Reason 1: Unrealistic figures, unrealistic expectations.
Q uantum has been providing storage and backup solutions for over 30 years — and we consider ourselves to be specialists in this market. Nonetheless, we do not control the rules of our own market (or its marketing). Bigger generalist players with unlimited marketing budgets often bend the rules, not always in the interest of customers. Here are three reasons not to believe everything they tell you in the deduplication appliance datasheets.
In order to post impressive numbers, some vendors perform tests in a “fantasy laboratory,” a laboratory far removed from reality. You can judge the data for yourself. I recently saw a datasheet announcing average deduplication rates around 50:1. Of course, it required using 72 clients, 2 streams per client, and 98% client deduplication. Not exactly the average backup environment is it?
What about Quantum? We typically use a 20:1 average ratio in our datasheets. We could use a 136 :1 as tweeted by one of our customers (see below) — not even a laboratory figure, just real life — or a 155:1 achieved by OSI Group (check out the case study here). And I’m sure if I ask my service team, they can find a customer with even more impressive figures, but this would not be an average case study. There are so many parameters to take into account in order to calculate a deduplication ratio, such as the type of data being protected, the backup policy, data change rate, and more. In our case, we prefer to let our presales team work with our customers on a case-by-case basis. Although 20:1 is our average ratio, for high-end customers with complex petabyte-scale environments, the real-life figure is closer to 10:1 — something that many competitors can’t even achieve, whatever the datasheet says.
So, my only advice is to spend some time reading datasheet footnotes to understand if the vendor methodology is realistic or not. You need to understand the nature of the data you’re protecting and the parameters of your own environment before a datasheet spec becomes a valid performance goal.
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Stay tuned for Reason #2 this week!