Dell Debuts Small Business Storage with Deduplication

The volume of data in the world is expanding rapidly, and the pace of that expansion is increasing. For small businesses, finding a way to store and backup data in the midst of the data explosion — without breaking the bank — can be a challenge.

Dell, charged up by its acquisition of Ocarina Networks in July 2010, wants to change that with a new storage platform targeted at small and mid-sized businesses as well as enterprises with remote offices.

At its first Dell Storage Forum event in Europe, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) on Wednesday introduced its new Dell DR4000, a storage platform for small business that combines the reliability of disk-based backup with deduplication and compression capabilities courtesy of Ocarina Networks technologies.

According to IBM, people create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. We create so much data that 90 percent of the data in the world today was created within the past two years.

“There’s no way around it — we’re in the midst of a data explosion — an explosion many small businesses are struggling to keep up with without ever-increasing budgets,” said Antonio Julio, executive director, small and medium business, Dell. “By eliminating redundancies, organizations can maximize their storage capacity and see immediate results. However, such technology has previously been out of reach for growing businesses.”

But the DR4000 puts those capabilities within reach, Julio said. Its deduplication capabilities optimize storage by eliminating redundancies. Julio explained that it inspects chunks of data and takes a fingerprint of each chunk that it then compares with its data index.

If the fingerprint is already in the index, the system doesn’t store the data again. Instead it updates the object map and adds a shortcut in place of the duplicated data.

By eliminating redundant copies of data, Dell said the DR4000’s deduplication capabilities can decrease disk capacity requirements by up to 15 times. Together with its compression capabilities, it can also reduce the bandwidth requirements for data transfer by up to 15 times, Dell said. It can also reduce the costs associated with delivering power and cooling to the datacenter.

Additionally, by reducing the storage footprint, Dell said businesses will have the capability to keep data online for weeks or even months before moving it to archive storage, reducing their dependence on tape backup and making it simpler to locate and restore important data.

“The DR4000 offers a very low cost for backup storage — as low as 25 cents per gigabyte,” Julio said.

Dell is also looking to the DR4000 as a tool that can help small business IT professionals deploy a disaster recovery solution.

“We’re looking at the DR4000 as an opportunity for small and medium businesses to install a backup solution and disaster recovery solution,” Julio said, noting that despite the risk — a small business can be severely damaged or even driven out of business by the loss of critical data — small businesses often don’t implement disaster recovery policies until they’ve already experienced a disaster.

“They always have a very limited budget,” Julio said, adding that when it’s budget crunch time for a small business, funding disaster recovery often loses out to seemingly more mission-critical expenditures.

“The DR4000 is a very economical solution for disaster recovery in this case,” Julio said.

Dell plans to release the DR4000 sometime during the first quarter of 2012 in 40TB, 81TB and 135TB configurations. Pricing was not available at the time of this writing. The DR4000 also offers an all-inclusive software licensing model that Dell said will allow customers to leverage all of its current and future product capabilities without incurring any additional licensing costs.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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