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Sonicwall CDP 110

At a Glance
Product SonicWall Continuous Data Protection Appliance (CDP110)
Summary Automatic, easy to use backup solution for SMBs w/ Windows and Linux clients
Pros • Easy and automatic backups
• End User Data Restore Capability
• Flexible offsite options
• Can back up to attached USB drive
Cons • Does not support Mac OS clients
• Too expensive for many small businesses

SonicWall updated its Continuous Data Protection (CDP) line of products in 2009 with four new products, the SonicWall CDP 110, 210, 5040, and 6080.  These products replace the CDP 1440i, 2440i, 3440i and 4440i.  The reason for the update is a “refresh” of the hardware, producing more powerful devices with better features and more capacity.  In this review, I'm going to cover the entry model, the CDP 110, targeted for small networks with up to 15 clients and 5 servers.

SonicWall promotes the CDP product line as the ideal solution for small business backup needs; replacing unreliable and time consuming tape backup services.  As such, their CDP line of products is designed to be easy to use and automatic. 

Table 1 shows some of the members of the new CDP product lineup.  Notice that the 110 and 210 have single hard drives that cannot be upgraded with a second hard drive.  Further, the hard drives in the 110 and 210 are not field replaceable; you have to go to the higher-priced 5040 or 6080 models for that.  All CDPs use a compression algorithm that can nearly double storage capacity, which is how the maximum value of 800 GB of storage is achieved for the CDP 110 with a 400 GB drive.

CDP models

Table 1: CDP models

The CDP 110 is a compact device, measuring 11.6” wide x 2.5” high x10.7” deep.  It's wrapped in a slick-looking silver case as shown in the opening product shot above; far more eye-catching than the blue and gray case of the previous model.  The front panel has only a power button and hard drive and power indicator lights.

In the rear are the 10/100 Ethernet and USB ports.  The VGA console and serial ports are not used unless directed by SonicWall.  A pair of relatively quiet 1.5” fans exhausts air out the rear of the chassis.  Power is via an external power wart.

CDP 110 rear view 

Figure 1: CDP 110 rear view

Under The Covers

Opening the 110 reveals components you'd see in a small computer, as shown in Figure 2.  SonicWall has taken a few measures to keep people from tweaking the hardware, though.  There are little globs of glue where the RAM is clipped into the motherboard, as well as where the power and SATA cables connect to the hard drive.  The glue would be easy enough to remove to allow for modifying the hardware, but I'd guess changing these components may invalidate warranties.

CDP 110 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: CDP 110 board

Detailed inspection reveals that the CDP 110 has a 500 GB Western Digital RE3 Hard Drive (WD5002ABYS) along with a VIA motherboard and a 512 MB stick of Kingston DDR2 533Mhz SDRAM.  The motherboard is a Mini-ITX VIA EPIA-LN board.  Underneath the passive heatsink lies a VIA C7 1.0Ghz CPU and a CN700 Northbridge chip.  Just outside the heatsink is the VIA VT8237R Southbridge chip.  Also on the board is a VIA VT6103L 10/100 Ethernet controller. 

The CDP 110 hardware may have been “refreshed”, but it isn't that radical of a change.  Although the 110 uses faster RAM and a 500 GB hard drive as opposed to the 2440i's 250 GB hard drive, the 2440i I looked at two years ago was also built on a VIA 1.0Ghz CPU with 512 MB RAM.

SonicWall's CDP components are more similar to a computer server than a NAS.  In fact, the components of the CDP 110 are all common computer parts.  They are all available on line, and can be easily assembled and loaded as a Windows XP or Linux computer.  The board and CPU, RAM, and hard drive are all available on line for about $240.  Throw them into a case for about $80, and for $320 you've assembled the exact same hardware as the CDP 110.

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