The Efficiency Challenges facing Deduplication Appliances

Disk is the initial and in many cases the only backup storage device most data centers use today. Once that backup is completed the data is then replicated to another disk backup appliance or to the cloud. The success of these appliances is driven for the most part by one critical feature; data efficiency – namely data compression and deduplication. The problem is data efficiency is now just that, a feature. It is no longer a product. Features can be made into software or re-invented on other platforms and as a result the disk backup appliance market may face obsolescence.

Problem 1 – Backup Software Gets Efficient

The first problem facing backup hardware is that backup software vendors are adding data efficiency features into their offerings. Many software applications perform compression and deduplication prior to data being written to disk. And these software offerings would prefer that the disk they write to be standard arrays.

Problem 2 – Environments Get Efficient

The second problem facing disk backup appliances is that operating systems, applications and hypervisors are becoming more efficient. They have created APIs that enable backup software to backup only the data that has changed since the last backup, even if those changes are within the file. Essentially this block level backup capability eliminates the need to do full or even incremental backups, which means less redundant data being sent to the backup hardware appliance. Less redundancy means less value for the organization’s investment in a disk backup appliance whose primary feature is the elimination of redundant data.

Problem 3 – The Cloud Gets Efficient

The third efficiency problem facing backup hardware solutions is cloud storage is becoming increasingly cost effective. Because providers, leverage commodity hardware, both private and public clouds are able to beat the price per GB of many deduplicated disk appliances, especially if those appliances are not delivering the deduplication rate they once were, thanks to environmental efficiency.

There are other challenges facing disk backup hardware, including the lack of true scaling, the lack of cloud integration and the lack of supporting more than just the backup use case, which is why backup hardware may break by 2020. To learn more listen to Storage Switzerland and Cloudian for our on demand webinar “Four Reasons Why Your Backup Hardware Will Break by 2020“.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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