Most all of us are familiar with data deduplication as it applies to data redundancy in backup storage. As you know, there are countless avenues to deduplication, from software backup applications, to deduplication appliances, to cloud targets. And the insertion of deduplication capabilities into the software stack of primary storage has been available for years, or longer in some cases. Yet, due to overriding concerns around performance questions, we have found most IT shops still a bit leery of primary storage deduplication. 

One of primary storage dedupe’s most attractive pairings is with solid-state storage solutions. Flash and solid-state drives (SSDs) carry a price premium over spinning disk-based storage systems. Therefore, most organizations can only selectively apply SSD in their environments, in hybrid arrays or in limited capacity.

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The price point of SSDs and flash has furthered the need for primary storage dedupe. Here it serves as an economical way to obtain the performance and capacity requirements of non-volatile storage devices. When SSD suppliers’ cost per GB/TB falls closer in line with hard disk drive pricing, and paired with deduplication capabilities, they will capture a significant share of the primary storage market.

The benefits of primary data deduplication may not be as great as backup dedupe, as there will be less data redundancy. That said, it is still impressive as you will use less disk space and save power and cooling costs, while reducing size and space in the rack and data center. These must, however, comply with the No. 1 rule of primary storage and that is: Do not harm, loose or compromise my data – period. Saving capital on disk space should not cost you hours and data loss down the line.

Most all of the major storage hardware manufactures now offer a form of deduplication with their SAN, NAS and unified arrays. When done correctly, deduplication will significantly reduce the amount of unstructured block and file data on the product. Each manufacturer will achieve its data reduction via different avenues: file level deduplication, compression, variable block, block level deduplication – both post process and inline, sub-file level deduplication as well as hierarchal storage management (HSM) techniques.

I urge you to reach out to your CDW Account Manager and Solution Architect to help wade through the choices in the storage space. We adhere to the same rules you do, save capital, sure, but don’t harm my data! Learn more about the benefits of flash storage in BizTech magazine and on the CDW Solutions Blog.

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