Data Domain Adds Deduplication Secret Sauce to Arrays

Small company aims big at storage array market by being one of only a few companies featuring deduplication at the array level.

Data protection and storage specialist Data Domain Oct. 9 introduced what it claims to be the industrys first data center-scale deduplicating protection storage array.

Deduplication is a method by which all redundant copies of data and files are eliminated in order to improve overall data accessibility and drive down operational costs.

Powered by the new Data Domain DD560 controller, a fully configured DDX array features up to 6.4TB per hour of sustained throughput and up to 15 petabytes of capacity for long-term online retention, CEO Frank Slootman told eWEEK.

"This is Generation 3 of our core technology," Slootman said, adding that Data Domain has been shipping products for three years.

"This storage industry is all about getting bigger and faster, and thats exactly what this new array represents."

Slootman might have added "cheaper" to the two qualifications above. DDX array configurations are available for less than $0.35 per GB, he added.

"How does that compare to other storage vendors? Its common to see companies selling storage arrays for $3, $4 and $5 per gigabyte. We can sell it at the price we do because of our massive data reduction secret sauce," Slootman said.

The new DDX Array Series features up to 16 DD560 or DD460 Data Domain controllers and associated storage in a single managed configuration.

Scaleable by design, DDX can be implemented with as few as four controllers and then expanded over time as business needs change with linear scalability.

The DDX array is available in 4, 8 and 16 controller configurations, uses integrated or third-party external storage, and is designed to provide data protection storage for data centers with at least 20TB of application data.

With support for up to 320 remote locations and common management across all Data Domain systems and software, DDX is aimed at large enterprises that wish to leverage the Data Domain Replicator software to deploy reliable, multi-site remote disaster recovery and global tape consolidation.

Where do these new arrays put Data Domain, based in Santa Clara, Calif., in the overall market?

"In actuality, other array vendors are not doing the deduplication process at the array," Tom Trainer, senior analyst with the Evaluator Group in Greenwood Village, Colo., told eWEEK. "In my opinion, DD has first to market advantage with this capability.

"EMC, HP, NetApp are much larger companies and thus have a very different distribution and reach capability than DD has today.

"However, I believe that DD is taking correct steps to leverage its unique technical capabilities and provide users with a new way to maximize their storage space and reduce their storage spend with a cost effect and performance oriented solution," Trainor said.

Slootman told eWEEK that "theres a bumper sticker circulating around our industry that reads, Tape Sucks, Lets Move On. Thats sort of the way we feel about it," he said with a laugh.

Is Data Domain on the right track with this approach?

"DD is on the right track, [but] tape is not dead by any stretch of the imagination," Trainer said.

"IBM just released their new encrypted tape drive and supporting host/mainframe software to drive more tape business, and the will at both primary and secondary data centers. However, what DD is doing reduces the overall amount of storage required, both disk and tape."

Most enterprise customers will continue to have a balanced disk/tape ratio in their environment, Trainer said, but with techniques such as that from DD, the ratio can change and the overall storage amount can start to be reduced by some factor (factors vary by enterprise environment).

/zimages/4/28571.gifData Domain gateway streamlines backup. Click here to read more.

"This announcement demonstrates their seriousness about providing hardware storage products to customers that deliver on DDs unique technologies and which provide enterprise class feature function," Trainer said.

"DD is on the watch list of those storage companies poised for rapid growth fueled by demand for new storage-oriented technologies that increase a business competitive advantage."

Dave Russell, a storage analyst from Gartner in Stamford, Conn., agreed that Data Domain is a company in a good position.

"Theyve been hot the last quarter or so in overall interest. Our call volume on the deduplication methodology has gone through the roof," Russell told eWEEK.

"The demand for this technology transcend geography and verticals. I know of only three companies doing this at this time: Data Domain, Avamar and Symantec, with its Symantec Veritas NetBackup Pure Disk Rewrite Official Edition."

It makes sense to businesses of all sizes to store and transmit less data and do it at less cost, Russell said.

Russell said that Data Domain has "pre-existing technology that is really like DDX on steroids. Weve done the metrics on throughput, and these arrays do everything the company says they do."

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...