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Dell ramps deduplication to any vendor's storage

Dell ramps deduplication to any vendor's storage

A simple change in the process of dedupe will make it faster and more efficient, the company says.

Dell today announced new data deduplication services, solutions and products for customers of not only its own EqualLogic storage products, but all storage solutions. That's because Dell is changing how processing is done.

In the past, data backup and storage management was a move-then-shrink process, but that meant lots of data going over the wires and processing being done where it's not meant to be processed, in a storage device.

Instead, thanks to the new PowerVault DL2000 with CommVault Simpana 8.0, data is shrunk, then moved to storage. It's processed on the server, where the processing capabilities lie, and then sent off to be stored in its reduced form. As such, the software is independent of the storage system. It can be EMC storage, Sun tape backup, or Dell's own servers, it does not matter.

Data deduplication is the process of finding redundant copies of files and eliminating all of the unwanted versions. For whatever reason, multiple copies of the same file might be filling up the storage systems. In the deduplication process, extra copies are deleted, leaving only one copy of the data to be stored.

The new storage software, which is a combination of Simpana and Dell's own secret sauce, also has the intelligence to know which files are already backed up, and if a tiny change was made to a file, only that change is backed up, said Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager of the Storage business unit at Dell (NASDAQ: DELL).

The dedupe software can process through all of the existing storage to remove duplicates, note which data has been accessed frequently and recently and leave it where it can be quickly gotten. Older data that has not been touched in some time is then pushed down to slower storage or archived. So as data is processed and duplicates are deleted, it is sorted by how frequently it is accessed. The less it is accessed, the further down the storage chain it goes, from fast drives to slower drives to offline tape.

Dell's big storage play

Dell is getting mighty big on storage these days. Since its 2007 purchase of EqualLogic, storage has been the subject of greater focus and the storage business is the firm's fastest growing. "Storage was not always strategic," said Thomas. "Now, customers can make good business decisions from what they keep in storage, so spending will increase."

The new PowerVault DL2000 offers data deduplication of up to 20:1 reductions, recovering a great deal of storage on the drives and using up to 90 percent less tape media for offsite storage. It has a throughput of almost 1.5 TB per hour when performing weekly full backup operations, according to Dell.

In addition to the new software, Dell is offering storage consulting services to help customers understand deduplication technology, quantify the benefits, and design a deduplication solution to best meet their needs. This is meant to be a short-duration project, on average of four weeks, according to Thomas.

The Dell Storage Simplification Workshop is a free, half-day session to help customers determine which products they need for proper dedpulication, and the Dell Backup, Recovery, Archive Assessment helps customers avoid wasting resources on improper or overly optimistic solutions.

The deduplication products and services are available from Dell and authorized resellers now.

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