Backup D2D Restore

Boost vendor lock-in

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the benefits of Symantec’s Open Storage Technology (OST). The technology enables accelerated disk-to-disk backups (D2D) primarily over IP connections and additional value-added features. Last week, EMC responded with their announcement of BOOST for NetWorker. Insiders have told me that the BOOST architecture is essentially the same as OST although the go-to-market strategy is very different. Of course a major difference is that OST has been shipping for over 3 years and BOOST will not be available until sometime in the second half of 2010.

As discussed previously, EMC/Data Domain was unable to create a true global deduplication solution so were forced to use OST to do the heavy lifting. Ironically, they could only support Symantec NetBackup and BackupExec with the new feature because NetWorker did not offer an advanced D2D interface. The BOOST announcement addressed the issues, but raises new questions. Specifically, BOOST is positioned as an EMC only solution, and it is unclear if the API will be shared with other vendors. In my opinion, this creates a challenge for EMC/Data Domain and NetWorker. Let’s look at how the situation impacts a variety of interested parties.

Backup Deduplication Restore

Data Domain & GDA – Bolt-on to the rescue

One of biggest challenges facing today’s datacenter managers is protecting the vast quantities of data being generated. As volumes have increased, customers have looked for larger and larger backup solutions. Multi-node global deduplication systems have become critical to enable companies to meet business requirements and EMC/Data Domain’s response to these challenges has been “add another box” which is their answer to all capacity or performance scalability questions. It appears that Data Domain has acknowledged that this argument no longer resonates and has reverted to Plan B, bolt-on GDA.

The use of the term “bolt-on” stems from a previous blog post by EMC/Data Domain’s VP of Product Management, Brian Biles. In the entry, he characterizes other deduplication vendors as bolt-on solutions, and the obvious implication is that Data Domain is better because it is not a bolt-on. Few would agree with this assertion, but it is an interesting opinion and I will return to this later.

Deduplication Virtual Tape

The Demise of the NearStore VTL: A historical perspective

Rumors have been circulating for months about the demise of NetApp’s VTL offering. Today, Beth Pariseau from SearchDataBackup published the first public confirmation that development on the product has ceased. It is not a surprise, but makes for an interesting case study.

NetApp acquired VTL technology with their purchase of Alacritus for $11 million back in 2005. Alacritus provided a software only VTL solution that ran on a Linux platform. Their product specifications appeared impressive, but they had limited success in the US. Our partners in Asia saw them more frequently. For NetApp, the acquisition made sense because it represented a relatively cost-effective entry into the rapidly growing VTL market. However, as in most things, the difficulties were in the details.

NetApp’s core intellectual property is their ONTAP operating system and associated WAFL filesystem. These components provide the intelligence and value-added features of their arrays. The challenge for NetApp after acquiring Alacritus was the integration of the two technologies.


Bye, bye EDL/DL3D 1500/3000, it was nice knowing you

The email below appeared in my inbox yesterday.  The EDL/DL3D 1500/3000 has officially been discontinued.  It was obvious from the moment EMC purchased Data Domain that the Quantum stuff was dead, but it took time for EMC to finally admit this.  The strongest statement came in Frank Slootman’s TechTarget interview.  Clearly the EMC/QTM relationship was a rocky one from the beginning and so the outcome is not surprising.

Deduplication Marketing

Data Domain keynote at SNW – Slootman’s surprising response

I attended multiple keynote and breakout sessions at SNW last week, but my busy meeting schedule conflicted with many of the morning sessions. I was able to attend to Data Domain’s talk given by Frank Slootman and wanted to provide some commentary.

The bulk of the session was boring and included what appeared to be a standard corporate slide deck which I am sure any salesperson could present in their sleep.  The presentation could be summarized with Data Domain’s usual message: inline deduplication is good and everything else is bad, and, of course, Data Domain’s deduplication is the best.  I was definitely hoping for something more interesting and was sorely disappointed; however, things changed when it came to the Q&A.

Just to provide a bit of background, my experience with SNW is described here.  There were a large number of end users in attendance both at the expo and the keynote sessions and I estimate that many of the show’s 900 end users were in attendance for this talk.  At the end of the planned remarks, Slootman opened the floor to questions.


It’s final – EMC acquires Data Domain

Just a quick post to highlight Data Domain’s announcement that they have agreed to be acquired by EMC.  As mentioned in previous posts (see related posts below), NetApp did not have the financial strength to compete with EMC.

The companies that have lost the most in this deal are Quantum and NetApp, and it will be curious to see how NetApp responds.  I discussed NetApp’s situation briefly in Tuesday’s post.


EMC one-ups NetApp

As expected, EMC has increased their bid for Data Domain and is now offering $33.50 per share in cash. Data Domain has been ignoring EMC in favor of their preferred suitor, NetApp; however, with the recent increase, Data Domain has no choice but to consider the EMC offer.

This situation leaves NetApp in a tough spot. James Bond describes the situation perfectly in the movie, For Your Eyes Only,

“I’m afraid we’re being out-horse-powered!”

NetApp wants to acquire Data Domain (and the feeling is mutual), but they are being out-horse-powered by EMC. NetApp does not have the financial strength to go head-to-head with EMC’s increasingly aggressive all-cash offers. NetApp must be evaluating how badly they want Data Domain and at what cost.


Poll: Who will acquire Data Domain?

Things have been quiet on the EMC/NetAppData Domain for the last couple of weeks.  DDUP’s stock price remains above NetApp’s current purchase offer ($30) which suggests that people think the bids will increase.  I also found some seemingly contradictory articles.  The Motley Fool suggests that EMC should back out of bidding for Data Domain because they cannot win.  Storage indicates that EMC has upped their offer to match NetApp which suggests the EMC thinks they can win.  At the very least, we know that EMC has extended their current offer.

As previously posted, I believe EMC will acquire Data Domain. Who do you think will be the acquirer?

  • EMC: They are committed and will win at any cost. (65%, 17 Votes)
  • NetApp: DDUP's board favors NetApp. (27%, 7 Votes)
  • A mysterious company C. (8%, 2 Votes)
  • Nobody, DDUP will remain independent. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Deduplication Restore

Defragmentation, rehydration and deduplication

W. Curtis Preston recently blogged about The Rehydration Myth. In his post he discusses how restore performance on deduplicated data declines because of the method used to reassemble the fragmented deduplicated data on disk. He also addresses the ways various technologies attempt to overcome these issues, including disk caching, forward referencing (used by SEPATON’s DeltaStor technology) and built-in defrag. In this post I wanted to discuss the last option because it is a widely-used approach for inline deduplication that has some little-known pitfalls.


NetApp and Data Domain: ‘Til death or a better offer from EMC do we part

I recently blogged with my thoughts about EMC acquiring Data Domain, and wanted follow-up with a post discussing some key points about a NetApp/Data Domain merger. Since that last post there have been numerous changes including EMC suggesting that they might up their offer; the inevitable threat of a class action lawsuit, Data Domain endorsing the second NetApp offer and the government initiating an antitrust review. In this context I want to dissect some key points to consider regarding this acquisition.