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Does anyone really want to embed dedupe code?

Ocarina and Permabit's prospects limited

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Comment Which storage OEMs will embed Ocarina or Permabit deduplication code in their products?

Deduplication, or data reduction as it's becoming known, involves scanning data, whether in block or file, and replacing repeated block groups or chunks with pointers.

Typically this is done with backed up file data, where there is lots of repeated data, by specific appliances such as Virtual Tape Libraries or straight disk-to-disk backup systems. NetApp has developed its A-SIS technology and this works below the file level and has proven to be terrific when removing redundant data from masses of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure images.

That means dedupe can be used for primary data. A new data reduction ethos is emerging which says data could be, even should be, stored in a reduced form throughout its lifecycle, regenerated only when needed by an application. Ocarina and Permabit have each developed embeddable deduplication software which can be integrated in a storage OEM's storage array controlling software and so reduce the amount of data held in the arrays without impacting array performance.

Both say they are talking seriously to major storage OEMs, with Ocarina's recent announcement including a supportive quote from Dell.

However, The Register has heard that Permabit's possible OEM deals for its Albireo deduplication software may be slightly more advanced than Ocarina's.

Permabit's marketing VP, Mike Ivanov, said: "We can confirm multiple design wins and signed partners now in implementation. Based upon partners' product plans, we are told the first Albireo-enabled products will be introduced later in 2010. They will run circles around any solution currently available in the market."

He added, with reference to Ocarina's dedupe announcement: "There has been a lot of reactive activity this week, It's easy to put a out a press release making claims, but our technology is mature and being delivered today and the partners, the analysts, and our third-party performance validation are real."

Who are the prospective OEMs for Ocarina and Permabit?

We can rule out NetApp, and also EMC - it has a Viper team developing its own data reduction technology.

HP is not a prospect for Ocarina or Permabit neither. We have been told by a knowledgeable person that HP had a reselling deal with Avamar in 2003, and apparently an OEM deal in 2005. This was abruptly cancelled when HP decided to develop its own deduplication product. Avamar told HP it was a very difficult technology to develop, but nevertheless HP went ahead. In the following years HP would talk to other deduplication and compression suppliers about deduplication and compression technology but the talks never achieved anything, the thought being that HP was perhaps trying to validate its own efforts.

Now HP has announced its StoreOnce second-generation data reduction technology. An HP Labs spokesperson said: "The whole of the dedupe code is developed by HP in Bristol and … we do not license any third party code to perform the functionality of dedupe in the StoreOnce products."

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