NetApp Expands De-Dupe Capabilities

data management

De-duplication, also called "de-dupe," 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, and/or at the sub-file or byte level, where duplicate bytes of data are removed, resulting in a significant decrease in storage capacity requirements.

NetApp has had de-dupe technology for a couple of years as part of the NetApp advanced single-instance storage (A-SIS) technology for its NearStore and FAS storage systems, said Ravi Thota, director of the vendor's product marketing for data protection and retention.

A-SIS was part of the company's SnapVault for NetBackup, an application on which it cooperated with Symantec. However, Thota said, it was limited to the NetBackup environment only.

Starting this week, however, NetApp is making de-dupe available on its FAS and its NearStore R200 storage systems regardless of which data management software is used, Thota said.

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"It has been tested with CommVault, but works with others," he said. "And it works not just with backups, but with archival and primary storage, and it works in both file and block environments."

When used with a NetApp storage device, the software enables de-dupe of data once it arrives at the device, Thota said. Because de-dupe is done at the storage device, it can work with any vendor's software, he said.

Merrill Likes, president of UpTime, an Edmond, Okla.-based NetApp solution provider, said he is glad to see NetApp finally opening its de-dupe technology to non-NetBackup environments. "It will be very important with VTL (virtual tape library) technology going forward," Likes said.

However, Likes said he expects his customers to focus de-dupe on secondary storage for now, and stay away from using it with primary storage until the technology has a chance to prove itself.

"If de-dupe is used on primary storage, there will be overhead when rebuilding the data if there is a problem," he said. "Secondary storage provides fairly linear access to data, but on primary storage, there is more random access to the data."

The de-dupe feature is available free-of-charge on NetApp's NearStore R200 appliance, and as a $3,000 option for its FAS appliances.