Quantum Leaps Into De-Duplication

Rolls out backup appliance with Rocksoft data reduction technology UPDATED 12/12 10AM

December 12, 2006

3 Min Read
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Quantum jumped into the data de-duplication space today, unveiling a backup appliance with the compression technology it acquired from ADIC.

The Quantum DXi3500 and DXi5500 appliances use de-duplication software ADIC acquired from Rocksoft in March, two months before Quantum bought ADIC. (See Quantum Takes Tape Rival ADIC and ADIC in De-Dupe Deal.)

Not surprisingly, the first product from the combined tape library vendors is a disk-backup system. It lets Quantum offer the data de-duplication technology that industry insiders say disk-based backup products will require soon -- and that most vendors have recently added or are developing. (See Insider: De-Dupe Demystified and De-Dupers Lining Up.)

Data de-duplication eliminates multiple copies of the same file and repeated blocks or segments of data within those files. That reduces disk capacity and bandwidth required for backups.

The DXi3500 ships with four drives and customers can add another four, while the DXi5500 is a 12-drive configuration with the option of adding 12 additional drives. Both products are available as NAS heads with Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, or as virtual tape libraries (VTLs) with Fibre Channel or iSCSI connectivity.Quantums de-duplication appliances are most similar in architecture to those of Data Domain, which also offers VTL or NAS options and does replication. Data Domain claims around 600 customers as of October and is generally considered the leader in a young market. (See Data Domain Posts Q3.) Data Domain also has gateways and recently added enterprise arrays that cluster up to 16 controllers.

Quantum’s enterprise marketing director Shane Jackson claims the StorNext file system acquired from ADIC gives Quantum an advantage in speed over Data Domain. Quantum claims an 800-Gbit/s per hour transfer rate.

Data Domain's VP of marketing, Beth White, takes a swipe at Quantum in her own response to this claim: “While we have no field data on this new product or how Quantum’s performance claims were derived, we do believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Quantum has had plenty of time on the sidelines to see which architectural approach will win market penetration." Data Domain claims to have more than 600 customers for its de-duplication wares.

Jackson also says data de-duplication lets Quantum offer replication over the WAN for the first time, making the appliances suitable for disaster recovery. “Before, it was impractical to get data across the WAN without de-duplication,” he says.

Quantum doesn’t promise a compression ratio, because that will vary from customer to customer. (See Dealing With De-Dupe Doubts .) “We’re not looking at data de-duplication ratios. We look at, ‘What is the amount of primary data you have to protect?' Then we protect that amount of data for two to three months,” he says.DXi3500 pricing starts at $24,000. Jackson says that price includes roughly enough capacity to protect 1.5 Tbytes for two to three months. The backup appliances are expected to be generally available early next year. Quantum is launching the DXi platform as branded products, but will consider OEM deals down the road.

Other de-duplication vendors include backup software firms Asigra, EMC, and Symantec, VTL vendor Diligent Technologies, and NAS appliance startup ExaGrid. (See EMC Picks Up Avamar and Symantec Dips Into De-Dupe). VTL vendors FalconStor and Sepaton are beta testing de-duplication software. (See FalconStor Plots De-Dupe Debut and Sepaton Readies De-Dupe.)

Analyst Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group says Quantum’s product appears to be competitive with existing products, at least on paper.

“If Quantum does what they say, they can make up ground against Data Domain,” Taneja says. “Quantum is lucky they got Rocksoft with ADIC, because it would’ve taken them years to develop de-duplication on their own.”

Unlike most of its de-duplication competition, Quantum obviously does not tout the technology as a tape killer. “Tape is part of backup for the longer term,” Jackson says. “We’re not positioning this [de-duplication] as something we’d keep data on for five years.”— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Asigra Inc.

  • Data Domain Inc. (Nasdaq: DDUP)

  • Diligent Technologies Corp.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • ExaGrid Systems Inc.

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Quantum Corp. (NYSE: QTM)

  • Sepaton Inc.

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Taneja Group

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