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January 29, 2009


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It has been my view, after testing solutions from both companies, that avamar and data domain are not even in the same market. avamar is not a good fit for a medium sized data center. It requires way too many resources. Avamar at in the near term is strictly a remote site, small data center fit. Data domain excells in larger environments (data centers w/ replication) who are not going to replace their backup software. After testing all EMC, IBM, Symantec, and Data Domain solutions, I would say DD has nothing to worry about in the short term. It really isn't close in performance.

Scott Waterhouse

You are absolutely correct in many respects: they are not in the same market to a great extent. And that is part of my observation about DD--they are a one trick pony. That pony may be really darn good at that one trick, but that is it.

As far as Avamar in the data centre, I agree and disagree. For a few reasons, I wouldn't necessarily be rushing out to replace by NW or NBU app for a backup of a 5 TB Oracle/SAP database with an Avamar backup. :) But in the case of VMware, I think it is different. The pains of resource contention and VCBs (being the two dominant method of VMware backup) are sufficient that many folks are looking to replace their traditional backup (and target dedup by extension) with Avamar's source dedup in this one specific instance.

And I won't for an instant concede a performance advantage to DD on target solutions, but that is fodder for another post and another conversation entirely. :)

Timothy Mann

Looks like "Avamar Boy" forgot to include the REST of the story - http://biz.yahoo.com/ibd/090128/newamer.html?.v=1

Data Domain CREATED the Deduplication market.

Avamar is a bolt on (usually free, that's how good it is) to the "more disk will fix it" strategy.

That is some innovation....

Scott Waterhouse

Let me attempt to respond to the substance of the comments Timothy.

First, Avamar is not an "bolt on" in any way shape or form. It is a complete, stand alone product.

Second, Avamar has been around longer than DD. Ooops. That is right. The company that "created" the deduplication market is newer than Avamar. Avamar was founded in 1999 as a backup product that used deduplication to reduce the amount of capacity required to hold your backups. Data Domain was founded in 2001 as a target that used deduplication to reduce the amount of capacity required to hold your backups.

So, who is the innovate company? Who is the creator?


Denwin has it right. Even for VMware, the DD solution tested much better than Avamar or Puredisk. VCB removes any contention from the production servers. Its just a snap to the proxy. Any contention is on the proxy which has no affect on the production VMs.

I also don't think a source based dedupe solution is a good fit for large datacenters and specifically applications that need a dedicated phyiscal sever like databases. The source dedupe was very slow and created resource issues. So that begs the question, would you want TWO backup software solutions in your enterprise? One for VM and one for everything else?

Besides, if Avamar works so well why is EMC pushing the Quantum based 3DL so much?


So typepad is being weird and not letting me post comments, so I will just add my thoughts to the end of this one:

Jim... It would be interesting to understand more of the details around your test. I have been pretty open with Avamar plusses and minuses elsewhere on this blog, and pretty clear on Avamar performance characteristics. Having said that, in many/most scenarios it is reasonable to expect that Avamar will perform better than any DD box, including the 690.

With respect to VCBs and proxies, you are right, of course. But extend the logic further: moving the load to a proxy server merely moves the load somewhere else. If you do traditional backup from the proxy server, then you have to ask how many ESX servers you can back up from a single proxy. And with Avamar, that number tends to be about double what a normal backup application can manage. That is--if you are backing up 4 ESX hosts with NBU and VCBs, you might managed 8 ESX hosts with Avamar.

Other advantages over DD include an inherent HA ability too. DD has single points of failure, Avamar server does not.

Also, you will get few arguments from any informed Avamar expert that it is not appropriate for all situations. As I commented above, if you have a 5 TB Oracle or Exchange server, you will likely want to stick with your traditional backup app.

Finally, you ask "would you want two backup... solutions" and the answer my customers are giving me is emphatically yes. Believe me, I am as shocked as you are. :) I have been doing backup for 15+ years, and never before have I seen such willingness to run to backup apps in the data centre at the same time.

PS: Quantum/EDL vs. Avamar is apples and oranges. We are all pretty clear that Avamar is for ROBO/VMware/and file services--where you are willing to consider a different backup application. EDL is for large environments and where and when you don't want to think about changing your backup application.


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