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Tandberg Data: AccuGuard Server

We continue our look at the source-side dedupe market with Tandberg Data's AccuGuard Server software, a solution designed specifically for the SMB market place. The Tandberg solution bundles deduplication software with their NAS appliances to provide a turnkey backup solution for that market.

While there are several other companies that are combining source-side deduplication with target-side hardware, none that I know of are providing the software at no charge, which Tandberg Data is doing. For the cost of one of their new NAS servers, you get the AccuGuard backup software. The application provides source-side deduplication on Windows platforms and has specific agents for Exchange and SQL. Windows is probably fine for most SMBs. In either case, it's an obvious yes or no decision to make. Their DPS 2100 series of NAS appliances are four-bay systems that come in either 4TB or 8TB configurations and have the normal NAS capabilities, including snapshots and remote replication.

The remote replication capability completes what can amount to robust protection for the SMB. They can leverage AccuGuard to get the data to the NAS server, they can then encrypt that backup job with the built-in capabilities of the Tandberg Data NAS server software and then replicate it to a remote site in the event of a disaster. All from a system that also can act as a file server or an iSCSI SAN. This multi-purpose use case may be ideal for the SMB looking to maximize it's storage investment. They also support a fan-in approach to replication. Multiple remote offices could replicate to a single NAS at a data center. You are limited to the capacity of the main NAS of course.

As you look more closely at the AccuGuard software, one consideration is the impact on the server being backed-up. Tandberg Data reports that it uses anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of CPU resources. While I would have preferred that it have the ability to throttle how much CPU is used, this may be an unfair request since Tandberg Data is focused on the smaller end of the market and adding this capability would add to the expense. I don't want to make generalization about the SMB market, but my experience is that they are more likely to have the CPU resources to burn, especially at night during a backup, they are also more likely to have less network bandwidth. The payoff of spending CPU resources instead of upgrading the network probably works for this market.

The deduplication is also not across servers as we would expect in enterprise solutions, so  as there are fewer servers, the actual data redundancy across servers may be minimal. Adding the cross-server checking adds another layer of complexity and workload to the software. It would be interesting to see Tandberg Data add target-side deduplication to the NAS. This would give the best of both worlds, source-side dedupe for network bandwidth optimization and target-side dedupe for cross-server back-up storage optimization. As before, a balance has to be struck. Asking the NAS to do dedupe would require a more powerful and expensive NAS, potentially pulling it out of the SMB price range.

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