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Dedupe moves beyond backup

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Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at Hopkinton, MA-based Taneja Group, maintains that it takes a different technology to deduplicate primary data than secondary data, and argues that compression technologies from startups Ocarina Networks and Storwize are better suited for primary data. He says NetApp's technology is good enough as a freebie in the operating system, but would not be considered sufficient for backup data.

"What NetApp is doing basically is saying, 'For zero cost I'll give you some reduction,'" says Taneja. "I wouldn't say the effect is zero, but it's nominal, not something you'd write home about."

To make his argument, he points out that NetApp has taken longer to add dedupe to its VTL because it's much more complicated for backup.

Data Domain is moving beyond using dedupe for just pure backup to nearline and archiving, which the firm's Slootman calls "the closest cousin" to backup. "We're going to be gradually adding capabilities to get more transactional-oriented storage, but it's unlikely you will see us running on Oracle," he says.

Data Domain hasn't changed its technology for nearline storage, but is adding features to make it a better fit, such as a RetentionLock file-locking application that rolled out in June.

Dedupe is commonly used in WAN optimization products, but Brocade is developing what it calls the first Fibre Channel-based

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device to deduplicate and replicate over the WAN, due out in late 2009. Martin Skagen, Brocade's CTO of data center infrastructure, describes it as an extension of Fibre Channel over IP products.

"The data gets reduced while it's in transit," he says. "It's not a data at rest thing, but data in flight. We feel we can reduce the amount of data that goes over the wire by six to 12 times. It's a pretty significant reduction."

--Dave Raffo

This was first published in September 2008

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