NetApp Allows Dedupe Of Competing Primary Storage


NetApp's V-Series family is a line of storage virtualization appliances which sits in front of multiple arrays from one or more vendors and virtualizes the storage capacity of those arrays to allow it to be managed through a single management system.

NetApp this week is adding deduplication capabilities to the V-Series family, allowing it to dedupe data across its competitors' products, including arrays from EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Hitachi Data Systems, said Chris Cummings, senior director of data protection solutions for NetApp.

Deduplication, also called "dedupe," 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.

The V-Series is certified to deliver dedupe over primary storage from those vendors, and not just on secondary or backup storage, Cummings said. "This lets customers avoid rip-and-replace while going after the benefits of dedupe with those arrays," he said.

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It is a significant move or the vendors, NetApp solution providers said.

Dedupe is the next part of the logical evolution of the V-Series, said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based storage solution provider and NetApp partner.

Every single NetApp Filer that Peak UpTime installs for customers includes dedupe already, regardless of whether customers require it or not, Strasheim said. "With the V-Series, until now the discussion has been focused on integrating other vendors' storage," he said. "This just continues that move."

Mike Piltoff, senior vice president of strategic marketing at Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fl.-based solution provider, said the ROI of dedupe is very compelling, giving customers an additional 20 percent to 25 percent reduction in storage capacity over what other technologies such as virtualization offer.

"When you combine the efficiencies of storage virtualization, new technologies to ease management, and deduplication, it's an unbelievable value," Piltoff said. "We see a customer using standard Fibre Channel arrays who is looking to add capacity in reality doesn't really need to add. Instead, he can pick up additional capacities with the V-Series."

The V-Series provides both file-level and block-level deduplication, Cummings said.

In order to activate the dedupe license, which is free, customers do need to spend about 10 minutes filling out a form that states that they know there is a chance of performance degradation when implementing the technology, depending on data type and other factors, Cummings said.

The V-Series can be set to automatically turn off the dedupe function if the performance hit is too high, he said.

"In many cases, we see no performance hit, and in rare cases performance goes up," he said. "But in most cases, we let customers set their own performance threshold so that if the performance drops below that level, the dedupe is turned off."