NetApp gets in the dedupe game

* NearStore R200 dedupes

Network Appliance, a company new to the deduplication market but not new to storage, this week is unveiling software for its NearStore R200 and FAS systems that deduplicates all types of data being stored on them.

This is a pretty handy capability, which has been previously applied to only the data stored on virtual tape libraries to reduce storage capacity. In NetApp’s case, its A-SIS (Advanced-Single Instance Storage) works on Network File System (NFS) and Common Internet File System (CIFS) files. It has been used in SnapVault for Symantec’s NetBackup product for the past two years.

NetApp’s A-SIS deduplication is done in post-processing mode, in which data is deduplicated on disk before it is stored. It is integrated with NetApp’s Data ONTAP 7.2 operating system and the company’s WAFL file system. WAFL saves only changed blocks of data when subsequent storage operations are performed for the same client, providing the SIS in single-instance storage.

A-SIS only stores unique data blocks in the volume and creates a small amount of additional metadata. Each block of data is identified by a digital signature that is compared to other signatures in the volume. If blocks match, the duplicate block is discarded. According to NetApp’s claims, there is an approximate 1% hit on write performance incurred in the deduplication process.

NetApp is working to make A-SIS work with transaction-based database data.

The deduplication capability is managed by a command line interface (CLI). Deduplication can be scheduled to occur on specific days and times or performed manually via the CLI.

Flexible volumes targeted to be de-duped are limited in size to 4TB on a NearStore, 2TB on a FAS3050 and 1TB on a FAS3020.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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