Deduplication: A Personality Analysis

Reading time for this article .

I just finished re-reading Keith Schultz’s recent article, which is a test lab review of three different deduplication appliances on the market today.  Spectra nTier Deduplication was one of the three. I always like to read reviews about my products, especially when they are positive.  If you have not read it, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but will tell you that InfoWorld found that all the systems……. worked.  As much as I wish my deduplication appliance was the only one that worked, I must remain honest.  Most, if not all, mainstream deduplication solutions carry out their primary goal:  reducing your data.   


Keith did learn that the systems had different personalities, and in my opinion, almost all of the deduplication systems on the market have a unique personality.  Spectra nTier Deduplicationis VTL based, and well suited in environments with tape-based backup and archive systems.  VTL not only fits well with tape-based environments, it also offers high performance. Additionally,  nTier’s ability to send block data over Fibre Channel offers significant performance advantages over NAS. 


Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open. Our nTier definitely has character, and its personality is all about both high performance and tight tape integration for backup and archive.


Each deduplication solution has its own distinct personality, and no single product can do everything.  If you chose a dedupe appliance with a NAS interface, you may sacrifice performance in exchange for the ability to host some production data.  For some customers, this will be a good trade, for others it will not be acceptable or provide efficient backup and archive.t.  nTier Deduplication is designed for backup and archive data, and does a great job with that work flow, but was not designed to be used  as a primary storage device. 


What should an organization consider when looking at a deduplication solution?  First, they need to know how they will use it and what is important.  Is integration with backup software and performance more critical than other factors like performance?  Once the organization has a good feel for the personality of the device they need, it should be easy to reduce the number of systems to consider to a “short list” of two or three solutions.  After that, learn more about each one and if need be, test them before purchasing.


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