Anti-virus and backup vendor Symantec has bought continuous data protection vendor Revivio. With continuous data protection (CDP) every file change is immediately copied to disk, thus preventing data loss if a server crashes.

With traditional, tape-based backup changes to disk files since the last backup session are lost if servers crash. Symantec's Veritas NetBackup products are primarily tape-based. With the rise of disk-to-disk backup they face decline unless they move into the modern age and become more efficient at protecting data.

Symantec will add Revivio technology to its NetBackup product and cease sales of Revivio's Continuous Protection System appliance. Sales of this had been relatively poor and Revivio had been struggling. Symantec is a welcome white knight for its backers.

Revivio pioneered the idea of continuous data protection and has faltered because CDP became mainstream so quickly that niche CDP vendors found the market going away from them. Customers preferred to have classic backup and niche CDP combined in one product. Microsoft introduced its near-continuous DPM product and that removed niche CDP vendors' access to the SME Windows market at a stroke. Enterprise customers preferred to buy from known vendors rather than start-ups like Revivio.

NetApp bought Alacritus for its CDP and virtual tape technology in 2005. EMC bought Kashya in May this year, signaling that CDP consolidation by the major storage vendors was well under way. XOSoft was bought by CA. Storactive went to Atempo. Mendocino survives with an OEM deal with HP. The equivalent one with EMC ended when EMC purchased Kashya. Revivio did not engage in any OEM deals and was reliant on its own sales efforts.

Symantec had its own CDP or near-CDP snapshot-based technology under development with a beta test of a product codenamed 'Panther' noted in August last year. It's decided to snap up Revivio and get a technology boost. The application-aware Revivio technology will enable a CDP-infused NetBackup to do a better job of protecting Exchange, SQL Server and Oracle.

Revivio was formed in 2001 by Michael Rowan (CTO) and Kevin Rodgers (engineering director), both veterans of StorageTek and EMC. The name came from 'revive I/O'. By the end of 2005 it had received $55 million in venture capital funding. It's speculated that the price paid is less than half that at $20 million. The CTO and founder, Michael Rowan, and 11 engineers will join Symantec. The rest of the firm's employees, 30 people including CEO Terry Leahy, and assets will be let go.

CDP has now become part of the data protection product spectrum alongside backup to tape and disk, virtual tape, mirroring, snapshots and replication. Stand-alone CDP is now pretty much extinct. The race is on to develop the first unified data protection product integrating all these technologies.

More here.