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Hot technologies for 2011

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"We're seeing a clear objective from all storage vendors to have data optimization products in the market in 2011," Cook said. "We're seeing equal demand from block-storage vendors and file-based vendors. Momentum is increasing."

We can expect more product jockeying in early 2011 before primary data reduction becomes common in storage systems. Dell and IBM have yet to embed their new reduction technologies in their storage systems, and HP probably won't deliver StoreOnce on any primary storage before mid-2011. Net-App, which has offered primary dedupe since 2007, is expected to address customer requests for increased volume sizes as well as dedupe across volumes. And Hitachi Data Systems, LSI and smaller storage system vendors have yet to declare their data reduction plans.

There's also still a need for education on the types of reduction, and how they work differently on primary data than they do with backup data. Dedupe and compression yield different results depending on the data they're used on, and can even be used in combination.

"Underneath the covers the technology is quite different," said Brian Garrett, vice president, ESG Lab. "One [compression] reduces the size of the data while the other [deduplication] works over redundant chunks. The effects can be different. Deduplication is great for backup and will give you much better reduction if you're storing the same data over time. Compression does a good job on databases

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and emails. But some data, like video and audio files, is already compressed, so compression's not going to give you a big bang for the buck."

Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO Group in Stillwater, Minn., emphasizes that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to data reduction.

"Vendors like EMC with the Clariion and IBM via its Storwize acquisition are demonstrating that effective data footprint reduction includes using different technologies," he said. "They range from archiving to compression to dedupe, along with thin provisioning, RAID and space-saving snapshots to meet various needs across many tiers of storage."

This was first published in December 2010

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