Data Domain Claims 20-to-1 Compression -

Data Domain Claims 20-to-1 Compression

Data Domain has released a new disk-based recovery storage appliance that delivers 20-to-1 compression, which could potentially save users a lot of money in disk and tape costs.

The DD200 Recovery Appliance was designed to support existing backup software, and is the first disk-based recovery appliance to combine full recoverability verification with speed and cost optimization for recovery data. With the DD Restore Protection Manager software, the appliance "makes restore and backup functions faster, simpler, and dramatically more reliable than existing solutions, at a cost competitive with tape automation," claims Data Domain.

"It's pretty impressive," says Enterprise Storage Group Technology Analyst Steve Kenniston. "I have been saying for a while that backup in the enterprise has to change and innovate. However, it has to do it in a smart way, one that allows users to leverage what they have in their environment. The DD200, acting as a target in your existing infrastructure, can help IT save a great deal of money on the disk and tape side with the compression they claim, and can help with recovery with the reliability features they have, as well as having it locally available on disk...If it wasn't clear that tape automation would be challenged by disk-based solutions, it is crystal clear starting now."

With its Global Compression technology, the DD RPM software requires far fewer disks to store backup data on than conventional ATA RAID backup solutions. And by supporting standard backup packages such as VERITAS NetBackup and Legato Networker, DD RPM also eliminates disruption in the data center. The solution "enables months of data backups to be kept cost-effectively on disks instead of in remote tape libraries," according to Data Domain, "allowing faster, onsite, online recoveries."

"Backup-and-restore represents the largest single expense in the total cost of ownership of storage," says Nick Allen, vice president and research director at Gartner. "However, backup-and-restore is also the least reliable link in the storage ecosystem. In the future, most restores will be from disk, not tape."

With primary storage, the design center focuses on block I/O response time. In contrast, Data Domain asserts its DD RPM is the first production file system to have an architecture designed and optimized for data protection. If a normal file system is used for recovery storage and a consistency problem occurs, the problem isn't apparent until someone attempts to restore a file -- the worst time to discover that data is unreachable. After storing a recovery copy, DD RPM verifies end-to-end that the data on disk is reachable and correct at the time of the backup. The software then repeats consistency checking and data self-healing continuously in the background. With its append-only file system, DD RPM also protects against erroneous block overwrites and other software faults that can cause silent data loss in conventional storage systems.

Documentum is happy with what it's seen of Data Domain so far.

"There are two key components to Documentum's backup strategy," says Jeff Ward, director of IT services at Documentum. "One is recovering from major disasters, which is why we take tapes off-site. The other is recovering from the small, daily disasters of accidental file deletion or corruption. In the latter case, it is critical that we recover files quickly and easily without going to off-site storage or searching through tape archives. We are pleased with Data Domain's strategy in the area of rapid recovery, and we are actively testing this solution in our primary data center. Data Domain's appliance is easy to deploy and use, so our pilot project has not required a significant investment of time and resources."

"The biggest factors contributing to rising storage costs are tape technology and its administration," states Kai Li, CTO of Data Domain. "With DD RPM and the disk-based DD200 appliance, Data Domain is on a mission to make recovery operations much more reliable, simpler, and cost-effective for users of standard backup software."

Data Domain's DD200 Recovery Appliance and the DD RPM software will be generally available in the second half of 2003. List price for the 4U rackmount unit is $58,000 per unit for 23 TB of recovery copy storage, or about $2.50 per GB of protected capacity. This price includes the DD200 system with sixteen 250 GB ATA disks at $25,300 and the DD RPM software licensed to run on the DD200, including the NFS V3 protocol, at $32,700. A single DD200 is configured to back up from 0.5 TB to 1.5 TB of primary storage for months of retention, and additional units can be applied to the backup server for greater bandwidth or capacity.

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