As of this morning, it is official, EMC has acquired a majority intrest in Data Domain, and from here forward they will be run as an product division within EMC, with the DD structure remaining intact, and Frank Slootman will head the new division.
So first things first: welcome aboard to all Data Domain employees and customers. As I have said here previously, I think EMC is a great place to work, and I believe that you will all find that to be the case too. To Data Domain customers--I think you will find EMC has a lot to offer, that we really care about our customers, and that we have a lot to talk about.
Having said that, I think most people will have two big questions for EMC: 1) How do DD and Avamar fit together? And why do you guys now have two different deduplication technologies? 2) How is DD going to fit within a unified product line?
The answers here I will give are my personal answers. This shouldn't be mistaken for some sort of official EMC statement, or any sort of look into our product roadmap! Having said that...
In answers to the first question(s): my firm belief is that source deduplication (Avamar) and target deduplication (Data Domain) are entirely complementary. Complementary in both a business sense, and a technology sense.
Lets take the first: they are complementary in the business sense because source side deduplication has a big ask for anybody that wants to take advantage of it: you have to be willing to switch backup applications. Unless you are a NetWorker user. Interia and resistance to change being what they are, some organizations will not be in a position to switch. For these people, the only choice they have is target deduplication. So there is a very practical dimension to this question--both technologies are required, because some folks can take advantage of one or the other, but not both.
More importantly from a technologists point of view, they are complementary in a technical sense too. Source side deduplication does some things that target side deduplication can't: it reduces the amount of bandwidth required at the source. In systems like ESX servers and NAS appliances, and situations like remote office backup, where this really matters, this will be a paramount concern. No amount of target deduplication is going to save you the time or bandwidth that source deduplication can. And in these cases Avamar will continue to be the right choice for customers--even if one of those choices is a DD box.
On the flip side of that coin, if you want the best possible performance in terms of throughput to a device, and bandwidth from your source to your target is not really an issue, then target side deduplication is where it is at. If you need backup and restore at the high end of the Gigabit Ethernet performance curve, or more pointedly, at 10 GigE or FC speeds, then target side deduplication will be a very attractive choice for you. And, if switching backup applications is just not an option, if you are wed to TSM or CommVault or NetBackup, then target side deduplication is still your best, fastest, most flexible, highest performance, and most cost effective way to get the benefits of deduplication in your backup and recovery process.
Now, for the second question: where does DD fit? Well, based on the above commentary it should be pretty obvious that EMC intends to continue to offer a wide range of options in backup and recovery technologies that allows our customers to pick from best of breed solutions based on the use case that they have. Both Avamar and DD will be central.
But I really see DD as entirely complementary to what we have been doing with our existing DL1500, DL3000, and DL4000 product line. All along, I have been an advocate of offering choice: inline target deduplication for those people that want their replication to be done as fast as possible; post-process target deduplication for those that want their backup done as fast as possible. EMC will still offer this choice of in-line appliances in the form of the DD product line, and post-process deduplication in the form of the DL4000. The DL4000 will also continue to appeal to those people that require the most FC connectivity, the most flexibility from their VTL platform (like ACSLS and iSeries connectivity), and the widest possible number of tape and library emulations. But from my point of view, the issue really boils down to: do you need the fastest device possible? Do you need 8+ TB/hr now, and will you need something much faster than that in the future? If so, the DL4000 line offers that performance advantage, and allows you to perform deduplication after the fact.
So both from a business and a technology point of view, I see the offerings as complementary, and the inclusion of DD in an EMC product line as entirely consistent with out long term backup, recovery, and archive strategies.