Data are an important asset to every business. Day by day the growth of data is exponentially increasing and managing the tremendous amount data by storing them in a physical storage requires a highly scalable storage solution. There are few techniques like Compression, Deduplication that plays a vital role in using the storage efficiently. In the last few years, Data Deduplication is becoming one of the mainstream technology for effectively storing the data.

Data Deduplication

Data Deduplication is a storage field technology for eliminating the redundant data to minimize the storage requirements. It is a process in which multiple copies of same data are identified and the redundant copies are replaced by a single pointer. These pointers refer to the original data. Thus, Data Deduplication will allow only one instance of data to be stored which substantially reduces the storage.

Data deduplication can be implemented in two ways:

  • Software-based deduplication
  • Hardware-based deduplication

Software-based deduplication

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The deduplication functionality is directly integrated into the software to provide software-based deduplication. In most of the softwares, dedupe functionality is provided to reduce the storage and network consumption. Backup softwares with inbuilt dedupe feature will be able to provide faster backups since less data is sent across the networks and also uses less storage space.

Hardware-based deduplication

Data Deduplication feature is incorporated in general purpose storage systems like NAS and also in data protection hardware like virtual tape Library. Unlike Software deduplication, hardware-based deduping doesn’t reduce the overall backup window or the network resources since the dedupe function is performed at the storage side. The objective of hardware-based deduplication is to achieve superior dedupe ratio for efficient storage management. However, hardware-based deduplication is preferred for its high dedupe performance and cost reasons.

Methods to achieve Deduplication

File-based deduplication – Data are examined at the file level and then they are deduped.

(i.e) Deduplication is performed only when two files are exactly the same; if there are slight changes they will be stored in two different files.

Block-based deduplication – Homogeneous Blocks are identified and they are deduped. Storage arrays widely use block level deduplication. Block-level deduplication has two approaches:

  • Fixed block size
  • Variable block size

Place of Deduplication

Source-side deduplication – Data is deduped at the place where the data resides i.e, within the file system. This type of deduplication is used in the backup process to reduce the amount of data sent over the network.

Target side deduplication – As soon as the data blocks reach the secondary location, data deduplication is performed at the target side and the deduping of the data blocks occurs in any one of the following ways:

  • Inline deduplication – Inline deduplication is a process where the data blocks are compared to the existing blocks before it gets written to the storage to eliminate redundancy
  • Post-process deduplication – In post-process deduplication, the data blocks are written first, then the redundant blocks are analyzed

Windows Server Deduplication

It’s a common notion that the deduplication functionality can be implemented via backup software and Hardware storage appliance, but that is certainly not the only way. Now, the Deduplication technology is embedded as a feature in Windows Servers too. Apart from expensive storage arrays and backup softwares, Server operating systems like Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 also support this deduplication feature.

Microsoft uses the post-process, source, and chunk-based methods to achieve deduplication in Windows Server. Deduplication role must be enabled and activated for each volume. Thus, the hard disk space and money is saved with Windows Server Deduplication functionality.

How Vembu adheres to Data Deduplication?

Vembu BDR suite provides inbuilt functionalities like Deduplication along with Compression and Encryption through its own in-house file system called VembuHIVE. With Vembu’s inbuilt features, data are stored securely and the redundant blocks of data are tracked and removed for using the storage space more effectively. These functionalities increase the backup speed by transferring less data using fewer network resources and dramatically shortens the backup windows. Thus the network and storage resources can be used efficiently with Vembu software-based deduplication.

Vembu also allows its customers to attach their own deduplication supported storage appliance to the Vembu BDR software. To achieve the complete deduplication ratio provided by the appliance, Vembu recommends its customers to disable the inbuilt deduplication, compression provided by Vembu BDR software.

Thus with the Vembu BDR Suite, customers can experience flexible options to achieve deduplication either through the inbuilt feature of Vembu BDR or by attaching an external storage appliance that supports deduplication.

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Role of Data Deduplication in Storage and How Vembu adheres to it
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