Data Deduplication, or Data Dedupe for short, is the process of preventing excessive data storage space occupied by duplicate blocks or full files of data. Expressed as a ratio, dedupe efforts can reduce data storage by as much as 100:1. That is a meaningful reduction when data storage, back-up and retrieval are inhibiting realities presented to IT professionals.
If the old idiom, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” is true, then its counterpart that a lot of data can be fatal may also be true.
Whenever there are blocks of data, and even entire sets of files, that contain identical data and would normally be stored and backed-up intact, storage volume is pressed to accommodate the volume when data storage means collections of terabytes (TB) of storage.
Here’s how data dedupe works in a simplified format: If you have a data set that is “ABCDE12345” and another data set “ABCDE” along with additional data “n”, and a third data set “12345” with additional data “n1,” the additional iterations of “ABCDE” and “12345” would not be stored as duplicate blocks of the original data set. Instead, these iterations would have a reference link to the original data set while keeping their unique data, “n” and “n1.”
Without data dedupe, not only is the storage capacity stressed, but retrieval time can be slowed to a crawl when speed may be the critical factor in becoming and remaining competitive in business. Fatality is real in business, but whoever thought that its cause may be a glut of duplicate data?
Not to Fear; Data Dedupe is also a Reality, and here’s some of the benefits:
1. Data dedupe is not just compression of files. Compression is an effective data storage strategy, but it does not prevent redundancy of data storage. Identical data can be compressed just as easily as unique data. Compression is not monitoring for duplication and will still result in excessive data storage.
2. Original storage, backup and retrieval of data are accomplished more quickly with data dedupe because each system is not encumbered with duplication of data already on file. If these activities normally slow the entire system operation, such as if backup is performed during regular business hours, data dedupe will recognize blocks of duplicate data and link it in real time.
3. Whatever storage media is used – disks, tape, etc. – incur savings because fewer supplies are used.
4. If data storage and retrieval are at different sites, server load and bandwidth use are reduced.
5. Data compression and data encryption can still both be used, if needed. However, the order of application of these activities is critical to efficiency: If all methods are used, data dedupe must occur first, then compression, then encryption.
6. It has business-to-business (B2B) advantages in a vendor/producer environment because if one vendor has data dedupe technology and another does not, the first will have a competitive advantage even if in all other respects, the two vendors are similar. The costs of doing business with other businesses are real and draining if it is a direct draw off of the bottom line.