Nevertheless, because of the unprecedented data reduction ratios offered by data deduplication, it has become an indispensable addition to VTLs (virtual tape libraries). In fact, by storing more data per gigabyte, data deduplication narrows the cost gap between tape reel and SATA storage, which makes it economically viable to keep all but the oldest data online.
In addition to enabling quick restores, keeping more data online makes it possible to conduct extensive analysis on historical data, which becomes impractical if data is scattered over hundreds of tape media.
For companies supporting numerous remote offices, which are typically staffed with business-minded rather than technically proficient personnel, deduplication can help consolidate backups. Just install compatible VTL appliances at each location and replicate over the WAN only the data deltas, or just a pointer for a duplicate segment.
The general advantages of data deduplication are undeniable, as it is likely the most viable means for achieving significant savings on storage infrastructure and management. Yet choosing the best solution for your enterprise requires homework. More so than with the other technologies discussed here, data deduplication should be test-driven before purchase to assess its actual impact on your company's data assets.
However challenging choosing the optimal offering might prove to be, not choosing data deduplication will probably be the worst decision you can make, as its upside will give competitors who deploy it a measurable advantage over those that don't.
Tiered storage has been essential to daily IT operations since the dawn of computing. Founded on the fact that not all storage media are created equal, the concept involves migrating data to the media that best satisfies business requirements and cost objectives.
The logic behind tiered storage hasn't changed much since the Paleolithic age of computing, when managing tiers was often as easy as loading a file of punch cards to disk, running a much faster batch processing of that data, and returning that precious online space to a common pool when the processing was complete.
But the number and variety of storage systems currently available, as well as the amount of information enterprises must now manage, have made tiered storage's inherent benefits -- cost savings and increased responsiveness to business requirements -- even more desirable and perhaps easier to attain.
For example, recent advances in drive technologies have produced SATA devices that favor capacity and offer a cost per gigabyte significantly lower than that of typical high-performance FC, SCSI, or SAS (serial attached SCSI) drives. That said, high-performance drives now offer a blend of capacity and performance, and whereas SATA devices lead with capacities of as much as 1TB and growing for a single unit, high-performance drives have extended their capacities into the range of hundreds of gigabytes.
Based on such advances, storage vendors now offer an unprecedented granularity of storage arrays that range from very dense solutions based on high-capacity SATA drives to spindle-rich systems that provide fast interactive access at sensibly higher acquisition and operating costs.