The Difference Between CDP and Scheduled Backups

When shopping around for online backup services, you’ll often find that these services come in one of 2 varieties: Continuous Backup and Scheduled Backup.

So how do you know which is most appropriate for you? Let’s take a look at both methodologies, and compare their features and benefits.

With CDP backups, the backup software is constantly on the alert for any changes in your files. As soon as a document or file has been changed, these changes are immediately sent over for backup.

Of course, there are a few things you should consider before looking into CDP backups:

  • CDP has one obvious major benefit in the fact that your backups will always be current as of a few minutes ago. Compare this with a scheduled backup, where you’ll always risk losing a fixed amount of data… depending on the interval you’ve selected. (ex: With a daily scheduled backup, you always stand to lose up to 24 hours worth of data)
  • If you’re a laptop user, you’ll want to make sure that your CDP backup has the ability to track changes while you’re disconnected from the network… and to automatically synchronize once you reconnect.
  • Because of the increase in network traffic caused by “pure” CDP backup, you’ll want to ensure that your CDP software has measures in place that can reduce the bandwidth burden. This can be accomplished through a number of techniques including compression and block-level incremental uploads.
  • Certain types of files – such as flat-file databases and Outlook PST files – are poorly suited for CDP since they change very frequently. This frequent updating can slow down your machine or take up unnecessary bandwidth. Files of this type are better-suited to flat file backups.
  • Since CDP backups spread the load evenly throughout the day, there is no need for a daily “backup window”.
  • CDP is best-suited to live working data, and poorly suited to environments where a lot of static or rarely-accessed information must be produced and stored. A classic example would be a fax program that receives lots of scanned contracts. (Once the contracts are saved, they will never again be modified) These types of files are best-suited to an archiving system. (A completely different breed of backup product)
  • Because CDP is constantly accessing the Internet and sending data over the network, it’s important to have extra layers of encryption implemented. For example, you’ll want to use a VPN service when accessing public WiFi hotspots (In case the SSL connection is compromised), and ensure that the data backup packets are encrypted from the client side before transmission.
  • It’s important to note that most CDP backups will only protect the flat files on your system, and will not restore the actual OS. If this is a concern, you have one of 2 options at your disposal: Look for an online backup service that offers bare metal recovery, or keep a copy of your system image on hand for emergencies.

Despite the benefits of CDP, it’s not recommended that you rely exclusively on continuous backups for protection. Ideally, the best solution would be to have an online backup service that combines both: CDP and Scheduled backup. And for rapidly growing volumes of rarely-accessed or static data, you should also implement an Archiving service in addition to your online backup.

About The Author: Storagepipe has been helping companies with their laptop and server backups for over a decade.