Data Domain and Avamar – De-duplication from Different Points of View

The recent acquisition of Data Domain by EMC will surely give EMC a powerful advantage in the area of data de-duplication.  We’ve had some questions and statements from clients basically asking “isn’t that going to hurt the sales of Avamar?”.  So I’d thought I’d weigh in with my opinion on this, which in short is, I don’t think so.

For those of you not completely familiar with data de-duplication there are basically two flavors, target based and source based.  Target based meaning that all the data is sent to a device (Data Domain) and de-duplicated after it gets there.  Source based is the opposite, where the data is de-duplicated at the source before it is sent across the network (Avamar).  Typically the “well which is better?” question comes up and to that the typical “it depends.” answer comes flying back (what a surprise).  One size definitely doesn’t fit all for either of the products. 

In some situations where you may have lots of remote offices and would like to back them all up to one central location an Avamar solutions will probably be just what the doctor ordered.  You can dedup your data before you send it across your WAN and save your precious bandwidth.  In addition you save on the administrative resources required to backup your remote sites.

Now let’s look at a slightly different situation that involves your datacenter backup environment.  Suppose you have large volumes of database data that needs to be backed up and requires the faster restore times of a backup to disk environment.  This data already resides in your datacenter and doesn’t really need to traverse slower WAN connections.  You still can benefit from data de-duplication to reduce the size of your backups but this doesn’t necessarily have to happen at the source.  With a Data Domain solution you could easily achieve your goals and probably at a lower cost point than an Avamar solution.

In my opinion, for a lot of environments, a combination of both Avamar and Data Domain may provide the best solution in the end.  Use Avamar to achieve very high dedup ratios of your file data and other data that is relatively static or if you have remote office environments.  Use Data Domain to backup data that has higher change rates, like databases, and data that may never have to “leave” the datacenter.

I also think in the end it will come down to the cost of ownership.  Avamar is a very powerful product but not all companies can afford it.  Data Domain offers a simple, less expensive way to de-duplicate your data but it does have some downsides. 

I’ll try to do a side by side Avamar to Data Domain comparison in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned…..

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One Response to “Data Domain and Avamar – De-duplication from Different Points of View”

  1. Chad Sakac Says:

    and imagine if it wasn’t an either/or (it depends) answer, but that they were integrated 🙂

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