If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a lot can be even worse.
Imagine 1,000 enterprise users receiving a company e-mail with a 1MB attachment, and each of them saving it locally: 1GB of space is required. Standard backup stores that attachment 1,000 more times, using up another 1GB. And from then on, whenever a user makes changes to the original file, the new version is saved in full.
Now imagine backing up the original attachment only once and replacing the other 999 instances with pointers back to that single copy—and then doing the same for changes, saving only the parts of the file that have been altered.
Welcome to data deduplication, a new method for eliminating redundancies in stored data. Based on special ‘differencing’ algorithms, data deduplication works at the block level of a file, storing only what has been changed.
“Data deduplication is a lot more than just convenient,” says Steve Johnson, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager for HP StorageWorks Virtual Library System (VLS). “It can provide up to 50 times more efficient utilization of disk space, which is a huge deal, especially in large enterprises.”
Data deduplication has drawn a lot of interest recently because it:
- Saves storage space
- Reduces required investments in disk systems
- Frees up network bandwidth
- Helps IT to recover faster after outages
Savings across the board
HP has announced two data deduplication solutions, tailored to small/midsized organizations and large enterprises respectively. The solutions use different types of technology to make the advantages of deduplication available to a broad range of customers.
“The SMB solution is called ‘dynamic deduplication’,” says Jim Hankins, Business Development Manager, HP StorageWorks. “We’ve integrated it into our HP StorageWorks D2D Backup Systems, focusing on three key attributes: low price, ease of management, and compatibility with all data types and backup applications.”
The low entry price owes much to HP Labs, which has developed custom algorithms that allow the indexing and storage of deduplicated data with significantly less RAM usage than other products.