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Dedupe's Big Week

Data Domain and Quantum get smacked around pretty good over how "in-line" their products really are. IBM bought Diligent. And deduplication-come-latelies ExaGrid and FalconStor add new gear to the mix. Geez, maybe there really is a market here.
Data Domain and Quantum get smacked around pretty good over how "in-line" their products really are. IBM bought Diligent. And deduplication-come-latelies ExaGrid and FalconStor add new gear to the mix. Geez, maybe there really is a market here.Not that there was ever much question about that. Data deduplication, which really began to hit its stride about 18 months ago, is a backup technique that jettisons redundant files so they're only backed up once. While vendors have gone a little nuts with the marketing and promised compression ratios as outrageous of 20-to-1, users report actual results in the neighborhood of 4-to-1 to 10-to-1, plenty good enough to justify shelling out for dedupe products.

Some worried that dedupe might have a similar trajectory -- and untimely demise -- as continuous data protection (CDP). The snapshotting technology was all the rage about the time dedupe hit the market, only to fizzle when too few users materialized for the sub-second replication technology that also was expensively priced. Recall CDP pioneer and VC darling Revivio limping along till it was acquired by Symantec for a reported $20 million, less than half its $55 million funding.

Dedupe doesn't come with gold-plated pricing; its timesaving benefits make it easier to cost-justify, and storage vendors have been quick to jump on its "green" qualities and lower electrical powering costs.

Whether the Diligent acquisition signals more deals and consolidation is not a sure thing. EMC so far has been content to sign dedupe partnerships with everyone under the sun. NetApp appears to be going the homegrown route. Hitachi Data Systems has a partnership with Diligent, and who knows where Hewlett-Packard is with its dedupe thinking. Just don't be too surprised when one of these top-tier vendors snaps up Data Domain or Quantum or maybe even FalconStor. That's not any wishful thinking or investor whispering -- just markets behaving like markets.