Data Domain recently announced that their new OS release dramatically improved appliance performance. On the surface, the announcement seems compelling, but upon further review, it creates a number of questions.
Deduplication software such as Data Domain’s is complex and can contain hundreds of thousands of interrelated lines of code. As products mature, companies will fine tune and improve their code for greater efficiency and performance. You would expect to see performance improvements from these changes of about 20-30%. Clearly, if an application is highly inefficiently coded, you will see greater performance gains. However, larger improvements like those quoted in the release are usually only achieved with major product architecture updates and coincide with a major new software release.
In this case, I am not suggesting that Data Domain’s software is bad, but rather that the stated performance improvement is suspect. They positioned this as a dot code release and so it is not a major product re-architecture. Additionally, if it was a major architecture update, they would have highlighted it in the release.
To summarize, the stated performance gains in the release are too large to attribute to a simple code tweak and I believe that the gains are only attainable in very specific circumstances. Data Domain appears to have optimized their appliances for Symantec’s OST and is trumpeting their performance gains. However, OST represents only a small fraction of Data Domain’s customer base and it seems that customers using non-Symantec backup apps will see uncertain performance improvements. Read on to learn more.