June 22, 2010 – A couple of recent news announcements/rumors have focused attention on data reduction (compression/deduplication) for primary storage, also referred to as primary storage optimization, capacity optimization, storage efficiency, and many other terms that may be confusing end users.
First, Permabit announced a software-only version of its data deduplication technology designed for storage hardware and software OEMs (see “Permabit deduplicates primary storage”). If Permabit succeeds in nailing a major OEM deal or two (and the company claims to have at least one in the works) this could be a game changer. For a second opinion on that, see Jeff Boles’ blog post.
Second, the rumors are still swirling around IBM’s alleged negotiations to buy primary storage compression specialist Storwize (see “IBM to acquire Storwize for $140 million?”).
I recently spoke to Murli Thirumale, CEO at Ocarina Networks, which is a Storwize competitor and soon-to-be Permabit competitor. Leading up to a product/strategy announcement that Ocarina made today (see below), Murli offered four predictions on data reduction for primary storage:
--“Every major storage vendor will have primary storage deduplication in their portfolio by 2011, whether by building it or buying it. And by 2012 every major host vendor – including servers and virtualization platforms – will have data reduction built in.”
--“The compression vs. deduplication argument will go away as users realize that you need both. Each technology has advantages/disadvantages for different data types and access patterns.” [Ocarina’s technology combines compression and deduplication.]
--“The industry will eventually have solutions integrated across all tiers of storage, rather than point solutions for different tiers. You shouldn’t have to re-hydrate across tiers or workflows. Once you shrink the data, keep it shrunk.”
--“Deduplication is not a feature; it’s a business. The data deduplication market will exceed $3 billion within five years. And I think it will ramp faster on primary storage than it did in the backup market.”
Which sort of leads into the announcement that Ocarina made today. In a strategy similar to Permabit’s, Ocarina announced a software-only, ‘embeddable’ version of its ECOsystem data reduction technology targeted at OEMs. (Ocarina’s existing data reduction technology is delivered as a software-hardware appliance.)
Ocarina may not be a household name, but note that its partners/resellers include, among others, HP, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and BlueArc, although Ocarina didn’t make any OEM announcements for its embeddable software today. (It takes a long time to qualify and integrate technology like this into a vendor’s existing stack.)
One differentiator that Ocarina may have is a content-aware data reduction technology with a combination of data compression and deduplication. In addition, Ocarina CEO Thirumale says that the OEM version of the company’s technology can be applied anywhere in the IT infrastructure – from primary storage devices to archiving platforms – and on any type of data (e.g., files or blocks), enabling data to remain in compressed/deduped form throughout its lifecycle. In addition, the software can be implemented in a post-process, in-band or hybrid approach.
In other data deduplication news today, GreenBytes announced its entry into the European market with a variety of reseller partnerships. GreenBytes packages its data deduplication software in inline GB-X appliances that combine solid-state disk (SSD) drives and 2.5-inch SATA drives in what the company refers to as a Hybrid Storage Architecture (HSA). GreenBytes’ block-level deduplication can be used in NAS or SAN environments.