As I continue to delve more deeply into next generation data protection technologies, I continue to talk to users about their experiences. Of these technologies, there are always some that users find more relevant than others and with no technology does that seem more true than with backup deduplication.
Granted, users that I interview for the different columns and articles I write are often supplied by the vendors so they are certainly not going to provide examples of users with failed installs of their products. Also users who do agree to do interviews often put their best foot forward to put their experience in the best positive light since no one wants to go on the record sounding like they made a bad decision. But having worked as an end-user, I can usually tell pretty quickly by the tone and inflection of a user’s voice how much of their experience is genuine and how much is contrived.
And what I am hearing – and maybe more importantly sensing – from those employing deduplication is that it is working as well as vendors advertised – at least in SMB and remote office environments – and in some cases, maybe better. Too often I find vendors exaggerate the benefits of specific technologies but in talking to users employing deduplication I don’t sense that is happening here.
When talking to users about their deduplication deployment using either backup software or VTL products, they seem genuinely content. While admittedly every one has had some issues, none appear beyond the scope associated with the deployment of any new product and certainly pale in comparison to the ones they encountered on a daily and weekly basis with their previous tape based approaches.
Most users simply sound relieved that they have had success in dealing with their daily backups and can now finally begin to turn their focus to more importang strategic initiatives like performing tests to ensure they can recover their data and offsite disaster recovery. And while the user experiences and emotions I am discussing here certainly shouldn’t translate into anyone into going out and buying a backup deduplication product, I think it certainly merits one taking a closer look at this class of technology.