Deduplication: A Performance Savior!

A lot of enterprise class storage arrays have had deduplication available as an add-on for a long time.  However, many customers continue to avoid deduplication in primary storage on traditional arrays due to the performance hit that ensues as well as the fact that the feature costs additional money in licensing fees.

Last year, however, IDC made the proclamation that deduplication isn’t just for backup anymore.  In their report, IDC recognizes that storage needs between enterprises and SMBs/midmarkets are quite different.  Most importantly, IDC points out that smaller enterprises can’t procure specialized storage systems for each new need that arises whereas larger enterprises might be able to afford this luxury.  In fact, many SMBs deploy just one single storage device to serve all of their needs and rely on this device for storing files, for virtual machines, for Exchange and more.  This forces SMBs to acquire storage that is simpler to use and maintain and that doesn’t come with a lot of hidden costs.

At the same time, companies across the board – from SMBs to the largest enterprises – are experiencing explosive storage growth.  This growth is driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Increasing regulatory requirements
  • Big Data
  • More systems moving to electronic workflows

As such, SMBs and midmarket organizations need storage that can scale reasonably well while, at the same time, provide them with simple to use enterprise-grade features that enhance the return on the storage investment.  These organizations have traditionally been primarily focused on storage capacity, but have more recently begun to pay close attention to overall storage performance as well.  The new focus on performance is largely the result of the increasing size of data sets, virtualization of larger workloads and exploration of virtual desktop technologies.

As mentioned earlier, traditional storage technologies suffer from the perception that primary storage deduplication carries with it an unacceptable impact on performance.  Tegile’s Zebi line of arrays, on the other hand, actually get faster with deduplication.  Yes, you read that right: Deduplication on the Tegile Zebi line of arrays increases performance.  As more data is deduplicated, that leaves even more room on the solid state disk-based caches on the Zebi, thus enabling the flash-based acceleration of even more workloads.

Of course, this performance acceleration is in additional to the other benefits that are wrought from deduplication, including:

  • It minimizes the amount of data that needs to be written.
  • Minimizing data means minimizing the amount of storage capacity needed.
  • Minimizing storage capacity means minimizing the investment necessary.

IDC certainly has it right.  On the cost side of the equation, deduplication’s benefits are obvious, but with Tegile, those benefits extend to the performance side of the equation, which is of growing importance to SMBs and midmarket firms.

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