|By Juan Orlandini||
|November 30, 2011 10:00 AM EST||
Nearly every enterprise can benefit from deduplication. Business data has been growing exponentially. Routine backups of that data have become too costly or simply ineffective. Deduplication can help by reducing the cost of primary and secondary storage. Essentially, limited resources are made much more effective and efficient.
What most organizations don't realize is how much deduplication technology has matured. Originally, deduplication was used as an alternative to tape for backup and disaster recovery. This user case continues today and has become one of the predominant solutions for data protection. As it has matured, it has begun to evolve from being a point solution at the end of a backup chain (the target) to a player in every step of the backup process: at the client side, at the network side, at the media server side, as well as at the target device. Backup and storage vendors are implementing this technology in all aspects of their solutions.
Storage vendors have also recognized the efficiencies available by deduping data. In addition to implementing space efficiency technologies in their storage arrays, they're offering deduplication as a way to both improve available capacity and optimize data transmission when replicating data.
With these advancements it's possible to leverage deduplication to solve a variety of storage problems. In the data protection space, IT departments face increasing pressure to offer faster backups, even faster restores, and to do them with fewer resources than in the past. Data protection solutions that offer deduplication can, at the very least, significantly reduce the cost of protection to disk - often by more than a 20x reduction.
However, and perhaps more important, recovering lost information from these solutions is typically a lot faster than legacy tape solutions. A properly designed data protection solution that leverages deduplication can often either completely eliminate tape, or relegate tape to an archival medium. In addition, many companies using such a solution are able to replicate all of their backup data from one site to another. This eliminates the need for third-party tape handling and greatly improves the recoverability of the enterprise's data.
For enterprises that employ a replication strategy, deduplication can offer significant efficiencies depending on the data being replicated. If the data has a great deal of repetition or commonality, dedupe can offer tremendous boosts in performance. However, if the data is not very repetitious, deduplication will not offer as great an improvement. For most replication types, enterprises can expect a 2x to 4x reduction in bandwidth requirements.
More and more, storage vendors are offering deduplication on primary storage. Primary storage dedupe is a good idea when the data that is being stored has a lot of commonality - in other words, similar data being stored in one location. A good example of this is virtual environments. In such a situation, virtual machines are being stored as big files. Each has a lot in common - the operating system, unused blank space and, in many case, the applications themselves. Disk devices that can do primary storage deduplication would be able to reduce all of this data to a single instance. Regardless of the hypervisor used - VMware, HyperV and so on - there is a huge amount of commonality between each of the virtual machine instances. In fact, it's common to be able to reduce storage requirements in virtual environments by over 80% through deduplication.
Other primary environments, however, don't present a lot of common data, and thus will not benefit from deduplication. What's more, the process of uncovering which blocks of data have been seen before is expensive in both compute resources and I/O bandwidth. Both of those are at a premium in storage array controllers. A knowledgeable designer will typically look at the application type, the data type, and the resources available on the storage array that's doing the dedupe. Once all of these variables are factored together, it's possible to decide if it makes sense to use deduplication on primary storage.
Technique Pros and Cons
While there's a lot to consider when designing a deduplication strategy, a lot of the decisions are fairly nuanced. For example, the two most common techniques for performing deduplication are hashing and delta differencing. Backup appliances use one or the other, or in some instances a hybrid of the two. Which is the preferred technique depends on who you're talking to.
At a high level, hashing and delta differencing are very similar. The net effect of both is that common patterns of data are reduced and you end up with a greatly reduced storage requirement. The difference is in how you determine if there is a common pattern of data. With hashing implementations, the vendors run small blocks of the data through a mathematical algorithm and compute whether they have seen the same data before. This computation theoretically does not offer 100% certainty whether or not a piece of data has been seen before. However, statistically it is almost a certainty - so much so that you'd be more likely to win the mega lottery - dozens of times in a row. The consensus is that this is good enough, and most vendors have used hashing to develop their solutions.
For reasons involving technical implementation, performance tradeoffs, and arguably higher reliability, some vendors have chosen to develop their solutions through delta differencing. With this technology, each small piece of data is actually compared, bit for bit, with everything that has been seen before. This guarantees that the data has or has not already been seen.
Regardless of the implementation used, the odds are more in favor of external failures s power outage, water damage, satellite falling on the data center - than on technologies that determine how data bits are identified as the same. In most deduplication designs it's more important to focus on the features and functionality of the overall solution, rather than this specific level of detail.
Another topic has to do with the timing of deduplication. Inline deduplication processes dedupe backup data in real-time, as it's received at the front end of the Virtual Tape Library (VTL) or Disk-to-Disk (D2D) device. Post-process methods, on the other hand, remove duplicate data after the backup has completed. Regardless of which method is used, the same amount of work is being done.
The question of whether it makes more sense to do inline or post-process deduplication can best be answered by, "it depends." Regardless of when you do it, deduplication is inherently an expensive thing to do in terms of CPU and I/O resources. Choosing between inline and post-process is essentially choosing between paying for the service upfront or after. With some vendors' technologies, you have no choice. You have to use either inline or post. With others you get the choice, although it's something of a black art to figure out when to best use one versus the other.
Typically it comes down to optimizing the speed of ingest (how fast you get the data into the device) with rehydration (how fast you get the data back), and striking a balance between the two. Your best recommendation is to work with someone who has earned the scar tissue from using both these technologies.
Achieving Maximum Efficiency
Now that deduplication is so prevalent, the challenge most of our customers face is identifying which one to use and when. This is particularly difficult since each vendor unequivocally states that their solution is better than everyone else's and is the "one true way." In reality, there are no simple black and white answers and each solution's merits must be weighed individually.
To develop the best possible deduplication solution, it's important to first determine the problem you're trying to solve. Conduct an internal analysis, and then approach a partner who has an unbiased approach to solving the issue at hand. The right partner can help you sort through the hype and identify solutions and best practices that will align with your business needs.
The benefits of deduplication are many. Capital expenses are greatly reduced; you need fewer disks, less tape, and less bandwidth to accomplish the same task. If used appropriately, deduplication will also improve your operational efficiencies, which you can then leverage to reduce your operational expenses.
Simply put, deduplication gives you the ability to do more with less. Whether in networking, primary storage, backup or for data archival protection, a well-designed deduplication solution can help you mitigate the challenges of big data - and keep your IT landscape lean, fast and efficient.
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
Jul. 2, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,966
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
Jul. 2, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,214
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
Jul. 2, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,555
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Jul. 2, 2015 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,022
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Jul. 1, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,236
Conferences agendas. Event navigation. Specific tasks, like buying a house or getting a car loan. If you've installed an app for any of these things you've installed what's known as a "disposable mobile app" or DMA. Apps designed for a single use-case and with the expectation they'll be "thrown away" like brochures. Deleted until needed again. These apps are necessarily small, agile and highly volatile. Sometimes existing only for a short time - say to support an event like an election, the Wor...
Jul. 1, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,679
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Jul. 1, 2015 02:21 PM EDT Reads: 703
Summer is finally here and it’s time for a DevOps summer vacation. From San Francisco to New York City, our top summer conferences list is going to continuously deliver you to the summer destinations of your dreams. These DevOps parties are hitting all the hottest summer trends with Microservices, Agile, Continuous Delivery, DevSecOps, and even Continuous Testing. Move over Kanye. These are the top 5 Summer DevOps Conferences of 2015.
Jul. 1, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,044
Sharding has become a popular means of achieving scalability in application architectures in which read/write data separation is not only possible, but desirable to achieve new heights of concurrency. The premise is that by splitting up read and write duties, it is possible to get better overall performance at the cost of a slight delay in consistency. That is, it takes a bit of time to replicate changes initiated by a "write" to the read-only master database. It's eventually consistent, and it'...
Jul. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,718
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,056
Cloud Migration Management (CMM) refers to the best practices for planning and managing migration of IT systems from a legacy platform to a Cloud Provider through a combination professional services consulting and software tools. A Cloud migration project can be a relatively simple exercise, where applications are migrated ‘as is’, to gain benefits such as elastic capacity and utility pricing, but without making any changes to the application architecture, software development methods or busine...
Jul. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,929
Data center models are changing. A variety of technical trends and business demands are forcing that change, most of them centered on the explosive growth of applications. That means, in turn, that the requirements for application delivery are changing. Certainly application delivery needs to be agile, not waterfall. It needs to deliver services in hours, not weeks or months. It needs to be more cost efficient. And more than anything else, it needs to be really, dc infra axisreally, super focus...
Jul. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,995
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
Jul. 1, 2015 09:32 AM EDT Reads: 705
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction. ...
Jul. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 903
Many people recognize DevOps as an enormous benefit – faster application deployment, automated toolchains, support of more granular updates, better cooperation across groups. However, less appreciated is the journey enterprise IT groups need to make to achieve this outcome. The plain fact is that established IT processes reflect a very different set of goals: stability, infrequent change, hands-on administration, and alignment with ITIL. So how does an enterprise IT organization implement change...
Jun. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,824
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations migh...
Jun. 28, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,053
At DevOps Summit NY there’s been a whole lot of talk about not just DevOps, but containers, IoT, and microservices. Sessions focused not just on the cultural shift needed to grow at scale with a DevOps approach, but also made sure to include the network ”plumbing” needed to ensure success as applications decompose into the microservice architectures enabling rapid growth and support for the Internet of (Every)Things.
Jun. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,924
Mashape is bringing real-time analytics to microservices with the release of Mashape Analytics. First built internally to analyze the performance of more than 13,000 APIs served by the mashape.com marketplace, this new tool provides developers with robust visibility into their APIs and how they function within microservices. A purpose-built, open analytics platform designed specifically for APIs and microservices architectures, Mashape Analytics also lets developers and DevOps teams understand w...
Jun. 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,954
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud envir...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,264
Sumo Logic has announced comprehensive analytics capabilities for organizations embracing DevOps practices, microservices architectures and containers to build applications. As application architectures evolve toward microservices, containers continue to gain traction for providing the ideal environment to build, deploy and operate these applications across distributed systems. The volume and complexity of data generated by these environments make monitoring and troubleshooting an enormous chall...
Jun. 26, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,568