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Data-reduction product options
Data-reduction products have been available from different vendors for some time. EMC Corp. put object-based CAS on the map with its Centera product, but the firm draws a sharp distinction by positioning this product for fixed-content data archiving, not backup.

In the backup realm, there are several software and hardware products using data-reduction technology. Here's a brief rundown:

  • Iron Mountain Inc.'s Connected DataProtector family of products uses block-level data-reduction technologies to protect laptops and desktops, as well as Windows file servers.

  • Storactive Inc.'s LiveBackup products marry two technologies--continuous data protection and data reduction-- to protect laptops and desktops. The company's LiveServ for Exchange product also applies these technologies to protect Microsoft Exchange using less space than an Exchange information store.

  • Avamar Technologies Inc. is a pioneer in applying commonality factoring and CAS to backup. Its Axion family minimizes network bandwidth and storage capacity through a full range of client and server applications and appliances designed to supplant the traditional backup environment.

  • Data Domain Inc.'s DD400 and DD200 appliances provide an NFS- or CIFS-accessible "capacity-optimized

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  • storage" array that can provide disk storage for traditional backup or other applications.

  • Asigra Inc.'s Asigra Televaulting for Enterprises uses an agentless backup design and incorporates common file elimination techniques to minimize storage requirements. Designed to eliminate tape, this product enables highly efficient remote replication.

  • Among the multitude of disk-based backup technology approaches, virtual tape libraries (VTLs) are among the most prevalent. Diligent Technologies Corp., with its ProtecTier platform, is the first VTL vendor to apply datareduction techniques to virtual tape libraries, providing data reduction of 25 times or more through its HyperFactor technology.

  • Software toolkit developer Rocksoft Ltd. offers Blocklets to enable other developers to incorporate data-reduction functionality into their products. Blocklets' technology is called Data Streamlining, and it uses variable-sized, subblock-level commonality factoring to provide reductions of up to 98%.

As disk-based backup solutions mature, expect to see data-reduction technology incorporated into more products. The mainstream backup vendors haven't jumped on board yet, but it's only a matter of time. Less data means better backup performance and fewer dollars needed for backup storage, an impossible combination to resist.

This was first published in January 2006

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