Deduplication, do I really need it?

I’m always puzzled when a customer tells me that they “need deduplication to run my backups better.” This drives me nuts. Deduplication in and of itself doesn’t make your backups run better. In fact some technologies make backups and restores take a lot longer. These customers aren’t really thinking about the root causes of their problems. They are like patients who see an ad for a prescription medication on TV and decide they need some. When the doctor asks why, the response is “because the ad sounded like something that will make me feel better.” Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Well, that is no different from the dedupe statement above.

The simple reality is that, like the prescription drugs on TV, dedupe is not a silver bullet. It solves specific problems such as retention and reduction in $/GB. If that is your problem, then by all means please look at dedupe. But please, understand the problem you are trying to solve. Trust me, you don’t want to be the guy taking the drugs just because they sound good on TV.

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2 Responses to “Deduplication, do I really need it?”

  1. Yeah, you’re quite right about de-dupe here, but we can actually say the same about almost anything – if you do not what is this and do not know WHY you want/need it – you obviously do not really need that. And what is the bad thing about dedupe from you POV?

  2. You are right. The driver with dedupe is that it is a hot new technology and so it is forefront of people’s minds. This drives the “I have got to have it mentality.” Once it cools off, it will be something else that takes it place.

    Your question about the negatives of dedupe is a good one and deserving of a separate post in the blog. Stay tuned.

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