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Put Your Data Storage on a Diet

July 7, 2009


Symantec’s Mathew Lodge explains how Symantec’s deduplication technology enables organizations to stop buying storage, recover their information faster, and improve their return on virtualization.
Call it the storage paradox.
According to a recent survey by Applied Research, more than half of all organizations expect to spend more on storage in 2009 than they did in 2008. But at the same time, the latest Symantec State of the Data Center Report indicates that storage utilization hovers at just 50%.
Given the current economic climate, this state of affairs can’t be allowed to continue. Moreover, if there’s one absolute in business, it’s that data will continue to grow. That’s why organizations need to optimize their data centers by more effectively utilizing their storage assets.
This article looks at how data deduplication can help enterprises stop buying storage, recover their information faster, and improve their return on virtualization.

Moving deduplication closer to the information source

At its essence, deduplication is about reducing the footprint required by data. Although the technology has existed for some time now, most organizations have yet to take advantage of the operational and storage efficiencies to be gained through deduplication. For example, data deduplication offers companies the opportunity to dramatically reduce the amount of storage required for backups.
“We believe it’s time to put data storage on a diet,” says Mathew Lodge, Senior Director of the Information Management Group at Symantec. “Our strategy is to reduce data everywhere by moving deduplication technology closer to the information source.”
That means moving information out of an application such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes, deduplicating and compressing it, and putting it on disk.
“Users don’t see any difference,” Lodge says. “They still use Outlook or Lotus Notes or SharePoint in exactly the same way. They still save their information, but now it’s stored in an archive, and it’s stored much more efficiently and deduplicated.”
Lodge points out that today’s deduplication devices have had a limited impact in that they address only the later stages of the information management lifecycle. With Symantec solutions, organizations can deduplicate backups immediately at the client, he says. And the idea of having deduplication more tightly embedded with backup and storage applications is resonating with end users.
“By integrating deduplication in NetBackup, Enterprise Vault, and Backup Exec, Symantec is enabling organizations to consolidate storage and to back up and recover more quickly,” Lodge explains.
Other key benefits of deduplication include:
  • Reduced storage consumption. With deduplication, Symantec has seen customers reduce storage consumption by 40% to 60% and be able to cost-effectively store 30 days of data on disk in the data center for quick recovery.
  • Reduced bandwidth costs. Deduplication also helps to reduce bandwidth costs, which allows for consolidation and disaster recovery. Because deduplication can cut backup time significantly, it helps to ease backup window pain. Once it performs the first full backup, deduplication captures only incremental changes thereafter. It can also help to reduce LAN traffic as it only sends that changed data at scheduled intervals.
  • More reliable backups. Deduplication is a disk-based technology, so it reduces reliance on tapes and makes backups and recovery faster. That eliminates the time-consuming task of locating a particular tape, mounting it, and searching to the appropriate location to bring a file back.
  • Better utilization of resources. Deduplication allows organizations to better use their resources because they have less data to back up. If data is deduplicated, you can afford to have anywhere from several weeks to several months worth of data on the physical disk environment.

Help in the virtual server environment

Lodge says that a particularly good use case for deduplication can be seen in the virtual server environment.
“We see a lot of redundancy in those VM images,” he says. “If we’re performing backups on each of these, deduplication really allows us to shrink the footprint and allows an organization to get more out of the disk they’ve already deployed. We like to say that deduplication fulfills the promise of virtualization.”
Lodge adds that Symantec supports third-party deduplication appliances through the use of a technology called OpenStorage, which is available now in NetBackup and will be included in the next version of Backup Exec.
“We call this the ‘single pane of glass approach,’” he says. “It’s a single, centralized interface to manage all kinds of deduplication activity, whether it’s built-in or whether it’s in an external device.”
Looking ahead, Lodge says Symantec is taking a multipronged approach to deduplication:
  • Integrated deduplication is available today in NetBackup and Enterprise Vault, offering deduplicated archiving, deduplicated backup storage, and global deduplicated remote office backup.
  • NetBackup currently offers integrated, centralized management for third-party deduplicated storage from Data Domain, Quantum, Falconstor, and EMC through the OpenStorage API.
  • NetBackup PureDisk 6.6, scheduled to be available later this year, improves storage efficiency by adding enhanced deduplication for virtual server images.
  • Backup Exec 2010, scheduled to be available later this year, will integrate deduplication (using NetBackup PureDisk technology) into both backup clients and the Backup Exec server. Backup Exec will also add the OpenStorage API to manage third-party deduplication appliances.
  • NetBackup 7, scheduled to be available in 2010, will integrate deduplication into the backup client and media server.


Enterprises today are seeking new ways to tackle their data protection challenges. While data growth isn’t new, the pace of growth has become more rapid. Data deduplication offers companies the opportunity to dramatically reduce the amount of storage required for backups and to more efficiently centralize backup data to multiple sites for assured disaster recovery.
By incorporating data deduplication closer to the information source and simplifying management, Symantec can help organizations consolidate storage, back up and recover more quickly, and increase their return on virtualization.
For more information, go to the Symantec Is Deduplication website. Be sure to watch “Ask the Experts – Data Duplication,” a webcast featuring Mathew Lodge and Gartner Inc.’s Dave Russell.

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