Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How are you being pitched data de-duplication?

Recently, I had interesting discussion with an IT professional about data de-duplication. It started with a very simple query on in-band and out-of-band data de-duplication that became a full-blown discussion and worth sharing on this blog.

Initially, I was taken back with the terms “in-band” and “out-of-band” being used to segment data de-duplication. I haven’t heard these terms since the days of storage virtualization. These terms were marketecture (nicer way to say marketing FUD) used by vendors trying to trip each other by pigeon-holing different solutions.

These terms leverage the long-held implicit connotation with in-band that anything inserted in the data path is not good for customer environment. And, true to the essence, this IT professional also assumed the same without really trying to understand various data de-duplication methods and their pros-and-cons. If in-band was so universally unacceptable, network switches would never have been introduced between server and storage. They are in data path, aren’t they?

Mute Debate: In-band vs. out-of-band

With storage virtualization, in-band referred to in data path and out-of-band referred to outside data path but typically in control path. With data de-duplication the boundaries between in-band and out-of-band are fuzzy unlike storage virtualization. In data de-duplication, all methods touch the data, the only difference is where and when this touch happens.

My suggestion was next time someone tells you that their solution is better because it is out-of-band, ask them how? And don’t accept an answer that doesn’t go deeper than “because it doesn’t sit in the data path.”

What are your pain points?

My next suggestion was not to lose sight of the pain points, you are trying to solve. If you are trying to decide how you want to go from A to B, your decision should start with mode of transportation not whether a car comes with V8 engine.

What are your pain points? Prioritize! There is no silver bullet.
  • Remote office / remote clients

  • Backup time window

  • Backup size footprint

  • Offsite backup

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