I have had the chance to talk to a huge number of customers across the country lately. I love to do this stuff, because: a) I actually really like public speaking, and b) it is a really good chance to level set and get feedback on whether the message is actually speaking to customers' needs, or not.
One of the most startling things that I have found is just how low the percentage of organizations that have installed any sort of data deduplication for their data protection environment. At a guess, based on a polling of maybe 400+ individuals in total, less than 10% of people that raised their hand indicated that they had any sort of data deduplication installed.
A couple of qualifiers here: the mix in the crowd was by no means "EMC Customers" only. Obviously a good number were, but at least half, if not more, were just beginning to have a relationship with EMC. Further, there was also a good mix of both enterprise and SMB customers, and a mix of public and private. In short, I am no statistician, but this seemed like a pretty representative sample to me.
So what did I learn from this? I think we, as an industry, need to continue to be clear and concise on the exact value proposition and message for deduplication. And that is: It saves money. It saves bandwidth (for replication). It is secure and reliable (unlike tape). It reduces data centre footprint, compared to tape. It reduces restore times. It can reduce bandwidth requirements for backup. And it can reduce backup times very significantly. In particular, I think we need to continue to explain that deduplication is less expensive, and therefore has a positive ROI, than traditional backup.
The other obvious lesson is that there are still vast opportunities here. For both vendors and customers. For vendors because as many as 90% of our customers have yet to do anything with respect to deduplication for data protection. For customers, most of you still have a huge opportunity to transform the cost and capability of your data protection infrastructure.
All of which makes for interesting and challenging times for us all.