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Choosing data deduplication products: Hardware and software offerings

Choosing a data deduplication product can be tricky. Learn about what to look for in a dedupe product, read about major data dedupe vendors and how to choose the best product for your company.

By Dave Raffo, Senior News Director

When choosing data deduplication products, you have a lot of choices (see chart "Data deduplication and backup products" below). Data backup disk target products that include data deduplication are either virtual tape libraries (VTLs) -- disk devices that emulate the tape backup process -- or appliances with network-attached storage (NAS) interfaces.

Virtual tape libraries have Fibre Channel interfaces and are generally used by large enterprises. NAS-based appliances use Ethernet and are often found in midrange and smaller shops. VTLs usually scale higher than NAS appliances, and Fibre Channel makes them a better fit for backing up data on large servers connected to storage area networks (SANs). global data deduplication is more of an issue for VTLs because they frequently handle large backups.

Major VTLs with deduplication include IBM Corp. ProtecTier, Sepaton Inc. S2100 Series with DeltaStor dedupe software), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. VLS (with Sepaton DeltaStor), Quantum Corp.'s DXi 7500 Enterprise, and Oracle Corp.'s Sun StorageTek VTL. FalconStor sells VTL software with deduplication, usually through partners.

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NAS dedupe devices include EMC's Data Domain platform (Data Domain also includes VTL interfaces, but most of its systems in production are NAS), Quantum's DXi 7500 Express and DXi 6500, ExaGrid EX Series, HP D2D Backup System, NEC Hydrastor, FalconStor FDS, Nexsan DeDupe SG (with FalconStor FDS software), and GreenBytes GB-X Series. Unlike VTLs, NAS-based dedupe appliances support simultaneous reads and writes, and they don't require expensive Fibre Channel connectivity.

Data deduplication products: Software 

It is now common for backup software applications to include deduplication as an option or an integrated feature. These applications usually dedupe at the backup server. Symantec Corp. PureDisk -- which is now integrated into NetBackup and Backup Exec -- CommVault Simpana, EMC Avamar, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, CA ARCserve Backup and Asigra Cloud Backup are among data backup software products with deduplication.

Most of these products do global deduplication, mainly because it's less complicated to handle global dedupe in backup software than on target devices. The backup software only handles new files, while target dedupe devices have to look at all files and that slows down the process and complicates global dedupe.


The following is a list of the major data deduplication backup products, deployment type and information on where the product dedupes data. 


Vendor Asigra CA CommVault EMC Corp. EMC Corp.
Product Asigra Cloud Backup ArcServe Backup Simpana 8 Data Domain DDX Avamar
Deployment type Backup software Backup software Backup software VTL/NAS Backup software
Dedupe cost Included Included Add-on Included Included
When dedupe Inline Inline Inline Inline Inline
Dedupe location Distributed Target Distributed Target Source
Global dedupe Yes Hybrid Yes No Yes


Vendor ExaGrid Systems FalconStor Software HP Co. IBM Corp. NEC Corp.
Product EX Series File-interface Deduplication System and VTL VLS TSM Extended Edition HydraStor
Deployment type NAS NAS and VTL software VTL Backup software Secondary storage
Dedupe cost Included Included or add-on Add-on Included Add-on
When dedupe Post- process Post-process Post-process Post-process Inline
Dedupe location Target Target Target Target Target
Global dedupe Yes Yes Yes No Yes


Vendor IBM Corp. Quantum Corp. Sepaton Inc. Oracle/Sun Symantec Corp. Symantec Corp.
Product ProtecTier DXi Series S2100 w/ DeltaStor VTL Prime Backup Exec 2010 NetBackup PureDisk
Deployment type VTL VTL or NAS VTL VTL Backup software Backup software
Dedupe Cost Included Included Add-on Add-on Included Included
When Dedupe Inline Both Post-process Post-process Inline Inline
Dedupe location Target Target Target Target Source Source
Global dedupe Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes


  Editor's Tip: Learn more about data deduplication products and open-source data deduplication in this expert response from W. Curtis Preston.

Click here to go to the next part of our data deduplication tutorial, and learn about inline vs. post-processing data deduplication.

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