Data Reduction

Data Reduction

First of all, let’s figure out what is regarded as data reduction technology also known as Capacity Optimized Storage, COS or Capacity Optimized Transport, COT (applicable to data transfer via territorially distributed network channels).

In fact, data reduction consolidates fragments of the same content, providing for reduction of disk space required for storing the file.

Fragment size and optimization algorithms may vary, however every data reduction solution is based on the same principle, which implies decomposition of data to blocks of certain size and detecting repetitive blocks.

Now imagine how this technology works in regard to backup operations. When backup of files is created using data reduction technology, the resulting backup size is smaller than the original due to savings by merging repetitive fragments. Aside from the fact that disk space volume saved in this way can be rather significant, data reduction has one more important advantage. Identical fragments are copied only once. Thus, starting from the backup cycle number two, the system saves only a small part of original content to backup storage, because with the course of time the files are practically left unchanged for the most part.

Think about how many identical pieces of information are stored in your data center, and you will realize why backup applications based on data reduction technology can achieve amazing compress ratios – sometimes reaching 10:1 and beyond.

Compression provides for faster execution of backup cycles. Besides, usage of data reduction technology simplifies data exchange between distant offices, speeds up data transfer and cuts expenses spent on communication services. It is not surprising that vendors enhance their major products with replication applications.

Perhaps the most substantial effect of data reduction technology is the fact that the cost of backups stored on disks becomes quite comparable to cost of tape backups. Therefore, the price difference between these two media types given the same volume of stored information is almost neglected.

Competing manufacturers has been developing proprietary data reduction tools taking different approaches. Data Domain Company offers an integrated software plus hardware solution for backups, while Avamar is ready to deploy Axion application both in standalone product or bundled with required equipment. Maybe the most substantial difference between these two products lies in the fact that Data Domain’s product is integrated with basic backup applications, and Axion software just replaces them.

“DD460 is a fully functional disk system that serves as a network connected storage device for backup software”, ­­– Data Domain CEO Frank Slootman explained. – “Inside the black box there is our secret sauce, which provides for repetitive duplicates detection in different ways and their further unique allocation on the disk.”

“You can purchase our equipment or request the list of devices which were already tested by us and had shown a decent performance”, – Avamar CEO Ed Walsh stated. – “In general, Axion operates properly on any hardware running Red Hat Linux operating system.”

Taking into consideration that the volume of stored data gets doubled every year for most companies, data reduction system deployment may prove to be the most efficient way of maintaining systems’ readiness and retaining the controllable state of data protection tools.