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Data Domain Gets Compressed

Startup Data Domain, stepping out of stealth this week, is launching a disk-based backup system it claims can pack copies of enteprise data with a compression ratio of up to 20-to-1.

The company says its DD200 Recovery Appliance and accompanying Restore Protection Manager (RPM) software complement and optimize the entire backup and restore process. The system, which is currently in beta testing and expected to ship in the fall, compresses backup data so that it takes a lot less space on the appliance's internal ATA disks, as well as on the tape it is eventually moved to for archiving. This not only dramatically cuts costs for the user, the company says, but also allows companies to store their data on disk for a longer period of time before having to dump it to tape.

"When the backup software sends data, we take the stream and can quickly figure out what data segments are new," says Data Domain CTO Kai Li. "This helps us improve by an order of magnitude both compression ratio and throughput."

The San Mateo, Calif., startup says its software also does stringent integrity tests of the data at the time it is backed up, enabling companies to discover inaccuracies or compromised data before they need to restore it. "When we write the data to disk, we read it back to make sure it's identical," Li says. "We make sure everything is verified at every step of the way We have designed our technology first for data protection."

Data Domain's RPM software, which only runs on the DD200, breaks down the data stream into variable-length segments that are smaller than the average block. It then stores to disk only the segments that have not been stored before, thus compressing the amount of data to about 20 times less than what would have been stored with traditional tape backup over a "typical" four-month timeframe, Data Domain claims. With just 16 ATA disks, the company says its appliance can hold the equivalent of up to 23.4 Tbytes of recovery data.

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