POWAY, Calif. – March 7, 2011 – Data deduplication and compression promise often-staggering reductions in data storage capacity requirements, shrinking backup data by 90 percent or more. Reducing this backup load achieves a corresponding reduction in the cost of hardware and management. Small and midsized businesses and departmental computing operations, however, can struggle to achieve optimal data reduction because of a number of factors including a lack of hands-on experience using these technologies.
Poway, Calif.-based BridgeSTOR LLC, the leader in affordable advanced data reduction, provides the following Q&A based on its most frequently asked questions about backup data reduction.
1. Should we use deduplication, compression, or both?
Both. Deduplication and compression work independently and are complementary technologies that together can provide data reduction of up to 90 percent. Used alone, either can be effective at reducing disk backup capacity requirements, but an overall data reduction strategy includes both deduplication and compression. If you achieve 2:1 compression of backup data that has already been deduplicated by a 10:1 ratio, the result is a total data reduction ratio of 20:1.
2. What is best, hardware-based or software-based data reduction?
There are reasons to consider both, but compression in particular requires processing power, so it impacts backup performance least when it is deployed as a hardware-based solution. Hardware-based data reduction appliances also offer the advantage of compatible pre-configured applications, rather than a piecemeal collection of products that you must purchase, install, configure and manage yourself. Look for data reduction appliances that do not require a separate backup server, which adds complexity and increases the overall cost of the backup infrastructure. An ‘all-in-one’ backup data reduction appliance takes the guesswork out of implementing multiple solutions.
3. Tape backup systems include compression; why can’t we use hardware compression on my disk backup system?
Disk compression has traditionally been file-based. Hardware compression works on data blocks, not files. Until recently, the challenges of implementing block-based data compression on disk have been insurmountable. That is now changing with the introduction of data-reducing backup appliances equipped with hardware-based disk compression.
4. What about backups of remote servers, or backups that are sent offsite for disaster recovery purposes?
Backup data reduction must address backing up the servers at HQ as well as remote offices, and sending backup data to a disaster recovery (DR) site. Backup should be a single, continuous process, centrally and conveniently managed, which is possible with data reduction appliances.
5. Can the same data reduction appliance for backup data be used for primary data?
Typically, deduplication and compression are applied to primary data in very different ways. Primary storage deduplication works on blocks of data aligned at the disk’s boundaries. Windows and Linux file systems align the beginning of each file at the beginning of a block. This means that primary storage deduplication will always identify duplicate blocks within files. Also, databases read and write on fixed-size pages, so duplicate data within a single database or across databases can be detected. Backup applications, on the other hand, create files that are the equivalent of .tar or .zip files in which the blocks are not always aligned the same way, so backup deduplication applications have a very different job to do than primary data deduplication.
6. Why do data reduction solutions vary so much in price?
Just comparing prices won’t provide a true apples-to-apples evaluation. A better metric is the cost per terabyte of backup to disk capacity. How many concurrent backup streams are supported? What is the impact on backup performance, if any? The wrong answers to these questions will actually cost you more even at the lower entry price point.
BridgeSTOR’s Virtual Storage - Advanced Data Reduction (VS-ADR) brings deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning to both application and backup-to-disk storage. VS-ADR is your ticket to vastly improved capacity utilization and “greener” storage. The AOS Backup Exec 2010 Deduplicating Backup Appliance, an all-in-one appliance that includes Symantec Backup Exec 2010 Deduplication Suite, sells for a street price of less than $USD 20,000.
BridgeSTOR, LLC is an Advanced Data Reduction company headquartered in Poway, CA, near San Diego. The company is extending the boundaries of data deduplication into virtual machine disaster recovery and archive, optimized virtual data transfer to the Cloud and the long term retention of deduplicated data on magnetic tape.
BridgeSTOR was founded in May 2010 by John Matze, a “serial entrepreneur” with highly-respected credentials in identifying and filling technology gaps in storage product portfolios. Led by a management team that enjoys more than 100 years of data protection and storage industry experience, BridgeSTOR is bringing innovative and high-demand disaster recovery, archive, data reduction and backup solutions to organizations of all sizes.
Dawn Matze, President