IBM Uses Replication, Dedupe to Cut Data Recovery Costs

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today became the latest company to add replication to data deduplication, a combination of technologies that promises to reduce bandwidth costs and improve disaster recovery times.

IBM’s announcement follows similar moves by the likes of Data Domain — now part of EMC (NYSE: EMC) after a six-week bidding war with NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) — and Sepaton (see What’s Next for EMC, NetApp and Quantum? and Sepaton Adds Dedupe to Data Replication).

Eliminating duplicate data before replication can save on bandwidth costs and time, making native replication an increasingly important feature of data deduplication systems, but IBM ProtecTier offering manager Victor Nemechek said the biggest benefit of combining the two technologies is improved recovery time. “That’s where it really shines,” he said.

The cost savings could also mean that applications other than the most mission-critical can now benefit from an extra layer of data protection.

“This new feature really helps improve time to DR readiness,” said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse. “Replication can occur while backup and deduplication processes occur, reducing the amount of time required to get a DR copy of data off site and, importantly, eliminating the need to create, transport, store and recover from physical tape media for DR.

“While the replication feature is not unique in the industry, it will be a welcome addition for IBM’s customers,” she added.

Quantum (NYSE: QTM), FalconStor (NASDAQ: FALC), ExaGrid and NEC are among the other dedupe vendors offering replication.

IBM dedupe customers can add the feature for $2,000 per terabyte of usable storage capacity. ProtecTier pricing starts at $90,000 for 7TB of usable capacity, said Nemechek.

Nemechek weighed in on the debate over whose dedupe solution is faster, claiming that Data Domain’s performance claims are for “very, very specific use cases and best-case maximum. We’re very conservative.”

Whitehouse said she hasn’t seen IBM’s latest performance numbers, but said that ProtecTier “has delivered impressive deduplication performance prior to this release. IBM performs inline deduplication using a memory-resident index, and its VTL is configured with Fibre Channel storage, which will aid in boosting performance.”

Nemechek also touted IBM’s data integrity features, saying the company offers the only non-hashed solution, performing a bit-for-bit comparison.

He said IBM’s dedupe line, acquired from Diligent last year, just had its “best quarter ever,” as Big Blue benefited from the “confusion” over Data Domain’s fate.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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