Storage vendor Quantum on Wednesday unveiled a new version of the DXi software it uses to build its deduplication appliances, giving them more performance and the ability to work with more storage protocols than in the past.
The enhancements to Quantum's DXi software come on top of a recent refresh of its entire line of DXi dedupe appliances, said Steve Whitner, marketing manager for the San Jose, Calif.-based company's disk products.
"This announcement significantly raises the bar on entry-level dedupe," Whitner said.
The new DXi 2.0 features in-line deduplication, unlike the post-processing method Quantum has traditionally used.
In-line dedupe uses a separate appliance which sits between the data source and the data target to dedupe the data as it is moved, which traditionally decreases the amount of capacity required but also requires more processing overhead.
Post-processing dedupe starts the dedupe process after the data is copied onto a destination device such as a virtual tape library. This mitigates the bottleneck by accepting the full data set and then eliminating duplicates as it is stored, but requires more storage capacity to temporarily store the entire data set.
Quantum has streamlined the data flow to increase the performance of the deduplication process, bringing it in line with how vendors such as EMC's Data Domain works, Whitner said.
DXi 2.0 also changes the process control of large data sets with a new standardized model for central controller, backplane, and memory management, he said.
The software has also been architected to work with SSDs and new types of processors, and now offers improved scalability of file systems.
At the same time, Whitner said, Quantum has retained its variable-block data reduction technology, which increases the efficiency of the dedupe process compared to other vendors who use fixed data block sizes.
Quantum has also made the new software easier to deploy than in the past by reducing the total number of screens and steps by up to 65 percent and adding new installation wizards, he said.
The new software takes away a key objection which customers had to Quantum's DXi family of dedupe appliances, said Michael Spindler, data protection practice manager at Datalink, a Chanhassen, Minn.-based solution provider and long-time partner of both Quantum and its arch-rival Data Domain.
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"In-line dedupe vendors have pooh-poohed post-process deduplication," Spindler said. "Quantum's new software gives it in-line dedupe capabilities combined with strong performance. In our own labs, we've seen performance double with the software in both NFS and CIFS environments."
The performance of Quantum dedupe technology prior to last year was less than stellar, Spindler said. "But now they're doing a good job keeping up with features and functionality," he said.
Quantum's real strength is in the midrange where customers are looking to dedupe up to 25 TBs of data, Spindler said. In addition, Quantum has good integration with tape backup devices through Symantec's OpenStorage (OST) protocol, which allows storage devices to communicate directly with each other.
"Most people would like to be tapeless," he said. "But in most situations, that is not practiced today."
The new DXi 2.0 software will start shipping with Quantum's DXi4500 and DXi6000 dedupe appliances this quarter, and with its DXi6700 and DXi8500 appliances this Summer, Whitner said. Customers with existing Quantum dedupe appliances can upgrade their software at no charge, he said.