Symantec Outlines Dedupe Strategy

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Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) today unveiled plans to offer data deduplication across its backup and archiving product line, but all the pieces won’t be in place until next year.

NetBackup, Backup Exec and Enterprise Vault will all get the data reduction technology, and Symantec is offering central management and a single global viewpoint of both native dedupe and third-party appliances from the likes of Data Domain (NASDAQ: DDUP), Quantum (NYSE: QTM), Falconstor (NASDAQ: FALC) and EMC (NYSE: EMC).

Matthew Lodge, senior director of product marketing at Symantec, said the company’s goal is to make dedupe easy for end users. “If it’s more complicated, it won’t get done,” he said.

Lodge said the combination of archiving and eliminating duplicate data can reduce primary storage by 40 percent to 80 percent, while adding the technology to backups makes for “smaller and faster backups,” reducing backup storage by as much as 95 percent and cutting network traffic.

Symantec is also adding support for server Virtualizationfrom VMware (NYSE: VMW) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Hyper-V. Deduplication offers storage consolidation, efficient virtual server protection and simplified management in virtual environments, the company says.

Symantec says dedupe appliances only address the end of the information management lifecycle. Symantec Enterprise Vault, on the other hand, moves messages, files and SharePoint content directly out of applications like Exchange, SharePoint and Windows file shares to a deduplicated archive, in effect moving deduplication to the information source. With NetBackup or Backup Exec 2010 — coming later this year — Symantec says organizations will be able to deduplicate backups immediately, at the client, and centrally manage deduplication in the data center and across remote offices.

Symantec said integrated deduplication is available now in NetBackup and Enterprise Vault, and NetBackup offers integrated, centralized management of third-party deduplicated storage from Data Domain, Quantum, Falconstor and EMC through the OpenStorage API. NetBackup 6.5.4, which starts at $5,000 per server, also offers single file restore for virtual machines for both Hyper-V and VMware, including vSphere, by allowing organizations to restore virtual machine information directly from disk or tape.

NetBackup PureDisk 6.6, coming later this year, will add enhanced deduplication for backups of VMware image files (VMDKs) to reduce virtual backup storage requirements by as much as 90 percent over previous versions. It will require less server hardware by doubling backup data storage to 16TB per backup server.

Backup Exec 2010 will integrate deduplication (using NetBackup PureDisk technology) into both backup clients and Backup Exec media server and will also add the OpenStorage API to manage third-party deduplication appliances.

And NetBackup 7, expected next year, will integrate deduplication into the backup client and NetBackup media server.

Source-based dedupe coming?

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse said Symantec is “definitely on the right track with their deduplication strategy.”

“Backup applications are complicit in the amount of redundant data in data protection environments,” Whitehouse told Enterprise Storage Forum in an e-mail. “Symantec is taking steps to change that. They’ve examined the multiple locations in the backup data path where the deduplication process can occur (at the source, media server and target device) and are responding with solutions for however end users want to address the problem. For example, if end-users want to implement deduplication via a target system, then Symantec has its OST interface, or if they prefer to deduplicate natively, then they can implement NetBackup PureDisk.”

There are multiple approaches to optimizing storage capacity and bandwidth, said Whitehouse. “Symantec is advocating its archiving technology as a first line of defense — remove persistent data at the application server,” she said. “This promotes storage efficiency downstream too.” Deduplication and compression come next, she said.

Whitehouse noted that NetBackup doesn’t deduplicate at the source like EMC Avamar, “but that is something they are likely to address down the road.”

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Paul Shread
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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