Time for a brief round-up of some of the news from the world of backup and archive.
First up, news from Symantec this week that they have bought SwapDrive so that they can offer a service like Mozy. This is a great validation of the direction the market is headed for small office and home user backup. I would offer the simple observation however that the service is much more expensive than Mozy--it ranges from $4.95 per month for 2 GB of backup data (which Mozy offers for free), to $44.95 per month for 50 GB (which Mozy offers for $4.95). So it is about 10 times more expensive, minimum. I protect close to 200 GB with Mozy which I assume would cost me a whopping $179.95 per month with SwapDrive's backup.com, as compared to $4.95 with Mozy. Nearly 40 times more expensive. They also don't appear to support Mac OS X at the moment, which would be another deal killer for me.
Next in a case that I can only believe is one of opposites not attracting, we have the Symantec CEO John Thompson saying that flash will kill tape: "Solid-state drives mean the storage tiering process adds yet another layer ... In that world, you don't need tape." Ummm. OK. I am not sure I see the correlation there. I can think of a lot of reasons why bigger less expensive disk drives, most likely with deduplication technology, will put a pretty serious dent in the market share of tape, and likely eliminate its use for operational backup, but to say flash will eliminate the need for tape seems a little unlikely. The opposite here by the way is Tony Pearson over at IBM who said that tape means you don't need flash. Really.
Some other interesting news came out of Symantec's Vision conference this week, mostly around PureDisk, which is their swipe at a source deduplication product which might be considered competitive with Avamar(roughly speaking, and only if you don't look very far beyond the words "source deduplication"). I will deal that with an upcoming post on Avamar vs. PureDisk.
Finally, to refer back to a much earlier post (Peace, Love, and Revolution), I have spoken to several customers in the last week where this is a big issue. One of them has over 200 tape drives, and backs up close to 200 TB per night. When they want to replicate that backup data for off site purposes, they have to use the backup application (applications, in their case, they operate both TSM and NetBackup, in addition to a host of small point solutions). They will not be able to use deduplication with replication to reduce their bandwidth by 90-95%, because they have a policy to never create a piece of media, virtual or physical, that the backup application isn't aware of and which doesn't have a unique entry in the media database. So rather than replicate 20 TB (still a non-trivial task) they will have to replicate 200 TB.
I will wrap up by repeating my earlier conclusion: the industry needs to get together and act in a way that solves this problem. We need appliances that can replicate data and inform the backup application, which can then create a new media catalog entry for the replica. Or we need backup software than can (with either virtual tape or disk file shares, from any manufacturer) tell the appliance to replicate, get a confirmation from the target, and create the appropriate second entry in the media database for the second copy. This is not an option folks, it has to happen. And the sooner it happens, the happier everybody will be: storage vendors, backup application vendors, and end users.