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Permabit Technology extends primary data deduplication software

Permabit tries to make its primary deduplication software more palatable to OEMs by adding compression and replication plug-ins.

Permabit Technology Corp. this week added compression and replication applications that can be built into its Albireo Virtual Data Optimizer primary data deduplication software in hopes of making it more appealing to OEM vendors.

Permabit Technology developed Albireo dedupe for storage array vendors in 2010. It has only one announced OEM partner -- Hitachi Data Systems, which uses Albireo in its Hitachi network-attached storage (NAS) platform. Permabit added Albireo Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO) in 2011 to provide inline deduplication and thin provisioning for Linux-based storage. VDO is aimed at low-end NAS systems and flash arrays.

Permabit CEO Tom Cook mentioned NetGear, Synology, QNAP, Buffalo Technology and similar systems as potential small- to medium-sized VDO customers. He said vendors selling all-flash arrays are also candidates.

"VDO was designed in part to address the flash market," Cook said. "All-flash arrays commonly use Linux. We have licenses in that space, and we will work to implement compression and replication [into VDO implementations for flash]."

Albireo Compress and Replica are plug-ins for OEMs that use VDO. Compress performs inline block-level compression. Permabit claims it has a sequential write performance of 750 MB per second. It is a variation of the Lempel-Ziv compression algorithm, but optimized for random access block storage. Dedupe and compression are always on for systems running VDO Compress. VDO deduplicates redundant blocks and compresses other unique blocks.

Albireo Replica provides bandwidth optimization for data in transit, improving replication performance between storage systems running VDO deduplication. Replica only sends new blocks across the wire and it supports many-to-one replication. Cook said the lightweight application can be easily integrated into a VDO client.

Dave Simpson, a senior analyst at 451 Research, said dedupe and compression are valuable features for flash vendors looking to shrink the footprint of data on solid-state drives that have smaller capacities than most hard drives. He said flash startups in particular would benefit from getting data reduction through an OEM partner.

"This would not be easy for smaller flash guys to develop," he said. "I'm not ruling out big vendors as OEM partners, but they can build it. For the smaller vendors, this is not where they're going to put their R&D [research and development] dollars. It's complex stuff."

Permabit Technology's compression and replication applications will be available to OEM partners May 31.

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