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Quantum puts DXi Accent on dedupe backup target

Quantum looks to take on EMC’s Data Domain Boost with its DXi Accent software that offloads part of the data dedupe backup process to media servers.

Quantum Corp. today introduced DXi Accent software that aims to speed the data dedupe process on its backup target appliances and rolled out two new DXi midrange systems.

Quantum claims DXi Accent dedupes data faster by using media servers to offload some of the process. Without Accent, DXi hardware does all of the deduping. With Accent, the media server sends only changed blocks over the network to the DXi target appliances. Quantum calls this a hybrid mode, and it is similar to what EMC Data Domain does with its DD Boost software.

DXi Accent works only on Quantum’s new DXi 6701 and 6702 appliances, although Quantum intends to add support for the software on all of its DXi hardware.

DXi Accent software is loaded onto the media server, where data blocks are segmented and signatures are computed. The media server then collaborates with the DXi appliance to identify unique blocks of data.

To find the unique data, the media server sends the signatures for all data blocks to the DXi appliance to check them against a central index. The DXi returns a list of signatures for the unique blocks not present in the block pool to the media server. The media server then compresses these unique blocks and transmits them to the DXi to be stored to disk or tape. The DXi stores a pointer to the existing blocks for data sets already present in the block pool.

“The deduplication process is divided between the source and target,” said Steve Whitner, Quantum’s product market manager for DXi. “Some activity is done on the backup server and some activity is done on the DXi appliance. It’s truly a hybrid. Both are involved but only the new blocks are sent from the server to the DXI. The more times you back up a data set, the more deduplication you get. Each backup will look at the data set and see which data is new, and write only the new blocks. That means you get more effective utilization of bandwidth and it improves performance.”

Dedupe backup target expansion

Quantum also added the DXi6701 and DXi6702 to its 6700 family of midrange systems. The DXi 6700 launched in January has a virtual tape library (VTL)-interface while the new systems also support network-attached storage (NAS) and Symantec OST. The 6701 has Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectivity and the 6702 supports 10 GbE. Both models scale from 8 TB to 80 TB.

The DXi 6701’s MSRP price is $58,000, which includes a bundled license for the DXi Accent software, replication, NAS and VTL interfaces, direct tape creation and Symantec OST API support.

The 6701 can be converted to a 6702 with a field upgrade for $5,000.

Quantum plans to continue support its DXi 6500 and 6700 midrange devices for legacy customers but new customers will be steered toward the new DXi 6701 and 6702.

DXi Accent vs. DD Boost

Russ Fellows, senior partner at the Evaluator Group analyst firm, said Quantum is clearly going after dedupe backup market leader EMC Data Domain with DXi Accent.

To the overall industry, it’s important that somebody other than Data Domain is taking a leadership role in the dedicated deduplication appliance market.

Russ Fellows, senior partner at the Evaluator Group

He said there are some differences between Accent and Boost. Quantum gives customers the choice to enable or disable DXi Accent on particular servers, while Data Domain requires all media servers to either be enabled or disabled with the Boost software.

Also, EMC’s Data Domain Boost offers only support of LAN backup, while Quantum is offering both LAN and WAN support, for replication for disaster recovery protection. Quantum also offers a direct path to tape, which makes sense because Quantum sells more tape than disk backup. DXi Accent only supports Symantec Corp. NetBackup now, but Whitner said it would add support for other backup applications.

Fellows said Quantum also is catching up to Data Domain’s performance capabilities. Quantum claims a 5.8 TB an hour backup performance in target mode using a VTL or OST interface, or 5.0 TB an hour in NAS environments.

“To the overall industry, it’s important that somebody other than Data Domain is taking a leadership role in the dedicated deduplication appliance market," Fellows said. “And [Quantum is] coming in at a lower cost.”

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