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Enterprise Vault supports data deduplication

The latest version of Symantec's archive software will support data-reduction devices from Data Domain, Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp when it ships next week.

When Symantec Corp.'s Enterprise Vault 8 data archiving software ships Monday, customers will be able to use it with third-party data deduplication devices for the first time.

Previously, Enterprise Vault compressed files on its own and its proprietary file format didn't align with the file systems of backup hardware devices, according to Danny Milrad, Enterprise Vault's senior product marketing manager. "The way Enterprise Vault stored data in the archive, only Enterprise Vault could read it," he says.

The latest version separates attachments from email messages, and Enterprise Vault's compression is turned off when working with a third-party device. Symantec exposed some of its code to partners Data Domain Inc., Hitachi Data Systems and NetApp to make dedupe possible with archived data in Enterprise Vault.

One Enterprise Vault/NetApp customer says he hopes the new feature will boost the performance of the archiving application in addition to cutting down on disk capacity. "E-vault without NetApp can do single instancing across multiple vaults, but costs you cycles on the Enterprise Vault side," says Reinoud Reynders, IT manager for the University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium. "It takes a lot of calculations in the SQL database."

Over the last three years, enterprise storage customers have begun archiving large amounts of data in response to regulatory requirements, or to free space on primary storage and data backup systems in the face of massive data growth. However, the growth of archived data makes it harder to manage that storage tier.

"The decision right now is no longer whether to archive," says Brian Babineau, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group. "The question is how to do it and how to pick a solution that will help optimize operational efficiency in the environment."

The popularity of data deduplication devices has raised concerns that the capacity reduction process might alter data and make it inadmissible in court or unusable for compliance purposes. However, most analysts point out that data is altered in similar ways during standard compression operations, and tape data hasn't been found to be non-compliant because of it.

"As long as you've preserved the meta data, which the hash in a deduplication process does, there's no need not to use it," says Babineau.

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