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Global dedupe
Deduplication is growing up and out. Global dedupe expands upon "plain vanilla" dedupe technology by working across multiple processors and dedupe appliances, which can share data. The technology creates a single dedupe database that can be managed from one console. This is a big deal because instead of trying to manage a bunch of separate deduplication appliances, a dedupe system can scale to meet the needs of growing companies and exploding storage systems.

In 2009, there'll be more users like Eric Zuspan, senior system administrator, SAN/Unix, at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, WA. Zuspan purchased Sepaton Inc.'s S2100-ES2 Enterprise VTL with DeltaStor software for data deduplication this year in hopes of easing his reliance on tape. His shop also owns a Data Domain Inc. appliance (which is handled by the WAN team that serves all the Windows applications). What Zuspan found in Sepaton is a single appliance that has multinodes, and the ability to add more nodes if he needs extra capacity or throughput.

"This appliance gives us that kind of flexibility," says Zuspan. (Rather than using the term multinode, the Storage Networking Industry Association refers to the capability as "single deduplication domain." This means that all data delivered from any node in a system participates in the same deduplicated pool of storage.) Data Domain says it expects to

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support clustered nodes in 2009.

The new and improved Storage-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings look a lot different than they used to, and are getting a lot of attention. EMC Corp. and IBM Corp. are among the storage heavyweights who have made significant SaaS acquisitions in recent years. This has 2009, with all its looming economic pressures, shaping up as the year that SaaS (the outsourcing of backup operations to a company with its own hosting facility and software to manage it) will become even more appealing. Whether the selling point is a "cloud" or an underground vault, SaaS will get plenty of attention from storage pros who may find it less expensive to engage a SaaS provider than to protect all or part of their data in-house.

SaaS is also a way to address pricey compliance requirements and new DR mandates. New data-encryption transfer technology and tiered SaaS offerings from vendors are making it an attractive alternative in shops where security concerns kept some IT executives from considering the possibility of shipping their data offsite. Is SaaS still targeted for SMBs? Yes, but large companies are starting to seriously consider SaaS because of the requirement to back up data from a growing number of remote offices and a new awareness of the importance of backing up critical information on laptops, says Stephanie Balaouras, principal analyst at Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research Inc.

There have been a lot of SaaS company acquisitions and repositioning recently, setting up 2009 as the year when users will have more SaaS choices. Dell Inc. made a $155 million acquisition of MessageOne Inc., and company executives say they plan to use the newly acquired SaaS technology for remote data protection and systems management. CommVault extended its managed services agreement with smaller SaaS player Incentra Solutions Inc. In September, Seagate announced i365, A Seagate Company, a new umbrella company designed to bring together the service businesses Seagate has acquired in recent years. Companies such as AmeriVault Corp., Intronis Technologies and Seagate (EVault) are all competing on things like laptop support, on-demand restores, open-file management and multiple data storage facility locations.

One caveat to this SaaS prediction is that some smaller SaaS vendors, already practically giving away their services to establish a clientele, are likely to be squeezed out of the SaaS picture as those veterans with the most clout (EMC, IBM, Iron Mountain Digital and Seagate) continue to mine this opportunity. "I see some of the hosting companies becoming pressured," says StorageIO Group's Schulz.

This was first published in December 2008

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