Making Deduplication with Replication Affordable for the SMB

Brad Jensen, CEO
Electronic Storage Corporation – LaserVault

SDS – Software Defined Storage offers a new way to provision storage that doesn’t require a purpose-built data appliance, such as the ones from EMC, NETAPP, ExaGrid, and other major vendors.

Instead, SDS uses ‘white boxes’ which are general purpose servers with special storage management software that gives them capabilities similar to the big-name dedicated boxes. This gives SMBs and Fortune 500 companies, etc. the ability to have many of the benefits of the brand-name products at a lower cost of entry and maintenance. One of the features offered by some SDS providers is deduplication.

Deduplication is the technology that removes duplicate information from a data stream as it is written to disk, and then re-inflates the data stream as it is read from the disk. This can save tremendous amounts of space in highly duplicated data.

Our company, Electronic Storage Corporation, makes and sells a backup product called LaserVault UBD, that transparently replaces tape in the backup process. People use UBD to increase their backup throughput, while replacing tape media with disk-based tape images. UBD uses the tape backup software they already have, so it is a simple replacement.

Our UBD works with any NAS-enabled product or deduplication appliance. A number of our customers have plugged in their UBD system to their own deduplication appliance or NAS. This results in the ability to store 30, 50, 70 or even more backups in the space formally occupied by a single backup copy.

The other wonderful thing about deduplication is that the incremental space taken by a new copy is so small, it becomes feasible to replicate that copy to another deduplication appliance at a remote location.

Several years ago, Microsoft Corporation added deduplication as a free feature to their Windows 2012 Server Standard and Datacenter editions. This means that a person wanting to use deduplication for their backups only needs to create a windows volume with deduplication enabled and they have it.

The only thing missing from Windows Deduplication is the replication capability.

We have found that there are many customers searching for a lower cost option for using deduplication and replication for their backup copies. This is true whether they are using UBD, or one of the many Windows or Linux backup products.

In order to make Windows Deduplication useful for our customers, we have created a new product called Replacador that performs the deduplication-aware replication function for Windows Deduplication.

Replacador copies only new data and changes from one deduplication volume to another, without reflating the data en route. One ‘master’ deduplication volume can have numerous replicated copies, such as to a DR site over the internet, to an external disk drive or array, and to a Microsoft Azure virtual server in the cloud.

Backup jobs can run full speed, because Microsoft deduplicates the data after it is written to disk. The process can be run on-demand or as a scheduled task.  Replacador makes it possible to use a standard Windows Server as SDS for backups.

Not every company needs or can afford a big box deduplication solution. By using free Windows Deduplication with Replacador they can now get a low cost backup deduplication/replication solution that has the equivalent functionality to better protect their data.

Brad Jensen, CEO
Electronic Storage Corporation – LaserVault