There is a growing backup kerfuffle between EMC and HP about their deduplication appliances. Basically, the arguments come down to “my box is faster than yours.” If you want the details, Chris Mellor at The Register has them all for you.
I have a rather different approach to this problem. To me, the question of “who has the fastest deduplication appliance?” is a medieval argument, like bickering over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I can easily pronounce a winner in this fight: nobody. They both lose.
Backup appliances are a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. Backup is an end-to-end process, and it starts at the application server, goes through the network, into the backup systems themselves, and then – at the very end – onto the backup target. To think you can fix a systemic problem by replacing only the last piece of it (e.g. replacing tape with a dedupe disk system) is looking at the problem in a very limited way. It’s like saying you can fix a broken down old car just by putting new tires on it, even though the engine is blown.
In fact, one might address EMC and HP’s deduplication argument with a simple LOLCat.
If you want all the details on why deduplication devices alone are not a solution to your backup woes, you can download our whitepaper on “Beyond Deduplication.”
Let’s stop arguing over how many backups can dance on the head of a pin, and begin to look at the full picture.