Don’t get Duped by DeDupe

BusinessWeek sent me a whitepaper called “Don’t Get Duped by Dedupe“. Being an IT manager on the prowl for a new backup solution, every vendor I have talked with insists I have to have dedupe no matter what I say. So when I received the email to download this white paper, I felt they might be speaking directly to me. Unfortunately, this was a poorly veiled attempt for one vendor to bash other dedupe solutions and promote their own, but I loved the title and stole it for this post. Dedupe is cool and I believe it can help some people, but for others it’s a solution looking for a problem. You’re not an idiot to stay with tape. Here are some good reasons.

  • The Dedupe technology is new and therefore immature; the numbers aren’t as good as they say – check out this Infosmack podcast and think about the track record of all new “latest and greatest” products
  • The technology is new and therefore expensive; manufacturers, distributors, and VARs are getting high margins, so of course they will push it
  • Many files will not benefit from compression and dedupe technologies, such as graphics
  • Tape is not dead. It’s not sexy – even quite boring – but so what. As IT managers, our job is to serve the business, not play with new toys. For archiving and meeting SOX requirements, it is by far the best solution. With LTO-4 and now LTO-5,which can hold 1.5 TB naively and stream at 140 MBps, it remains a viable primary backup platform.Check out The Clipper Group’s “The Truth About Tape – Nine Myths to Reconsider“, which while moves too far on the other side of the spectrum, has some valid arguments.

Disk-based backup and dedupe certainly has its place and it will gain more and more marketshare as they mature and backup windows get smaller. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all game. VARs need to listen to their customers and quit obsessing about their margins.