Data Domain expands de-dupe to nearline

By Kevin Komiega

After helping bring data de- duplication to the forefront as a must-have capability in the backup process, Data Domain is taking de-dupe a step further by expanding its operating system to go beyond backup with support for nearline applications.

Data Domain recently announced a new version of its file system software that broadens system support for a range of nearline workloads beyond data protection. The company is betting that customers will use the functionality in its DD OS 4.3 software release to deploy its systems and de-duplication technology more broadly as a storage tier for nearline file storage, backup, disaster recovery, and long-term retention of data.

The new software release features file system enhancements such as integrated, de-duplicated snapshots for point-in-time versioning, de-duplicated snapshot replication, and support for the files required by these applications.

The new release will also continue to provide the same support for backup and recovery, according to Brian Biles, Data Domain’s co-founder and vice president of product management. Data Domain’s storage arrays have always been packaged as a NAS system with a file server interface. The difference between version 4.3 and previous versions of the software is that Data Domain has tweaked its I/O optimization to support nearline applications in concert with backup files.

In addition to native NAS-style support for scripted or copy-and-paste archive data movement, Data Domain is also partnering with application vendors to integrate the technology into existing archive environments. Data Domain systems are now qualified with archive applications such as CommVault’s Data Archiver, EMC’s DiskXtender and EmailXtender, and Symantec’s Enterprise Vault.

The 4.3 release of the DD OS is now available as a free download to Data Domain customers with supported DDX Array systems.

Data Domain’s vision entails widespread use of de-dupe technology in all storage devices, not only as a backup- only feature.

“Our belief is that de-duplication is going to live in nearline storage in the same way that RAID has. It will become a fundamental attribute of the storage system itself, and not an add-on,” says Biles.

According to the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research and consulting firm, end users typically store 60% to 80% of persistent data on their primary storage. The ability to de-duplicate that data could be an attractive proposition.

Heidi Biggar, an analyst with ESG, says moving de-dupe out of the backup world will allow users to get more out of their existing primary and secondary storage tiers.

“Data Domain is going beyond backup and allowing users to leverage de-dupe for more than just backup and to store more than just backup data on their disk,” says Biggar.

Biggar says extending Data Domain’s technology to nearline applications will put the company back on the offensive after becoming a target for competitors since its successful IPO. “Other vendors, and there has been a litany of them, have been going after Data Domain, but the company has now turned the tables and is going after other parts of their competitors’ businesses,” she says. “We expect other vendors to make similar announcements in the not-too-distant future, but Data Domain is currently out in front.”

CommVault, Data Domain, EMC, Symantec

This article was originally published on October 01, 2007