SonicWall VARs Eye CDP Growth

Their enthusiasm -- despite what some partners describe as feature weaknesses in SonicWall's CDP line -- stems from increasing growth in the market and a renewed commitment to getting the line right from SonicWall executives.

At SonicWall's partner conference in Las Vegas this week, company executives said the CDP line would see new features and form factors by this summer, most of them the result of driect feedback from partners.

Among the new features will be up to four terabytes of space, as well as local archiving, used for disaster recovery purposes. A modular version of the CDP appliance with replaceable drives also is in the works.

The product will also be capable of increased bare metal restore capabilities, a function which takes an image of a system and records it in order to provide swift restoration in the event of a system failure. The new BMR will allow a user to restore with dissimilar hardware.

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"It doesn't mess with your life. It does it for you transparently," said Chris Winter, director of CDP product management for SonicWall. "It makes restoring absolutely trivial. It also means that you don't have to plead with an administrator to please get your data back."

Winter said that a beta version, which will be released in several weeks, addresses some of the recurring problems. The final version, expected to be launched some time this summer, will "probably address all of them."

"The good news was that people wanted to do more with the product," said Winter. "The product was designed for a specific reason. It was good, but it had a narrowly targeted audience."

Yet despite some glaring faults, partners say that SonicWall's CDP line has been a success time and time again in the SMB marketplace. This success can directly be attributed to its transparency and ease of deployment with a low-touch, easy to use box that backs up data with 15 different versions. The desktop application often works without user knowledge, and updates are automatically enforced, reducing user interaction even further, executives said.

In addition, the CDP line offers a solution to tape-based storage, which can put users at risk with a backup that occurs typically once a day. "Every time you hit save (with the CDP), you back it up straight away," said Winter. "It backs up every time you make a change to your data."

As a result, many partners expect to see CDP sales rise significantly in 2008. SonicWall executives claimed 71 percent growth in CDP sales between 2006 and 2007, and expect the product to do equally well in the marketplace this year.

Likewise, partners say that CDP "far and away" has the most potential for growth this year, particularly in the SMB space. Todd Barrett, director of sales for CPU Sales and Services Inc., based in Waltham, Mass., said that the CDP offering could experience triple digit growth throughout the year as backup needs for small businesses continue to grow. "That's a huge tool in SonicWall's closet," he said.

SonicWall executives said that the continued overwhelming interest in CDP speaks to the fact that small businesses have to protect themselves against complex security threats, such as malware or system failure, with an easy solution that doesn't impede business or production time.

"They don't want to have to become an expert in a technology which is only there to protect them," said Winter. "They just want to drop it in and have it work."

James Carter, partner at Integrationworks, based in Santa Ana, Calif., said that the product line was a "great idea" for small businesses, which increasingly realized they needed to invest in a comprehensive, yet affordable, data backup and recovery solution.

Carter said that customers seemed to accept a certain lack of features in SonicWall's current CDP offereing because the product fits a growing demand for backup solutions. SonicWall has a proven track record to fix the things that are wrong with a product, he added. "There is so much demand for the product, people are willing to overlook some significant problems."