Government Deduplication Lags Industry

By Stuart J. Johnston

When it comes to data storage and backup, Federal IT managers are facing a daunting challenge that promises to get worse over time, according to a new survey. What's more, they tend to lag behind their counterparts in the private sector.

In circumstances where storage environments already have 50 TB or more of information, demand growth is surging at some 30 percent per year.

Additionally, while many IT professionals view data deduplication as key to reducing problems associated with storing and managing all of that burgeoning data, government IT organizations lag behind private industry in replacing tape systems with disk-based backup systems.

Meanwhile, though, the problems promise to increase, according to the study, just released by CTOlabs.com. The study of federal government enterprise technologists, architects, and system integrators was conducted with the sponsorship of Carahsoft Technology, a government IT provider.

"Data deduplication technologies hold great promise in addressing the storage and management needs of today's federal enterprises," Bob Gourley, founder of CTOlabs.com, said in a statement.

In fact, nearly 90 percent of the survey's respondents view deduplication in order to reduce storage requirements for redundant data as a priority with more than 60 percent planning to deploy deduplication technologies within the next year.

However, the majority are still using tape for backup, although 67 percent said they have plans to phase out tape-based systems, and 72 percent have already deployed virtualization, the study found.

"Many agencies have embraced virtualization as a way to control data sprawl and its associated costs, but management of virtual data has since become an issue," the report said. In short, federal IT departments are in danger of being swamped even as they try to control the problem and that is expensive.

"100 percent of respondents who have deployed virtual machines into a production environment have experienced increases in backup times," the report said.

Indeed, 80 percent of respondents said they are not meeting "backup window requirements" for their virtual server environments.

"Federal backup strategies are being driven by needs to retain data for the mission, yet they use outdated methods, at great expense, and with the overall consumption of tape-based systems down, these systems will only become more expensive to acquire, maintain and use over time," the study said.

The report is titled "Federal Government Data Deduplication Strategies Worth Duplicating.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

This article was originally published on April 19, 2011