The growth of the always-on business means that companies are increasingly reliant on their data centres to deliver constant availability – and, says Veeam Southern African regional manager Warren Olivier, data deduplication is emerging as a critical way to manage the cost.

“Employees, suppliers and customers now demand 24/7 access to business systems, from anywhere in the world,” says Olivier. “Companies invested in modern data centres for higher agility and more efficient use of their resources, but that alone wasn’t enough to bridge the availability gap between what stakeholders demanded and what backup or data protection solutions have been able to provide. Our global research shows that unplanned application downtime costs the average business between R16-million and R27-million a year in lost revenue, decreased productivity and missed opportunities. In South Africa, we estimate the cost at 2% of annual profits.”

Fortunately, adds Olivier, “More recently data availability tools have bridged this gap. Now the focus is shifting to how, among other things, to manage the increased demand for storage as data proliferates.”

Olivier says deduplication is the key to keep storage use under control. “Storage is one of the most expensive components of the modern data centre, and it’s essential to use it as efficiently as possible. For example, if 30 people in the organisation all receive the same spreadsheet, you’re likely to end up with 30 copies of that file in 30 different email inboxes. Now multiply that across hundreds of inboxes and thousands of files, and before you know it you’re wasting terabytes of expensive storage. Deduplication is simply the process of removing all those useless duplicate files, while ensuring that everyone who needs to can still access the master file via a link.”

Deduplication also helps save CPU and memory resources, adds Olivier: “The less data there is to manage, the lower the overhead burden you’re placing on your entire system.” Even entire operating systems are candidates for deduplication: “If you have ten virtual machines all running the same version of Windows, you only need to back up one instance of the operating system at the block level.”

Olivier says Veeam was the first vendor to include deduplication as a standard part of its data availability solutions. “Because Veeam products are built from the ground up for virtualised environments, deduplication has always been part of the offer. More recently we’ve also included the ability to work with hardware-based deduplication technologies like HP StoreOnce, DataDomain and others which makes the process even more efficient.”

Built-in deduplication is one of the reasons Veeam is able to offer high-speed recovery and ambitious recovery time and point objectives of as little as 15 minutes, says Olivier. “Working entirely in a virtualised context enables us to make the most of all the flexibility and efficiency advantages the modern data can offer.”