When one looks at today’s lineup of software products that one would classify as cloud data protection, one might assume that every such product natively offers source side deduplication. If you do, you would be wrong. Software such as HPE Data Protector does not natively offer source-side deduplication but its reasons for opting out make sense once one takes a deeper look at the product.
Currently DCIG is conducting research into cloud data protection in anticipation of releasing Buyer’s Guides related to that topic. HPE Data Protector is one such product that offers cloud data protection through integration with Microsoft Azure as well as its own HPE Helion cloud storage offering. However, in researching Data Protector, I was a bit surprised to learn that Data Protector does not natively offer source side deduplication.
Now, please note the nuance of what I am saying here. HPE Data Protector DOES support source side deduplication. To get this functionality, one must purchase either an HPE StoreOnce or a Dell EMC Data Domain deduplicating backup appliance. Each of these products offers an agent that then does client or source side deduplication.
The upside/logic of this approach? While HPE does not publicly share its rationale, HPE Data Protector is a cloud data protection solution targeted at enterprise environments. As such, my guess is that HPE has made a calculated bet that these large environments will already have one or more HPE StoreOnce or Data Domain deduplicating backup appliances. If they do, then it only makes sense to use the source side deduplication software provided by these appliances, DD Boost in the case of Data Domain products and Catalyst in the case of HPE StoreOnce products.
By relying up Catalyst or DD Boost to do source side deduplication, it alleviates the need for HPE to develop and manage a deduplication feature as part of Data Protector. Using this software also takes advantage of the data that has already been deduplicated on these respective appliances and should help to improve deduplication ratios while minimizing the amount of data sent over networks.
The downside to this approach is that companies cannot perform source side deduplication using HPE Data Protector without first deploying either a Data Domain or StoreOnce deduplicating backup appliance. As such, this approach may effectively leave HPE Data Protector on the outside looking in when it comes to having any success in these types of environments. But these environments are largely small and midsized businesses and/or small enterprises anyway which is not HPE Data Protector’s target market.
It may come as no surprise to anyone that many of yesterday’s backup software products have evolved to become today’s cloud data protection solutions. However, as this software evolves, products are following different road maps. This has led to unexpected turns such as a product of such stature as HPE Data Protector following a path that did not entail it natively offering its own source side deduplication feature. But as one looks at the enterprise market that Data Protector looks to address and the challenges that the players in that market face, HPE’s decision to deliver source side deduplication via either its own Catalyst product or EMC’s DD Boost actually may make more sense than trying to develop and offer its own proprietary deduplication feature.