Deduplication & Archiving: Technologies that work for mid-sized enterprises, too

by CXOtoday Staff    Nov 18, 2010

Vijay MhaskarThe volume of digital data created every year, is growing at an alarming rate. This is a situation not restricted to the large enterprises only, but is a growing area of concern for the mid-sized businesses too. This phenomenal data growth according to Vijay Mhaskar, VP - Information Management Group, Symantec, is acquiring the status of a monstrous nature, threatening to adversely impact the IT budgets across.

In a special report released by the Economist, titled “Data Deluge” – it is estimated that mankind created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005 and this year it will create 1,200 exabytes.

This leads to a basic question in the minds of all IT administrators-how can we be efficient without incurring spiraling storage costs?

The key lies in not increasing the storage capacity - a formidable cost for a mid-sized enterprise, but to effectively manage the existing information across platforms. Today, there are newer, agile technologies that can be instrumental to meet such challenges.

While large enterprises have taken the lead in implementing the latest technologies to manage data, one question that arises is – how feasible is it for mid-sized businesses to deploy these technologies considering their limited IT budgets? Also, a doubt springs up on whether large enterprise level technology, can be as effective to meet the specific needs of this segment.

Today, cost-effective technologies like deduplication and archiving have come to the rescue of the mid-sized enterprises. These solutions, which were earlier accessible only to large enterprises, are now made available for mid-sized organizations to manage their data in a more systematic and intelligent way. The findings of the Symantec 2010 State of the Data Center report, in India, mid-sized enterprises are more pioneering than either small or large enterprises and they are adopting new technology initiatives such as cloud computing, replication, and de-duplication at rate which is 10-15 percent higher than small or large enterprises.

Let’s try to understand on how these technologies can work for the mid-size enterprise:

Role of Deduplication in eliminating redundant data
Deduplication, also called capacity optimization and redundancy elimination, in simple words, means the elimination of redundant data. It is one of the most effective techniques that organizations can adopt to combat the rapid growth in information.

Data deduplication looks for and eliminates redundant data at the sub-file or block level across backup data and all locations, thereby reducing the required storage capacity leaving only a unique copy of the data. Hence, by consolidating existing storage resources, deduplication enables organization to reduce their backup storage costs to a great extent.

There are two approaches to deduplication, deduplication at source (the point where data is created) and at target (where data is stored). Source or client deduplication removes unnecessary data before it is transmitted to the backup server thereby reducing the bandwidth required to the backup server by as much as 99 percent and reduces overall backup time as well. For, machines that cannot handle the CPU overhead associated with deduplication at the client, target or media server deduplication can be applied to remove redundant data after it is sent over the network. Deduplication at the backup media server can also provide significant storage savings for virtualized backups.

Mid-sized businesses can deploy deduplication at remote offices as well as in onsite data centers, and across physical and virtual environments. When, combined with other advanced technologies such as archiving, deduplication significantly reduces the length and size of backups. It can also make virtualized server backups more manageable.

In some cases, enterprises might prefer to use deduplication appliances to remove redundant data. These devices can be made even more effective when they are integrated into a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy. This combined solution not only eases management challenges but also increases the overall performance and efficiency.

Archiving to reduce data storage
As unstructured data is on the rise, storage of this data proves to be quite expensive and time consuming for IT administrators. Archiving and backup technologies provide a solution to this concern. By taking infrequently used data off primary storage, indexing it, and moving it to less expensive, slower disk arrays for longer term retention, companies can recover their storage space leading to effective cost savings

When archiving is integrated into a recovery data protection solution, the archiving operates off the backup copies of the respective file servers or mailboxes. Mid-sized businesses can take these efficiencies a step further with a backup and recovery approach that also provides integrated deduplication in the archive. With such an implementation, the archive deduplicates and compresses data while storing a single copy of a file or email message in the archive, regardless of the number of times it was archived or its original location.

Cost-effective solutions which save time and resources
With deduplication and archiving integrated into backup and recovery solutions, mid-sized businesses have sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools to reduce backup storage costs by consolidating and reusing existing storage resources as well as by automatically migrating older, less critical data over time to less expensive storage.

These integrated solutions can help mid-sized organizations effectively manage information growth, particularly as they leverage virtualization technologies, creating new backup and recovery complexities. The backup and recovery solution with integrated deduplication and archiving, significantly streamlines data management by eliminating the need to purchase, install, configure, and manage separate, disparate tools.

Today, with the availability of these cutting-edge technologies, mid-sized businesses can deliver enterprise-class capabilities and improve their business climate in the most cost-effective way.

Information management technologies like deduplication and archiving can be effective in addressing the data monster that is a potential threat to the overall profitability and the functioning of a mid-sized business enterprise.

Now they are at work, going beyond the boundaries of the large scale enterprise to suit the specific challenges and needs of a mid-size enterprise without disruption, focused on delivering more by saving more.