De-dup Excess Data, Extend Hardware Life

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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Storage and security solution providers are finding that de-duplication technology offers an incredible opportunity to help customers extend hardware lifecycles, protect data and cut costs.

Solution providers are capitalizing on customers’ increased focus on extending storage hardware lifecycles and leveraging the vendor’s market-leading de-duplication technology to create unique business opportunities.

Steve St. John, director of sales at Lewan and Associates, says the market for de-duplication solutions has grown substantially over the last five years, and continues to be hot as customers come to understand the cost-savings and operational benefits.

"These solutions let us speed up customers’ backup processes, allows them to replicate their backups off-site and, therefore, to be much less reliant on tape," which saves money and helps customers achieve better utilization of their existing storage infrastructure, St. John says.

De-duplication is exactly what it sounds like; the technology mines organizations’ data stores and weeds out redundancies. The result is more available capacity and increased data integrity, which can improve backup performance and reliability, as well as save space on existing storage devices.

"Why are customers backing up to tape? So they can remove that data to a secure, off-site location," St. John says. "Now they can replicate in real-time to an off-site solution, and we see customers who are now only backing up to tape once a month," he says.

The ability to replicate data in real time offers solution providers a way to deliver disaster recovery and backup solutions to customers that are more reliable, faster and more cost effective than tape backup solutions.

"Customers are trending toward solutions that provide efficiency and consolidation," says Shane Jackson, director of channel and product marketing for Data Domain, a leading provider of de-duplication technology. "From a cost and management perspective, the tape backup solutions were time consuming, costly and unreliable," he says.

In the past, if customers needed to increase their storage capacity, they’d purchase expensive hardware and make huge capital investments in backup and archiving technology, says Jackson. While this was great for primary storage hardware vendors like EMC and NetApp, it didn’t benefit customers as the economy slid into a downward spiral and IT budgets were slashed.

In the current economic climate, customers are focused on stretching the lifecycle of their primary storage devices by looking to make existing data stores, backups and archiving more efficient and less costly, says Jackson.

"Now they’re asking, 'Is there something else I can do other than to bring in another rack of EMC or NetApp or Hitachi’s high-cost primary storage?’" Jackson says, adding that most customers use Data Domain’s technology to create a second tier of storage for older, less frequently accessed data that’s not mission-critical to cut down on waste in their primary storage solutions and decrease expenditures on backup solutions.

"Part of our strategy when going in to talk to customers is helping them understand what their data looks like, and extending their primary storage. A lot of customers are archiving data onto expensive disks and they shouldn’t be," says St. John.

These de-duplication solutions aren’t strictly for large enterprises, either, says St. John. Lewan and Associates, a Data Domain partner, services companies of all sizes and industries, he says.

"We have customers that run the gamut from SMBs all the way up to large enterprises—from government clients to smaller clients, they all need to maximize their ROI and get reliable backups that can quickly be recovered," St. John says.

As awareness grows, so does the market for de-duplication. Jackson says that Data Domain added more than 600 customers in the second and third quarters of 2008, and at the end of the third quarter, the company reported revenues of $75 million and growing.

Jackson says that partners should take a long look at the space, since it promises to offer incredible opportunities in the year to come.

"We see some partners are embracing [de-duplication] more than others, but this is a great space for them to grow their business. Partners who are embracing the technology proactively are seeing a great return," Jackson says.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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