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Deduplication is the Big Success Story of 2009

It is hard to believe it is approaching the end of 2009 already but what a year it has been. While 2009 has arguably been one of the toughest economic years in anyone’s recent memory (and I for one am not convinced the economic slump is by any means approaching an end), from a storage technology perspective it has been one of the most innovative and exciting in recent memory. Deduplication has gone main stream, cloud storage is on every organization’s radar screen and all organizations (storage end-users and providers alike) are beginning to grasp just how disruptive solid state drives (SSDs) are going to be.

Having been out on vacation last week and then monitoring the news that came out this week, there was nothing extraordinary that caught my attention. So instead of dedicating this blog to commenting on recent events or specific technologies as I normally do, I decided to reflect on what I consider some of the major storage trends coming out of 2009 and going into 2010.

Deduplication is arguably one of the most notable trends of 2009 as it has been widely adopted by users after bursting onto the scene just a few years ago and has grown to be included in both software and hardware products.

A recent SearchDataBackup.com article shared that 21% of those users surveyed in their September 2009 Storage Purchasing intentions survey were already using deduplication in some form. Of the 79% that have not yet implemented deduplication, 26% of those have added deduplication or plan to add it yet this year bringing the total adoption rate among those surveyed to nearly 41% by year end.

That’s an impressive jump by any standards in an overall down economy and it is no wonder that EMC and NetApp got into a bidding war over Data Domain. However, in checking with Rich Castagna who wrote the article, he says, “Storage magazine finds that the ‘have/will implement numbers’ tend to be optimistic, and far fewer actually carry through.”

That said, the news is good for almost every vendor that offers deduplication. SEPATON tells me it continues to see strong adoption of VTLs in general and its S2100-ES2 specifically among enterprise organizations. The flexibility that its grid-based architecture offers to enterprise organizations so they can independently scale either performance or capacity to meet their backup demands seems to be winning over enterprise customers to its solution.

Among other deduplication appliance players, ExaGrid Systems continues to chug along as it anticipates hitting its 500th customer sometime this month and re-affirms its goal of doing an IPO in 2011. FalconStor’s deduplication has become almost the default deduplication technology among storage system providers because it has so many partnerships with them, including the likes of Pillar Data Systems, Nexsan Technologies and many others.

Quantum is staying in the hunt despite EMC’s acquisition of Data Domain that some thought might signal the end of Quantum. Yet it may just turn out that EMC’s acquisition of Data Domain is the best thing that ever happened to Quantum. Quantum now has to stand on its two feet and can no longer use EMC as a crutch to sell its deduplication solutions.

Probably the best evidence that Quantum continues to rebound are statements it made in its recent fiscal second quarter announcement that its DXi7500 is winning deals though it is unclear from those statement whether or not EMC is involved behind the scenes in those deals or if these originated before EMC announced it was acquiring Data Domain.  Time will tell.

On the software side, CommVault has been surprised by the rapid rate of adoption of deduplication among its customers since it started to offer deduplication as a module within Simpana® 8. David West, CommVault’s VP of Marketing and Business Development, recently stated, “CommVault is seeing an increase in demand for customers that want to reduce the cost and improve efficiency. We have talked about this for awhile but given the economic situation, reducing cost is really working. Instead of just wheeling in another disk subsystem, people are looking to be more efficient with their storage. In this regards, deduplication was a strong contributor to revenue and we have been surprised by the uptake in this module.”

Over the remainder of the month I am going to share some of my thoughts on why cloud storage is resonating so well with users and is poised for wide spread adoption – maybe sooner than many think. I also am going to devote a number of blogs on the topic of SSDs in the coming weeks. Like cloud storage, SSDs are going to dramatically reshape storage in the next few years with products from the likes of Dataram and Fusion-io are positioned to disrupt how companies utilize both internal and external disk storage.

Until next week, have a good weekend!

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Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Lead Analyst of DCIG, Inc. Jerome Wendt is the President and Lead Analyst of DCIG Inc., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in September 2006.

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