While there is some interesting stuff going on in the block area, let's leave that until tomorrow because most of the effort for now seems to be focused on file systems.
The file system guys are much the same that we have discussed before. We are seeing automation at the global file system level; BlueArc has it now and OnStor is right around the corner. NetApp is still MIA but should get closer next year.
Then there is the whole dedupe shootout. For a technology that is supposed to be "just a feature," people sure do get passionate about it. NetApp seems to be making inroads with its dedupe strategy but is really focusing on what I would call semi-active storage. Data Domain continues to move up the chain out of the backup world with its recent partnership with Mimosa Systems to use its systems for archiving. Then there's Riverbed, which has preannounced (by about six months) an in-line data deduplication device. HiFn also is in the game, announcing dedupe on a card with speeds that could make it practical for the user to build their own deduping NAS.
I have some concern on where all this rush to get rid of primary storage leaves the user. All these solutions are going to cause confusion. I think there are two easy things you can do right now. First, if you have a NetApp environment, using its dedupe technology is certainly worth a try; the price is right: free.
Second, NetApp account or not, I would look at real-time inline compression devices like those from Storwize. They are simple to implement, work on CIFS and NFS shares, and as far as we can determine have little or no impact on performance while reducing capacity requirements by a factor of 2:1 or 3:1 almost overnight.
While we're busy reducing the amount of primary storage, let's not forget solid-state drives. Even in tough economic times, SSD will have a role to play. In fact, this minimizing of the primary storage area plays right into SSD's hands. The more optimized your environment, the more sense SSD makes.
For more on primary storage deduplication, please attend our upcoming Webcast: "Demystifying Primary Storage Data Reduction".
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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.