Danny Lim, Head of Platform Products, Fujitsu Singapore
Data&StorageAsean: What is the difference between deduplication and other Data Reduction technologies such as compression?
Danny Lim: Both deduplication and compression are technologies to reduce the stored data capacity in a storage machine and to lengthen the life span of the SSD by decreasing the time to run write-processes.
The deduplication process checks if the incoming data has duplicated data as compared to stored data. If duplicated data is found, the data block is erased and only Meta-data, which takes up very little storage capacity in the disk, is left behind.
The compression process makes the size of incoming data smaller by applying specific algorithms. For example, if a specific data appears continuously, the data is stored after it has been converted into a simpler form that takes up smaller data capacity. (For example, an image with incoming data “AAAAAAAA” can be converted to “A x8”).
Data&StorageAsean: Why do the use cases we see for deduplication seem to be limited to backup appliances and all flash arrays?
Danny Lim: In many cases, backup appliances store a lot of duplicated data when they take many generations of backups of the same system. In this case, the deduplication process works well.
And yes, all flash array is suitable for deduplication processes since it retains sufficient performance for the end user, even if the process consumes hardware resources.
Data&StorageAsean: Are there different approaches to deduplication and if so what are the benefits and downsides of each?
Danny Lim: Some backup software also offer deduplication features. The software will back up the data after the deduplication process is applied. That offers the benefit of reducing the traffic data volume, although it requires the backup server to have sufficient hardware resources to run the process.
Data&StorageAsean: Is deduplication technology relevant as companies virtualize and cloud enable?
Danny Lim: Yes, because the environments have a lot of OS data as virtual servers and servers with the same type of OS (e.g. Windows Server) contain a lot of duplicated data.
Data&StorageAsean: Are there any unique features you would like to share about your own deduplication offerings?
Danny Lim: Customer can enjoy high flexibility to use deduplication and compression features based on their applications’ preferences.
Fujitsu All Flash Array ETERNUS AF and Hybrid Storage System ETERNUS DX present customers the options to turn on deduplication and compression features that best suits their business requirements. For example, if customers would like to prioritise disk efficiency, they can turn ON the features, or turn them off if they would like to prioritise performance instead. Customers can also choose to selectively turn each function level ON or OFF based on their requirements (e.g. Only Compression is ON, but Deduplication is OFF).
Furthermore, these flexibilities can be applied at the application (storage volume) level in a storage system.
These days, requirements from applications will vary. Fujitsu believes that it is important to go beyond speed and efficiency to also offer flexible solutions to our customers.