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Understanding the importance of data deduplication

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Data deduplication might seem like a new thing but the reality is that the technology has been around for quite some time. Warren Olivier, regional  manager of Veeam South Africa, discusses the roles big data and the always-on business have played to bring it back into the spotlight.
“Storage has become a hot topic in recent months with many companies trying to leverage the sheer amount of data they have at their disposal to make more effective strategic decisions. But because data is growing at such an incredible pace, decision-makers need to come up with ways to reduce the storage burden they place on their IT departments,” he says.
With virtualisation and cloud computing becoming more critical to the modern data centre, shared storage has become an expensive commodity. And with companies needing to find ways of reducing costs while still maintaining their competitive advantage, they are turning to the possibilities that deduplication provide.
“One of the easiest ways to explain this [deduplication] is to think about backing up your operating system. You can either make a backup for each of your employees or you can have one copy of the operating system and replicate it back across your organisation when required.”
As a result of being connected from virtually anywhere using a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, employees in the field have an insatiable demand to access data. Deduplication means executives can be more creative in reducing their storage footprint while still managing the data requirements of a mobile workforce.
This is especially true in South Africa where bandwidth and accessibility can be a premium solution. Performing remote backups through a slow link with high latency is not the most efficient way of managing a company.
“Recently, Veeam was contracted to assist PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) South Africa implement a more agile and backup recovery solution. This perfectly illustrates the benefits of going the deduplication route,” says Olivier.
As an example, PwC South Africa uses Veeam to back up all its virtual machines onsite on a daily basis at its main data centre in Johannesburg and replicate 85 of them each night to a disaster recovery site 50 kilometres away in Pretoria.
The ability of deduplication technology to identify certain patterns across storage blocks mean it is quite an innovative way of improving business operations while decreasing the strain on backup processes.
“There are various types of deduplication approaches with each offering its own benefits and disadvantages. The key is to work with a trusted vendor who understands your business needs and can identify the correct one for the organisational requirements,” concludes Olivier.