Copy data management (CDM) is a relatively new term for many in Information Technology. At first literal consideration, its meaning seems self-evident. However, it is really a topical area that vendors address with new products and terminology.
Making copies of data for IT applications is a fundamental task. The how and why have been evolutionary processes. New developments have come from vendors to deliver solutions to manage and automate CDM.
The “why” of making copies starts with the basic function of data protection. Protection is from a disaster (which also includes an orchestrated recovery process) or from corruption or deletion due to application, user, or hardware error. The copy can also be used to create a point-in-time record of information for business or governance reasons.
Another reason for making a copy is to use that data for more than just the primary application. This could be for test/development, analytics, or just because the application owner or administrator just feels safer having another copy. Especially in the case of test/development and analytics, another copy insulates the primary application from problems. Besides corruption and deletion, these problems can include potential performance impacts to the primary application.
Making data copies comes at a cost. The different types of copy mechanisms (the “how” of making copies) include making full copies of data or making snapshot copies where only changed data is represented along with the snapshot tables/indexes. The copies can be local, remote or both. Full copies will take time to create and require additional storage capacity. Snapshot copies can grow in capacity over time. All copies not only eventually consume storage space for usage but also consume time and space in backup processes. Copies of data must also be managed, especially snapshots which tend to proliferate.