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Technical Insight: Copy Data Management Fundamentals

It is no secret that data growth is exploding, and much of this sprawl is driven by the creation of copy data by a growing number of stakeholders across the enterprise. Copy data has inherent value for use cases like backup and recovery of production environments, meeting legal compliance requirements, seeding test and development environments, facilitating application patch and sandbox testing, and serving business analytics queries.

Copy data is a necessary and valuable asset to the enterprise, but its sprawl adds a number of problems including:

  • Expensive costs for storing and managing storage for redundant copies
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • The risk that the organization will fall out of compliance
  • More complex and difficult recovery operations, in large part because it is difficult to identify the “last known good” copy

The market for copy data management (CDM) software emerged a little over a decade ago in response to this problem, with a variety of vendors including Actifio, Catalogic, Cohesity, Delphix and Rubrik addressing CDM requirements with dedicated products, or capabilities within their backup products. Additionally, some storage system vendors such as Dell EMC offer CDM capabilities integrated with their arrays. This paper is intended to define CDM and the key use cases it addresses for enterprise IT, as well as to provide key questions to consider when evaluating CDM solutions.

What is Copy Data Management?

CDM is a process that reduces the creation of full, redundant copies of production data. CDM software typically creates a single, full copy of the production data – the “golden copy” – from which multiple virtual copies can be created to serve various lines of business and use cases. Write operations are not directed to the golden copy, meaning that the contents of the golden copy are not overwritten. The CDM software typically keeps the golden copy current with the production source via snapshots of incremental changes.

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Related to this document:
, Technical Insight: Enterprise Backup-as-a-Service Product and Vendor Landscape,

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August 25, 2020

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