When it comes to data deduplication technology, the opportunities for resellers are clear, provided they present it and match it effectively to their customers' needs.
Data deduplication has moved from the "emerging technology" category to a fast-growing, bona fide market of its own. By marrying "dedupe" technology with disk, data protection has taken a significant stride forward by enabling disk to be as cost-effectively applied for backup as tape. Add replication technology to the mix and resellers can approach remote disaster recovery in an entirely different light, too.
Deduplication addresses deep-seated customer pain points and comes at a time when IT managers must store and protect large volumes of data and be able to recover it quickly. This represents a great opportunity for resellers, who can help customers understand deduplication and position it as it relates to their environment and requirements.
Resellers should, broadly speaking, group solutions into one of three types.
Standalone back-up software products dedupe as they back up; these can often replicate deduped data across the WAN. For backing up and moving back-up data across the WAN from smaller remote offices, these systems generally resonate well with customers in terms of price and performance. It should be noted that they may require replacement of existing back-up software.
By combining embedded deduplication and replication software with onboard processing power and storage, appliances offer high-performance and non-
disruptive installation. Generally seen as disk by back-up software, appliances might be too expensive for smaller remote offices, but their performance and scalability advantages position them strongly for datacentre applications and datacentre-based replication.
Virtual tape libraries enable large enterprises to alleviate back-up window timing issues by "caching" back-up data to disk before offloading to tape, with the added advantage of requiring few changes to back-up software. With the recent introduction of new deduplication capabilities, resellers can offer customers the speed of VTLs and delayed deduplication as an offline process.
Replication is usually not built into these solutions, which should generally be positioned at the high end of the price and performance scale.
To maximise sales, the channel should also be familiar with back-up versus restore performance (not always equal), varying compression rates as they relate to back-up policies and data types, data integrity and back-up verification capabilities, and required software licensing costs. Conducting pilot trials and presenting customer references and proof of concept can be essential to a successful sales process.
One of the fastest-growing storage technologies of recent years, data deduplication can be highly effective and the market for this technology is expected to be attractive for years to come.
Resellers that can effectively communicate and map solutions to users' needs can help their customers and themselves to benefit significantly from this technology.