Hidden storage margins

In a special guest column, Vince Blackall, EMEA channel director at data protection software specialist CommVault, explains how deduplication can drive sustainable sales for the storage channel.
Hidden storage margins
Vince Blackall says deduplication can help resellers solve customers’ compliance and investment needs.
By Vince Blackall
Thu 29 Oct 2009 04:00 AM

In a special guest column, Vince Blackall, EMEA channel director at data protection software specialist CommVault, explains how deduplication can drive sustainable sales for the storage channel.

In part, the market for deduplication is being driven by the sheer amount of digital information being created, which last year grew 3% faster - or 16 million gigabytes more - than prior projections. IDC estimates that by 2012 there could be five times as much digital information being created than there is today.

But while times remain tough and IT budgets continue to be stretched further than before, the adoption of new technologies isn't high on priority lists. Instead, the short-term focus is falling on the channel to prove the value of any proposed technologies as customers want to be sure of maximising any investments.

With eDiscovery, compliance and SLA requirements still driving data storage requirements up, there really couldn't be a better time for channel partners to be confidently positioning deduplication as the solution that reduces storage pressures.

For those that aren't already familiar with the concept, data deduplication, or intelligent compression, is a method of reducing storage by eliminating redundant data and works by retaining one unique instance of the data on either a disk or tape.

The benefits of this are instant cost-effective scaling and system performance improvements across the entire data management infrastructure. In the face of rising power and cooling requirements alongside escalating data growth rates, deduplication also offers a game-changing advantage for resellers whose customers are asking with help to reduce the footprint of long-term vaulting or compliance copies.

The compressed state of the deduplicated data can be migrated to tiers of cheaper storage for longer retention needs, enabling resellers to then offer a service that reduces storage space dedicated to back-up and archive, on both disk and tape, by up to 90%. Another business benefit of dedupe is that out-of-control storage costs, and slow throughput on back-up and archiving systems, can be addressed. Lengthy recovery times, a common issue when archived data stored outside the primary back-up media is involved, also offer opportunities for the reseller to sell here.

So, as a solution, software dedupe embraces tape infrastructure and disk tiers and, as a more efficient utilisation of a customer's secondary storage infrastructure, can eliminate incremental storage purchases for back-up and archive for anywhere up to a year. Interestingly, whilst CommVault anticipates the adoption of deduplication eliminating incremental tape drive purchases by anything up to six months, we expect to see deduplication continuing to drive tape sales in the long-term.

In this scenario, even the cost of incremental tapes is a small price to pay when compared with the operational efficiencies that such an end-to-end approach would bring - from faster network data transfers and shorter back-up windows to improved recoveries, which all translate into cost savings that resellers can then deliver to customers. Not only does this give the reseller two big ticks in the boxes marked ‘compliance' and ‘demonstrable return on investment' but it would also be difficult for them to find a customer that doesn't find this to be a compelling offering.

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