Why Data Reduction Belongs in the Linux OS

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Data Reduction technologies (compression and deduplication) have been around for many years. Initially applied to backup storage environments, data reduction has more recently been applied to primary storage, where it’s heavily leveraged in flash arrays. The latest and most innovative application for data reduction, however, can now be found in the OS where it can be universally applied across IT environments to achieve greater data density and to meet cost reduction objectives.

In modern data centers, where data is being virtualized, managed and stored, data may be ephemeral (short-lived) or persistent (potentially stored for decades); it may be local to a specific server (kept as direct attached storage), or it may be distributed and accessed by many computing systems; it may reside on premises or in cloud, or both. Increasingly, enterprises are leveraging Linux and software defined technologies to build their own storage and compute for bare metal, virtualized and cloud environments. 

What if the same efficiencies and savings achieved in hyper scale data centers could be realized across entire enterprise or service provider data centers? Well, they can. By adding compression and deduplication to the Linux operating system, data reduction benefits can be realized across all storage built on that OS, ensuring that savings accrue across the entire data center. This is the future of data reduction – ubiquitous benefits via the OS.

Microsoft has been delivering compression and deduplication in Windows Server since 2012.  Despite limitations in its scalability and performance, Windows Deduplication still provides a TCO advantage to applications that utilize NTFS on a Windows Server.

Here at Permabit, we’ve created a data reduction solution that does just that for Linux. We call it VDO for Data Centers.  And, we are working with many enterprises and IaaS providers who wish to standardize on Linux data centers going forward.  Think about it, with data reduction in Linux, these massive enterprises can achieve (i) vendor independence across all Linux based storage, (ii) mobility of reduced data on premise and in cloud and (iii) hyper scale cost economies.  Wow – that’s an unbeatable combination.

The operating system is the gateway to and from storage.  All data passes through an OS before it is stored or used by an application.  As a component of the OS, data reduction can be used universally without lock-in by proprietary solutions. Why would any organization opt for an outdated approach to storage efficiency that limits data reduction to backup and proprietary flash arrays? Data reduction in the OS is a comprehensive solution to today’s data density challenges.

This is why the future of data reduction lies in the OS. And with Permabit VDO, the future is already here for Linux users! 

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Tom Cook

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