Deduplication Virtual Tape

NetApp Dedupe: The Worst of Inline and Post-process Deduplication

NetApp finally entered the world of deduplication in data protection. While they have supported a flavor of the technology in their filers since May 2007, they have never launched the technology for their VTL. Why? Because their VTL does not use any of the core filer IP. It relies on an entirely separate software architecture that they acquired from Alacritus. Thus all the features of ONTAP do not apply to their VTL. However, I digress from the topic at hand.

I posted recently about three different approaches to deduplication timing: inline, post process and concurrent process. I talked about the benefits of each and highlighted the fact that post process and concurrent process benefit from the fastest backup performance since deduplication occurs outside of the primary data path while inline benefits from the smallest possible disk space since undeduplicated data is never written to disk. Now comes NetApp with a whole new take. Their model combines the worst of post process and inline, by requiring a disk holding area and reduced backup performance. After all this time developing the product, this is what they come up with? Hmmm, maybe they should stick to filers.

Deduplication Marketing

Tradeshow perspectives

I spent last week at a tradeshow in New York. These events are interesting because of the various end user perspectives. Those of us in the industry often get embroiled in the minutiae of products and features, and so it is very useful to understand the views of the end users on the show floor. Storage Decisions is a show that prides itself on highly qualified attendees.

One of the most curious things about the show was attendees’ obsession with inline vs post process deduplication. Numerous end users stopped by asking only about when DeltaStor deduplicates data. In the rush of the show, there was little time to discuss the question in much detail. It struck me as odd that these attendees focused on this question which in my opinion is the wrong question to ask. I can only surmise that they had gotten an earful form competing vendors who swore that inline is the best approach.