a lot of coverage in the storage industry press as the latest and greatest. Instead of backing up files once a week or once a day, they can be protected continuously throughout the day. Fine in theory, but most small businesses struggle to afford a tape library and backup software, never mind adding a CDP system for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Enter Lasso CDP from Lasso Logic, now part of SonicWALL. It is a CDP tool that takes advantage of disk-based backup to offer CDP for as little as $1,999.

"Small business owners know that their most critical asset is their information, yet it is stored on computers that can crash and are susceptible to viruses, power outages and theft," says Anna Yen, general manager of Lasso Logic. "Backup systems won't protect data if a virus causes a network/computer crash before the data is backed up at the end of the day. This is why continuous protection is important."

Also, businesses without dedicated IT staff often find their existing backup processes to be a huge hassle because they have to remember to insert tapes and take them home every night. In many cases, they have no idea if the system will perform properly during a disaster. If a high value employee loses an important file in the afternoon, they may end up losing a full day's work. With Lasso CDP, they can dial back to a moment before the interruption.

The system functions by taking an initial full copy of all files. After that, it takes only changes to files or databases immediately when they occur. There is no schedule — it happens in real time. Any user on the network, including laptop users connecting remotely, right clicks on any file or previous version of the file to recover it.

"The procedure takes a few seconds, a lot faster than having to find the right tape, call a busy IT person and then find your file," says Yen. "Also tape is notoriously unreliable — 50% of backup recoveries fail."

Once installed, the Lasso CDP box detects all the computers connected to the network (servers, PCs and laptops). The users determine what directories and applications to protect. From that point on, those computers are always protected, no matter how many there are, as long as enough capacity exists locally on the box.

The unit plugs into an Ethernet port and polls the network looking for clients to synch with. Client software is fed to each PC and each client decides via a wizard what files, directories and applications should be protected. Similar to McAfee or Norton Anti-virus, new releases and patches are automatically downloaded an installed on the box and each client.

The system operates with a wide range of applications and file types, including: all Microsoft Office files (both open and closed); all data files (text files); all movie, music and picture formats; Outlook (.pst files) and Outlook Express; Goldmine, ACT!; QuickBooks; Peachtree; all Macromedia and Adobe; MY SQL, DBASE and Microsoft Access databases; Microsoft Exchange Server, and many other individual files.

Offsite Augmentation

While CDP is certainly a fine way to protect data, it is not enough by itself.

"CDP alone doesn't provide for offsite protection," says Yen. "Businesses should look for a solution that provides both local and offsite backup."

To meet this need, Lasso has augmented its appliance with the addition of Lasso Secure Data Center to provide offsite backup. According to Yen, offsite backups are performed when network usage is low.

"We have proprietary technology that can detect when network usage is at its lowest," she says. "Therefore, we minimize any impact on the network."

This works out as an affordable way to have CDP and offsite backups performed without tying up the small business in the technology itself. The unit is just plugged, the clients are configured and the system runs in the background.

Lasso CDP starts at $1,999, and SonicWALL plans a new release later this month.

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