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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

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

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

“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

“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.