By bolstering some of its backup offerings with StoreOnce’s dedupe abilities, HP is attempting to cut into EMC’s dominance in the dedupe backup market. EMC’s Data Domain is the best-selling disk backup target in the market, and its Avamar backup software handles dedupe at the source.
The B6200 is HP’s largest disk backup system that runs the inline StoreOnce deduplication software. The B6200 scales to 768 TB of raw capacity, and expands by adding pairs of controllers that HP calls couplets. A single couplet starts with 48 TB and scales in 24 TB increments. A couplet can scale to 192 TB before another couplet is needed. The maximum of four couplets -- eight controllers -- brings the system to 768 TB before dedupe, and HP claims a maxxed out B6200 can ingest and restore data at 28 TB per hour. The system can protect up to 384 remote sites.
HP also claims that the couplets offer high availability: if one controller fails, it will shift operations to the other controller in the couplet through the system’s rapid restart feature.
The list price starts at $250,000 for a 48 TB system.
HP storage marketing director Craig Nunes said the B6200 has a performance edge over Data Domain, which claims an ingest rate of 26.3 TB per hour on its Global Deduplication Array and 14.7 TB per hour on its enterprise DD890 system. Nunes claims HP also has an advantage by using the same deduplication algorithm in Data Protector and the B6200. EMC’s Avamar and Data Domain systems can be centrally managed, but those products use different dedupe algorithms so the data has to be rehydrated and deduped again if it goes from one system to another.
“This is the beginning of a second wave of deduplication, or deduplication 2.0,” Nunes said.
For the most part, HP watched dedupe’s first wave from the shore. It sells Sepaton’s dedupe software in an enterprise virtual tape library (VTL) through an OEM deal, but its internally developed StoreOnce was limited to entry-level systems until now and hasn’t been a big seller for HP.
HP plans to eventually incorporate StoreOnce deduplication for primary data and envisions a federated deduplication architecture that uses one dedupe algorithm across all data tiers.
“The StoreOnce vision is to take that algorithm and drive it everywhere,” Nunes said. “We want to take it to the client, the application server, Symantec OST, VM-based backup and to primary storage. We see a great advantage, especially with scale-out file storage.”
HP’s overall StoreOnce deduplication vision is similar to that of Dell’s plans for dedupe. That company incorporated its Ocarina dedupe into its DX object-based archiving system this year. Dell plans to add dedupe to its Compellent and EqualLogic SAN systems next year, with longer term plans to use it in file servers, application servers and backup systems.
HP dedupe: too late or just in time?
Analysts say HP’s late arrival as a full-fledged backup dedupe vendor can be overcome if its technology is good enough. Arun Taneja, consulting analyst of the Taneja Group, said while HP has ceded the early market to EMC and others, having the same dedupe technology across the board can help it leap-frog competitors.
“I’d rather err on the side of leadership rather than being late to the game,” Taneja said. “And HP is late to the market relative of other players, but it has the advantage of having a fully baked strategy. As a customer, I might want to choose source dedupe because I have extra processing power in my application servers, or I might want to keep using some backup software product and dedupe at the target level. Ideally, that should be the same technology. EMC is the unquestioned leader, but Avamar and Data Domain are two distinct technologies. They’re managed from the same console, but you can’t make two animals into one animal.”
Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Lauren Whitehouse agrees that having a common dedupe algorithm is an advantage for HP.
She said Symantec has the same dedupe algorithm with its NetBackup and Backup Exec software and appliances running those apps, “but HP is gunning for EMC because Data Domain is so strong. HP is going to call out EMC because Avamar doesn’t have the same algorithm as Data Domain.”
She said the B6200’s scale-out architecture can provide another selling point for HP. NEC and ExaGrid dedupe boxes scale in a similar fashion, but Data Domain boxes grow in the more traditional scale up method.
Adding dedupe to Data Protector was long overdue, she said - by now, even most small backup vendors support dedupe in their backup software. “This is something that was desperately needed for Data Protector,” Whitehouse said. “But last to market doesn’t have to be so bad if you have a better story.”