“Data deduplication is becoming an enterprise reality”

by Faiz Askari    Aug 07, 2012

PK GuptaemcIndia has witnessed unexpected data growth in recent years and this has become a huge challenge for enterprises to manage this exponential growth. In an exclusive interaction with Faiz Askari, Editor – North, CXOtoday, PK Gupta, Senior Director & Chief Architect, Backup & Recovery Systems Division, EMC Asia Pacific & Japan, highlighted some recent trends and challenges in the storage space and how CIOs can efficiently manage data to drive value to their business. Excerpts.

As data is growing at a phenomenal rate, what are the key challenges you believe CIOs of Indian enterprises are facing at present? Is the scenario different in the rest of Asia?

Enterprises across the world are witnessing a phenomenal growth of data. In India data is growing at 100 percent year-on-year - faster than most other developing countries. In such a scenario, the process of back up becomes very time consuming. CIOs are facing a huge challenge in managing the backup and recovery. The time taken for backup has reached upto 72 hours from the earlier 8 to 10 hours. This is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, the biggest challenge is that the data growth has become so huge that no one can actually predict it well. Second challenge for CIOs is optimizing the storage infrastructure. The other key challenge is preparing a redundant DR plan and strategy. At the same time, ensuring high security level in the entire process is also one of the challenges. The other big challenge is that of reducing the failure rate in backup and storage especially for those using the tape backup.
If I draw a comparison between India and Asia in this regard there is not much of difference. The only difference we find when talking to IT decision makers in India is that storage and backup infrastructure is a big challenge here, whereas in other Asian countries the primary challenge is how to manage data efficiently.

What are the recent trends in the enterprise storage market in India?

Data deduplication solutions are becoming an enterprise reality. These solutions control up to 30 times of data size reduction. DR readiness is becoming the need of the hour. People want to have instant DR. Around 70 percent enterprises in India are relying on disk based storage solution and 37 percent of Indian companies have are already using data deduplication. In terms of Industry segments, those in the manufacturing, BFSI, IT/ITES and well as large corporate houses are using these technologies to manage their data growth.

We all know that the data is growing rapidly, but IT budgets are not growing in the same pace. What is your opinion about this as a technology provider?

We do understand the challenges that enterprise CIOs are facing. We look at introducing newer technologies that can save the customer’s budget. Technologies like deduplication can bring significant value for the enterprise’s existing storage and backup infrastructure. In terms of RoI, company’s are very particular about their expectations. In today’s scenario, no one gets attracted to a product or solution that does not give them the expected RoI in more than a year. However, we believe that deduplication solutions can offer effective RoI within nine months of its deployment.

Deduplication helps in reducing the data size. How does it compare to the cost?

The primary benefit of deduplication is the reduced backup cost where you can save a huge amount of data in terms of size especially when you save the de-duplicated data to tape. You can also send backups to remote site using WAN or LAN. For example, over a period of five years backup cost comes at around 45 cents. Its advantage is that if you search on Google you can restore from the tapes with in-built technology like DIA which does self-checking on a daily basis. If any block is corrupted it spontaneously corrects the effected block and makes sure it has a healthy copy.

CIOs are getting increasingly aware of green IT infrastructure. How do you think green storage solutions can bring value to their business?

As compared with tape, disk storage offers 50 percent reduction of carbon emission. This is a huge value point for ensuring the commitment towards better environment and achieving the status of green technology infrastructure.

Can you highlight any example in which customers have achieved energy saving and cost benefits by getting converted to disk from Tape?

There was a customer who had 45,000 tapes. They completely removed 45,000 and now have four big tapes. They plan to go completely tapeless and will be having 3 data domains shelves into their racks. So by this they have saved space of storing their 45,000 tapes, cooling, power etc. Their Backup size capacity is 35TB on a weekly basis. They are moving from main frame to open systems, their first tape migration, converting 45,000 tapes to disk and total could be 100-120 TB. This is the power of deduplication. Eighty percent of banks in Australia, 80 percent of banks in New York and 70 percent of banks in Singapore and Hong Kong are currently using data domain deduplication technology.

Can you highlight the status of Cloud-based backup in India? Please tell us EMC’s commitment towards cloud?

In India, bandwidth is no longer a key challenge. A lot of telcos like Airtel, Vodafone, etc have good bandwidth these days and creating huge data center. Around 80 percent of the enterprises have adopted private cloud and a lot of medium size enterprises have also started adopting private cloud by building Vblocks whereas SMEs do not have appropriate fund for the private cloud. Telcos are doing a lot of replication to guarantee their customers. EMC is aggressively working towards helping customers to build their infrastructure.
EMC has partnered with Tulip Telecom for offering solutions like backup-as-a-service, hosted backup solutions and replication-as-a-service. EMC is enabling Tulip to offer its enterprise customers a comprehensive and professionally managed storage and backup services through cloud computing.