Symantec drives toward ubiquitous deduplication in its products

PureDisk deduplication will be tightly integrated with the NetBackup enterprise-class backup application and Backup Exec for small businesses

Symantec Tuesday announced that it plans to integrate its PureDisk deduplication technology in both its enterprise-class and small business-class backup products, enabling the deduplication process to be managed through the same user interface.

NetBackup v7, Symantec's enterprise-class backup application, is due out in the second-half of this year and will include deduplication for client and media servers, according to Matt Kixmoeller, Symantec's vice president of product management for NetBackup. The new software will also support up to 32TB of data per backup appliance, twice the amount of data supported in the NetBackup 6.6.

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Symantec plans to release Backup Exec 2010, an upgrade to its SMB-class backup software, later this year. That will also be tightly integrated with PureDisk, Kixmoeller said.

Kixmoeller said Symantec wants to bring to market software that can deduplicate data from the time it's created on an application server to its archival on a tape cartridge.

"There's a global data obesity problem going on," Kixmoeller said. "It may have been OK to throw hardware at the problem five years ago, but you can't afford to do that today. Deduplication should be everywhere in the datacenter and built into the fabric of any data management strategy from beginning to end."

Data deduplication, or single-instance storage, involves the elimination of redundant data. Hash algorithms mark data blocks with unique numbers, and those numbers are compared so that duplicate pieces of data can be left out of the storage process.

To date, the primary corporate use of the technology has been for e-mail archiving. The benefits of that use are obvious: A single e-mail can represent thousands of copies of one attachment.

The top makers of deduplication point products include Data Domain, Sepaton, EMC's Avamar unit, Diligent Technologies, FalconStor Software (whose technology is resold by vendors including IBM, Sun and EMC), and Quantum. According to research firm Gartner Inc., deduplication can reduce data storage requirements by a ratio of 20:1 to 30:1 on average, greatly reducing network bandwidth requirements and allowing IT shops to hold off on storage hardware purchases by making better use of existing equipment.

Troy Reavis, IT manager for construction management firm Skanska USA Building Inc., said his firm deployed PureDisk about six weeks ago on about 180 servers located at 45 remote sites around the United States. The company uses NetBackup for backups and Enterprise Vault software for archiving data.

Before applying deduplication to its file servers, backups of 100GB to 200GB per server to a central datacenter in South Carolina took about 12 hours each week. Since deploying PureDisk, the data replicated back to the main datacenter dropped to 10GB to 15GB and the backup window shrunk to no more than two hours, Reavis said.

"From a data replication perspective, Symantec said the PureDisk products would give us a 99 percent decrease as far as replicating deltas," Reavis said. "That's been delivered, in that we've seen a 98 percent to 99 percent reduction in the amount of data that comes across our wires."

Skanska has about 85TB of capacity on its storage area network which resides on Hewlett-Packard EVA 5000 and 6000 disk arrays. The company currently performs daily incrementals and one weekly full backup from its file servers at remote construction sites to its datacenter. Reavis said the tighter deduplication integration with NetBackup will make it easier to manage those backups.

Late last month, Symantec announced that its current version of NetBackup, v6.5.4, would support backups of Microsoft's Hyper-V Server application and VMware.

Skanska also has about 100 physical and 60 virtual servers using Microsoft's Hyper-V Server application in its main datacenter. With Symantec's coming upgrade, Reavis said his company plans to roll out NetBackup with PureDisk in its datacenter soon to reduce primary storage and archive capacity needs.

"Right now, the debate on dedpulication is all around the performance of appliances and back-end deduplication on virtual tape libraries and archiving appliances," Kixmoeller said. "The strategy we're proposing is bringing deduplication as close as possible to the source of the information."

This story, "Symantec drives toward ubiquitous deduplication in its products" was originally published by Computerworld.

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