I spent some time talking to Dell recently about data deduping: it appears the company is moving into that market.
Backing up has always been hard to do. Copying stuff from one place to another, whether you're an individual or a huge enterprise, it never gets any easier. Part of the problem is the huge and growing volume of data that needs to be stored: keeping up with it all is the problem, and buying more storage is like pushing more wardrobes into your house to store a collection of clothes that grows by a new suit every day. Sooner or later, you start to lose track, and wonder if there isn't a better way.
Data deduping is among the storage industry's latest wheezes to reduce that volume of data -- Dell infrastructure consultant Paul Kaeley reckons you can reduce the volume of data to be backed up by up to 20:1.
The process works by checking whether a block of data has already been backed up and, if so, doesn't back it up again. Imagine a room full of people running Windows. Each PC's hard disk contains an identical copy of the software. Rather than backing up each one, you backup one copy and save pointers to that data where the backup would otherwise be.
Dell's consulting services are now offering this service -- and the company is also selling a custom version of one of its backup servers, in the shape of the PowerVault DL2000, which is powered by Simpana 8.0, made by deduping specialist CommVault.
Be assured of one thing: hardware vendor Dell is unlikely to be offering it as a virtual appliance...