Storage Optimization

Astonishing Capacity Gains

Posted in Analyst,Blogroll,Storage by storageoptimization on February 6, 2009
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Stephen Foskett had a nice post on his Packrat blog today that delves into the question of whether encryption can be done in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with compression. The whole post is worth a read. We were also pleased to see him describe Ocarina in the following manner:

“The software from Ocarina, for example, actually decompresses jpg and pdf files before recompressing them, resulting in astonishing capacity gains!”

The Packrat blog is on our RSS and Stephen is one of those bloggers who seems to have a grasp of just about everything that’s happening in storage–always adding his own fresh twist to the conversation. He’s also got a Twitter feed worth following, @sfoskett.


Test Your Storage Optimization IQ

Posted in Storage by storageoptimization on February 5, 2009
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Here’s a quick quiz to see how smart you are about primary storage optimization:

1. True or false: the only type of deduplication on the market today is block level deduplication–the type that looks at the zeros and ones on disk, and removes the duplicates.

2. Content aware deduplication is:

a) More effective than other types of optimization for primary storage;

b) The best approach to optimizing online files, such as photos, PDFs, and other already compressed files because it extracts them and reads them in their non-compressed format before optimizing them;

c) Only available from Ocarina Networks;

d) All of the above.

3. True or false: dedupe gets 20:1 data reduction results the first time it passes through your data.

4. With online data sets, block level dedupe and content aware dedupe get:

a) About the same results;

b) Different results–block level is better;

c) Radically different results–Ocarina’s content aware deduplication solution gets 5x or better results than block level dedupe.


1. FALSE. There’s a new type of dedupe on the storage scene–content aware dedupe. This works in part by analyzing the ones and zeros in files that have been extracted out of their compressed format–a far more effective approach for the types of files that are driving storage growth, such as images, PDFs, and Windows files. More info. at:

2. d-all of the above.

3. FALSE: Block level dedupe gets its results because of the repetitive nature of backups – daily backups create dupes, dedupe takes them back out. For online data sets, you won’t get those results, because it’s not a repetitive data set.  You need a different approach that can find the dedupe and compression opportunities in a single online set of files.

4. c–see the chart below for a comparison of results.


Our Prediction for the Hottest Storage Category of 2009

Posted in Storage by storageoptimization on January 19, 2009
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And the winner is… dedupe for online

When it comes to storage, our market research and experience with customers have led us to the following prediction: dedupe for online storage will emerge as the hottest category of the year in 2009.

The current economic climate, coupled with the pace of advancement in cloud storage have created a perfect storm in which the need for cheap online storage is growing exponentially.

This category, which has also been referred to as “dedupe for primary” is a hot one with several entrants, one of which is my company Ocarina Networks.

Some industry observers have implied that this category is being overplayed, and that dedupe for primary won’t be as hot in the coming year as others have predicted. This is no doubt due to a misunderstanding of what is meant by “primary” storage, and where the bulk of the data growth is occurring. To clarify, we’re not talking here about dedupe for transactional databases or backups. The vast increases we’ve seen in storage demand is all in files and in nearline, not in performance-oriented primary storage.

With this in mind, here are the three key areas to consider when thinking about a dedupe solution for online:

1) How much can the product shrink an online data set with a wide mix of the typical kinds of files driving storage growth?
2) How fast can users access files that have been compressed and deduplicated?
3) How easy is it to integrate this new technology into an existing file serving environment?

I’m glad to say that Ocarina excels on all three fronts. Any product can deduplicate virtual machine images. The real question is which ones can also get good results on Exchange, Office 2007, PDF, and the wide range of image-rich data found in Web 2.0, energy, life sciences, medicine, and engineering. That’s where the rubber hits the road for our customers, and so most likely you’re going to be facing the same issues for your nearline data.

Of course, only time will tell whether this prediction is correct, but I’m betting the farm on it myself.