The benefits of software-based deduplication for data optimisation

Issue 6 2023 Infrastructure

Byron Horn-Botha.

As organisations grapple with ever-expanding volumes of information, the need for streamlined and effective data-management solutions has become crystal clear, hence the need for software-based deduplication. This relatively new approach promises to revolutionise data optimisation.

By intelligently identifying and eliminating redundant data, software-based deduplication relieves organisations of the need to store redundant information multiple times, thus reducing storage overheads and minimising costs.

The technology offers several advantages. Unlike hardware-based deduplication, which relies on specialised hardware appliances, software-based deduplication harnesses the power of existing server resources and computational capabilities. It enables businesses to integrate deduplication into their IT infrastructure without additional investments. Furthermore, software-based deduplication’s adaptability ensures that companies can fine-tune it to match the unique demands of various applications, workloads, and storage environments.

The benefits of software-based deduplication extend beyond its ease of implementation. By leveraging the processing power of servers, it can achieve higher levels of deduplication efficiency and accuracy, resulting in greater data reduction ratios. We have seen a 20-to-1 data reduction in some instances. Moreover, software-based solutions can be updated and upgraded more efficiently, which ensures that the deduplication technology keeps pace with evolving data-management practices.

Another key difference is that hardware-based deduplication works only with specific and specialised hardware from the same vendor, which makes it expensive to scale. Software deduplication is vendor- and hardware-agnostic, making it a more cost-effective option.

Real-time backup brings many benefits

Regarding backup processes, software-based deduplication introduces a dynamic and real-time approach. As data is ingested or transferred, the software rapidly analyses and identifies redundant data blocks, eliminating the need to store identical information multiple times.

Source-side processing significantly reduces the amount of unique data transferred over the wire. This streamlined process minimises storage requirements and significantly reduces the strain on network bandwidth. As a result, companies can drastically shorten the backup window—the time it takes to complete a backup operation—ultimately enhancing the recovery point objective (RPO).

Software-based data deduplication can also enable restore efficiency by leveraging synthetic full backups. When used in tandem, data deduplication eliminates duplicate data and minimises storage space, while synthetic full backup leverages this efficiency by creating comprehensive point-in-time backups with reduced redundancy. This combined approach streamlines restoration operations and further enhances data recovery capabilities. This, in turn, results in even more efficient and cost-effective backup processes.

What to look for in a software-based solution

When selecting a software-based deduplication solution, organisations should weigh several factors. The first is compatibility. The solution should seamlessly integrate with existing IT infrastructure, including backup software, storage systems, and networking components. Next are scalability and flexibility. The solution should accommodate future data growth without compromising performance or efficiency. It should also support physical and virtual environments, allowing for greater agility and adaptability to evolving technology requirements.

Data security capabilities must also be top of mind. An ideal software-based deduplication solution incorporates advanced encryption mechanisms to safeguard data in transit and at rest. It should include encrypting deduplicated data segments and any associated metadata, preventing unauthorised access and preserving the confidentiality of stored information.

Beyond encryption, the solution should include authentication mechanisms to prevent unauthorised personnel from altering or extracting data, which ensures that only authorised staff can initiate, monitor or modify data. The solution should also offer audit trails and comprehensive logging capabilities, enabling organisations to track who accessed the data, when, and for what purpose – this aids in detecting potential breaches.

As the ever-growing tide of data threatens to overwhelm storage capacities, software-based deduplication offers an answer. This innovative technology optimises storage utilisation, streamlines data retrieval, and strengthens recovery capabilities by systematically identifying and eliminating redundant data. As the volume of data continues to grow and evolve, software-based deduplication promises to play a vital role in ensuring operational efficiency and safeguarding critical information.

For more information, contact Arcserve Southern Africa, Byron Horn Botha, [email protected],

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