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Quest launches QoreStor for appliance-free dedupe

Quest strips the data deduplication software out of DR appliances, launching it as the independent QoreStor application, which supports any vendor's backup hardware.

Quest Software today launched QoreStor data deduplication and replication software designed to work with third-party storage hardware and even other backup applications.

Quest described QoreStor as software-defined secondary storage. The software vendor has taken the deduplication technology from its DR Series appliances and packaged it in software form that's sold without underlying hardware. Its hardware- and software-agnostic platform is designed to work with applications from major vendors, such as Commvault and Dell EMC -- not just other Quest Software products.

The basis of QoreStor is the DR Series, which is a line of Quest Software products consisting of disk backup appliances. Dell launched the DR Series in 2013, but included those products in the Quest spinoff following Dell's 2016 acquisition of EMC.

Adrian Moir, senior consultant of product management at Quest Software, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., said Quest is no longer selling the DR appliances. QoreStor is meant to be the continuation of the product line, and it has been in development for eight months. He said breaking out of the box -- literally -- has allowed Quest to be agile and aggressive with updates, and Quest will expand the QoreStor platform.

"We've taken the same technology from that hardware appliance and stripped away the necessity for a fixed hardware-based technology," Moir said. "We got rid of the requirement to buy an entirely closed system that's always prebuilt and can have significant issues with [return on investment] at the end of three years.

"[We've] changed the whole thought process around a deduplication target, moving it away from being a very fixed architecture that has to sit on premises somewhere to being able to utilize this technology pretty much anywhere you want."

Adrian Moir, senior consultant of product management at Quest SoftwareAdrian Moir

Moir described QoreStor as Quest Software's box-free deduplication product, and its license includes encryption, replication and protocol acceleration. According to Moir, one of the main benefits of taking deduplication out of the box is longevity. He said he's planning for QoreStor customers to take the software with them across hardware refresh cycles.

"At the end of three years, they want to do a hardware refresh. In a traditional model, they used to have to rebuy the whole thing, including the software, all over again. This is one of the differences with QoreStor: They don't have to do that anymore. They get to keep their software license, and they can just change the hardware underneath," he said.

QoreStor also supports AWS, so customers can back up the public cloud over a WAN, and it encrypts data at rest. Its cloud portal allows managed service providers or enterprise customers to manage all QoreStor instances.

How Quest stacks up in the backup market

[We've] changed the whole thought process around a deduplication target, moving it away from being a very fixed architecture that has to sit on premises somewhere to being able to utilize this technology pretty much anywhere you want.
Adrian Moirsenior consultant of product management, Quest Software

The move reflects changes in backup and secondary storage, as vendors re-examine the relationship between software and backup targets. Cohesity and Rubrik have made inroads selling converged secondary software on appliances built on standard x86 hardware and supporting the cloud since they launched in 2015. Dell EMC launched Data Domain Virtual Edition in 2016, selling the deduplication software that had been tied to its Data Domain backup appliances. In 2017, data protection software vendor Commvault added a HyperScale appliance, integrating hardware and software.

But Quest is taking a different tack with QoreStor. It is most similar to Data Domain Virtual Edition, but Dell EMC continues to sell Data Domain appliances, too.

"I can't think of anyone who offers [deduplication] as an independent layer," said Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, based in London. "It's a little strange, but I can see the value of having that dedupe capability as a separate layer irrespective of the hardware underlying it. I think there's a gap there for this, and I can see where it would potentially have an appeal, but you're going to be struggling against an awful lot of incumbent technology. [Dedupe] is almost expected to be delivered as part of any solution."

Illsley said he sees the potential cost savings of a deduplication and compression layer that persists across hardware upgrades and works with any architecture. But he said he is not convinced Quest will find a mass audience for it. Illsley predicted QoreStor will find the most success targeting customers at a refresh point -- those who are building a new system or are about to renew their licenses.

"It's got potential; I'm just not 100% convinced it's going to be a massive market for it," he said.

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