More Than Just Backup


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Data reduction
Vendors are adding new data-reduction technologies to their core backup products. EMC introduced the Avamar deduplication feature in its NetWorker 7.4 backup clients, while Symantec created a new standard tier for its client licenses so admins can install Veritas NetBackup 6.5 or the Veritas NetBackup PureDisk 6.2 agent on a client server using the same license. EMC's Avamar and Symantec's Veritas NetBackup PureDisk agents are similar in that they both do data deduplication at the block level. The main difference for now is that EMC can centrally manage its Avamar clients using its NetWorker 7.4 management console, while Veritas NetBackup users must use a separate management interface to manage Veritas NetBackup and Veritas NetBackup PureDisk clients.

Longer term, Symantec's Veritas NetBackup appears better positioned to extend deduplication to more enterprise servers. In early 2008, Symantec expects some of its hardware partners such as Data Domain Inc., Network Appliance (NetApp) Inc. and others to offer plug-ins for the NetBackup Open Storage API, giving users more control over the data residing on these apps. Using the Open Storage API, NetBackup can exchange information with these storage devices and record activities such as the expiration of remote data.

CommVault's Simpana 7.0 uses SIS for its backup and archive data stores. Brian Brockway, CommVault's

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senior director of product management, says using SIS provides "about 80% of the data-reduction benefits of deduplication, but 110% of the benefits." Because files are stored in their original format in the data store, they don't need to be reconstructed from chunks of data during recoveries; data stores may also be used for other purposes such as legal discoveries.

Brockway concedes that for companies that have large databases or large numbers of files with only small differences between each file, deduplication appliances can still provide significant benefits. "Deduplicating data on back-end backup appliances still resonates with customers, and to that purpose we designed our SIS stores to align with any block-level deduplication storage device," he says.

CA elected to pursue relationships with existing deduplication backup appliance vendors for its ARCserve r12 backup software. CA is exposing its backup software format to deduplication backup appliance providers so they can take steps to read the data inside CA ARCserve backup data streams. ExaGrid Systems Inc.'s deduplicating backup appliances use CA ARCserve's backup data format to understand the layout of the ARCserve backup job, read its roadmaps and signatures, and identify the type of data and size of data segments to deduplicate the data.

This was first published in February 2008

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