Quantum is trying to put the squeeze on Data Domain's hold on the data deduplication market with the imminent release of a new turnkey NAS storage backup appliance aimed squarely at the channel.
Quantum this week unveiled its new DXi6500 family of storage appliances which feature a NAS interface, scalable capacity from 8 TB to 56 TB, and a full range of storage services including dedupe, replication, and compatibility with the Symantec NetBackup OpenStorage API.
And, unlike products from its rival Data Domain, the DXi6500 family offers the ability to do backups directly to tape.
Deduplication, also called "dedupe," removes duplicate information as data is stored, backed up, or archived. It can be done at the file level, where duplicate files are replaced with a marker pointing to one copy of the file, and/or at the sub-file or byte level, where duplicate bytes of data are removed and replaced by pointers, resulting in a significant decrease in storage capacity requirements.
The new DXi6500 appliances address the requirements in the midrange market for which Quantum's DXi7500 family is too large, said Janae lee, senior vice president of marketing for the company.
However, the DXi6500's complete set of storage services is important to those midrange customers, Lee said.
"Those customers don't have dedicated storage skills, and their VARs don't always have dedicated systems engineers," she said. "But both of them want high-end features with something they can set and forget."
The DXi6500 family also addresses the 80 percent of Quantum customers who have yet to implement dedupe, whether because they feel it its too confusing, complicated, expensive, or difficult to install, operate, or tune, Lee said.
"For dedupe in the midrange, customers need it to be easy to use, easy to install, and affordable," she said.
The DXi6500 will be a really good product for smaller customers who are not ready for the DXi7500, said Joel Salamone, co-owner of StorageHawk, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider and Quantum partner which works mainly with government clients.
"It's simple, and it's positioned well for a lot of its customers," Salamone said. "I haven't seen pricing for it yet, but I've been told it will be very aggressive."
Salamone, who also works with dedupe technology leader Data Domain, said the emergence of Data Domain over the past couple of years has in turn made Quantum a better player in this market.
"Data Domain came out of the gate with its products packed well in terms of its software and the completeness of its solution," he said. "Quantum over the last couple years learned that by going to market with a simple, straight-forward approach, with all its software included. It learned the lesson from Data Domain."
One thing that Quantum offers which is not available from Data Domain is a direct path to tape, Salamone said.
"If customers want to create a tape backup, Data Domain doesn't offer it," he said. "If customers want to highest performance, both companies offer comparable speeds."
There are five members of the DXi6500 family, all of which include deduplication, replication, and NAS and OST connectivity.
OST is the Symantec OpenStorage API which allows its NetBackup data protection software to control storage appliances. It is expected to be available for Backup Express in the future.
With the DXi6500 family, OST lets NetBackup control the backup function and maintain different copies of data on different media such as disk and tape with different policies, all of which are managed from a single console, Lee said.
The five appliances range from the entry-level model with a maximum of 8 TBs of usable capacity and two-Gbit Ethernet ports to the highest-end model with capacity ranging from 24 TBs to 56 TBs, two-Gbit Ethernet and two 10-Gbit Ethernet ports, and two 8-Gbit Fibre Channel ports.
The two smaller models are ready to ship through Quantum's channel partners, while the three larger models are slated to start shipping early next year.