Deduplication Appliances Buying Guide

Thursday May 23rd 2013 by Drew Robb

These PBBAs from Quantum, HP, EMC and Symantec include built-in deduplication.

Deduplication burst onto the scene about a decade back. Its popularity is such that so a multitude of products and services now include some kind of deduplication feature. But for heavy-hitting deduplication action, purpose-built backup appliances (PBBAs) are the way to go as they all come with built-in deduplication.

These systems have gravitated up the storage food chain to the point where they are comfortable in an enterprise setting and can store multiple TBs or even a few PB of deduplicated data. This guide focuses on some of the larger and newer boxes serving the mid-market and above.

Quantum DXi6800

Quantum’s new DXi6800-Series expands the company’s PBBA line in terms of scalability, performance, availability and security capabilities. Pay-as-you-grow options, inline dedupe and up to 16 TB/hour of performance make this a strong contender in this market segment. Incorporating 3 TB self-encrypting drives, the DXi6800 also provides 13 to 156 TB of usable capacity.

The DXi6800 supports Symantec NetBackup AIR to improve restore service level agreements and reduce time to return to business in the event of a disaster. Hot spare drives are included, as well as Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP) to spread spare capacity across drives. The base price of $110,000 includes 13 TB of usable storage, licenses for NAS, VTL, OST, deduplication, replication, path-to-tape and DXi Accent software.

“The DXi6800 is 4x faster, 3x more scalable and has a 50% smaller footprint versus the leading competitor, all at the same price point,” said Chris Hoffman, DXi product marketing manager, Quantum. “It can replicate to another DXi or to the cloud and is compatible with Quantum’s Q-Cloud backup-as-a-service and disaster recovery-as-a-service.”

HP StoreOnce Backup systems with StoreOnce Catalyst

HP StoreOnce is characterized as federated deduplication, meeting different deduplication deployment types within one architecture (application server, backup server and appliance). As such, deduplication and replication are enabled anywhere in the organization using HP StoreOnce Catalyst.

The company claims the HP StoreOnce B6200 Backup System with HP StoreOnce Catalyst can backup up to 100TB/hr and restore at up to 32TB/hr. HP StoreOnce appliances start at 4 TB and scale to 768 TB. Integration with HP and ISV backup applications allows single-point-of-control for deduplication, backup and recovery. Prices start at $10k for the lower-end HP StoreOnce 2620.

“The ability of HP StoreOnce to replicate just deduplicated changed data to a central StoreOnce appliance helps customers protect remote offices without requiring a hardware appliance at the branch office,” said Andrew Dickerson, senior product marketing manager, storage, HP.

EMC Data Domain

Since it acquired Data Domain (DD) several years ago, EMC has been steadily uprating the enterprise capabilities and storage capacity of its DD appliances (PDF link). The EMC DD860 was its high-end unit until recently. It is said to offer an average of 10 to 30 times data reduction for enterprise recovery images. Inline deduplication has a throughput of up to 5.1 TB/hour, raw capacity is up to 192 TB and it supports backup and archive applications such as Symantec, EMC, IBM TSM, Atempo, and BakBone.

Now, EMC claims to have the world’s fastest single controller deduplication storage system with the recent introduction of the Data Domain DD990. Added software broadens Data Domain archiving capabilities for extended retention and regulatory compliance. It provides 31 TB/hr throughput, can execute up to 540 concurrent backup jobs, replicate up to 270 remote sites and has up to 65 PB of logical space.

Note, though, that you have to watch the deduplication terminology to make sure you are making an apples-to-apples comparison. Many vendors, EMC included, like to use “logical space” which is the amount of storage you would need if you didn’t have deduplication. So if EMC has 65 PB of logical space and claims up to 30x deduplication, you can assume that the actual box contains around 2 PB of storage—which is still an awful lot. But even that seems large—in this case, that heady number appears to be being achieved via expansion shelves (EMC couldn’t provide clarification in time for publication). But regardless of all the caveats, the DD990 is a major bump up in the Data Domain architecture in terms of speed, capacity and throughput.

"EMC is delivering high performance scalable appliances that integrate with each other, with backup software and with enterprise applications,” said William Jenkins, president, EMC Backup Recovery Systems Division.

Symantec Backup Exec 3600 Appliance

Symantec appears to have an on-again, off-again relationship with storage hardware. A few years back it abruptly abandoned the hardware appliance business only to return more recently. This time it seems to have gotten it right with IDC reporting Symantec 2012growth rates of 191% in PBBAs.

It provides two dedupe appliance lines based on its two well-known backup software products. Backup Exec software is integrated onto the appliance which comes with deduplication, recovery and VM protection. Symantec V-Ray technology restores complete servers, Microsoft applications and VMware or Hyper-V virtual guests in minutes. The BE3600 Essential Protection Suite includes hardware plus one year maintenance for $15,995. The Total Protection Suite throws in central administration and higher-end storage support (for a 10-drive library, for example) for $25,995.

NetBackup, of course, is another long-term player in enterprise backup with a large user base. The NetBackup 5230 appliance has expandable storage up to 4 TB, deduplication for physical and virtual servers, V-Ray and protect 4800 VMs while consuming 415 watts on average per one recent benchmark. Pricing is $27,970 with one year maintenance and 4 TB of disk, plus 4 x 1GbE and 2 x 10GbE network ports. Software is licensed separately.

“The NetBackup 5230 is the only solution with end-to-end high-speed streaming of backups from a Fibre Channel SAN,” said Peter Elliman, senior manager product marketing, Symantec. “The NetBackup 5200 series appliances come pre-installed with NetBackup 7.5 to provide integrated backup and deduplication.”

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