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EMC on Wednesday said it's acquiring data de-duplication vendor Avamar in a $165 million cash deal.
The deal is expected to close within 30 days. Irvine, Calif.-based Avamar is one of a growing number of developers of data de-duplication technology. Also called "data de-dupe," it removes duplicate information as data is backed up or archived. It can be done on the file level, where duplicate files are replaced with a marker pointing to one copy of the file, or at the sub-file level or byte level, where duplicate bytes of data are removed, resulting in a decrease in storage capacity requirements of several magnitudes.
Avamar brings to EMC a disruptive technology that, like the advent of using low-cost SATA drives as a backup target in place of tape, will impact how customers will handle the backup and recovery of data, said Mark Lewis, executive vice president and chief development officer at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass.
De-dupe is a great cost leveler between disk and tape, Lewis said. "So the question of whether to do disk-based data protection or tape-based protection changes," he said. "You can have disk-based protection at a lower cost. Over time, disk-based solutions will cost less than tape."
Avamar brings EMC two key de-dupe technologies, Lewis said. First, it goes to the sub-file level to eliminate duplicate data in a granular fashion to compress that data by 300:1 or more, he said. It also does de-dupe at the edge of the network, eliminating duplicate data before being passed across a network and cutting the bandwidth required to pass that data.
The acquisition is a great move for EMC and Avamar, as well as for the other vendors in the space, including market leader Data Domain, said Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider partner of both vendors.
"This takes away any question of the viability of Avamar in the long term," Teter said. "And this helps Data Domain. It's like the field is left to a fight between Pepsi vs. Coke."
It's hard to directly compare Santa Clara, Calif.-based Data Domain and Avamar and some of the other companies -- most of which are startups but include such heavyweights as Symantec with its PureDisk offering -- because de-dupe technologies fall into three categories, said Frank Slootman, president and CEO of Data Domain.
Data Domain and some other vendors do de-dupe as part of a data backup storage appliance that sits on a company's network as if it were an NAS or SAN array, Slootman said. Other companies like Riverbed handle de-dupe in the network. Avamar makes de-dupe an integrated part of a data protection application.
Data Domain fits into current storage infrastructure and works transparently to de-dupe data that's backed up to the Data Domain appliance, Slootman said. Avamar's Axion software, on the other hand, requires that a customer replace an existing data protection application like IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager or Symantec's NetBackup with the company's application.
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