It’s not often the EMC markitecture spiel breaks from the well worn rut. But Frank Slootman talking straight about the newly formed business unit at EMC is refreshing after years of EMC changing the deduplication party-line, spinning vague technical slants on product lines, siloed sales teams pushing all kit in all places, and generally confusing customers about their capabilities with deduplication.
In 2007, the stories of ‘our deduplication is in development’ where trumped in 2008 with the Quantum partnership announcement, and once again with the Data Domain acquisition in 2009. Finally, someone has a leadership position and is potentially leading a breakdown of siloed product lines (I like to hope). Frank may not have a lot to loose, but regardless I like his style and hope it works out for the sake of a lot of good technologies and people who build them.
Some key aspects I happen to agree with from the recent interview:
- ‘Let Disk Library be a VTL’ – Hallelujah- Franken-VTL will be no more. Bolting on an inline deduplication device behind a high-performance VTL with 4 times the throughput just didn’t make sense. This also will clarify to existing CDL/EDL customers there are 2 simple choices: High-speed non-deduplicated VTL – use the EDL/FalconSTOR. Deduplicated disk, use Data Domain.
- ‘Data Domain plays in the core, Avamar at the edge’- Absolutely. Both are fine products but have a different role and capability in the enterprise. Avamar can be beautiful for remote sites and relatively small backup payloads and supports a wide range of topologies for replication. Data Domain integrates with existing software infrastructure and scales in a completely different way (more suitable to the enterprise core).
- A hard-line regarding Commvault – Agree. In fact, for a company that has grown into the enterprise market with a solid product known to actually work as advertised, I’m skeptical of the aggressive play to take down the target-based deduplication market with software-only deduplication architecture. Sure, it works, but just because my car is drivable doesn’t put me in pole position for Indy. Where are the performance specifications and benchmarks, where are the design guidelines, and most importantly how do you break the cardinal rule of mixing heavy I/O and compute workload on media servers and magically whip the technologies that have struggled to scale deduplication compute and metadata scaling into the enterprise after 6-10 years of R&D and field experience? Also, why bilk customers who want to write to a non-Commvault disk device, when Symantec already tried that and royally enraged their customer base?
- An integrated line of business for backup solutions – Makes sense. When you see Avamar being positioned in the field for enterprise core backup, 3D3000’s pushed in one account, EDL’s in another, Networker’s solid development roadmap vs. perpetual field support challenges, and Data Protection Advisor being pimped like a utility, but not strategically positioned, you really have to wonder with all the guns blazing is there anyone really steering the boat here?
Deduplication Straight Talk from inside the Sausage Factory…IBM- time to take some notes on this one.