When it comes to data de-duplication technology the opportunities for resellers are clear, provided they present it and match it to their customers' needs in an effective manner.
Data de-duplication has conclusively moved from the emerging technology category to a fast-growing, bona-fide market of its own. By marrying de-dupe technology with disk, data protection has taken a significant stride forward by enabling disk to be as cost effectively applied for backup as tape. Add replication technology to the mix and resellers can approach remote disaster recovery in an entirely different light too.
De-duplication addresses deep-seated customer pain points and comes at a time when IT managers must store and protect large volumes of data - and get serious about their ability to recover it quickly. This represents a great opportunity for resellers, since customers need them to properly understand de-duplication and ultimately position it as it relates to their environment and requirements.
Resellers looking to position de-duplication technology should, broadly speaking, group solutions into one of three types:
1) Software-only offerings: standalone backup software products that de-dupe as they backup; these can often replicate de-duped data across the WAN. For backing up and moving backup data across the WAN from smaller remote offices these solutions generally resonate quite well with customers in terms of price and performance. It should be noted that they may require replacement of existing backup software.
2) A ppliance-based approaches: by combining embedded de-duplication and replication software with on-board processing power and storage, appliances offer high-performance and non-disruptive installation. Generally seen as disk by backup software, appliances might be too expensive for smaller remote offices, but their performance and scalability advantages position them strongly for data centre applications and data centre-based replication.
3) Virtual Tape Libraries (VTL) augmentation: VTL enable large enterprises to alleviate backup window timing issues by caching backup data to disk before offloading to tape, with the added advantage of requiring few changes to backup software. With the recent introduction of new de-duplication capabilities, resellers can offer customers the speed of VTLs and delayed de-duplication as an offline process. Replication is usually not built into these solutions, which should generally be positioned at the high-end of the price and performance scale.
To maximise sales, the channel should also be familiar with backup versus restore performance (not always equal), varying compression rates as they relate to backup policies and data types, data integrity and backup verification capabilities, and required software licensing costs (for either disk backup or VTL licenses from the backup software vendor). Conducting pilot trials and presenting customer references and proof of concept can be essential to a successful sales process.
One of the fastest-growing storage technologies of recent years, data de-duplication can be tremendously effective and the market for this technology is expected to be highly attractive for years to come. Resellers who can effectively communicate and map solutions to end-users' needs can help both their customers and themselves to significantly benefit from this technology.
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