How to Quit Data Domain

By November 14, 2019 Legacy Challenges

data-centerThere was a time when Dell EMC’s Data Domain deduplication and compression appliances were a must-have for backup operations. Purpose-built for on-premises backup and recovery, these stand-alone, dedicated, proprietary hardware storage targets brought the promise of deduplication to the mass market. Data Domain became a market leader in part because the backup applications and servers were not sophisticated or powerful enough to deduplicate data on the backup server.

But that was 2004. A lot has changed since then. Now, deduplication capability is baked into almost every software backup product.

Meanwhile, customers have recognized the costly realities of deploying this legacy solution design.

Data protection costs are soaring and proprietary appliances are overpriced and difficult to manage. Data Domain is an additional silo of management adding to everything else customers have to do for backup. And once you have more than one Data Domain system, the problems grow rapidly and it often becomes painful – both operationally and financially. Plus, if you’re using a data protection product like Data Domain Boost, IBM Spectrum Protect, or Veritas to drive Data Domain, then you’re paying twice for deduplication.

Data Domain has simply become very expensive storage with commodity features adding complexity to today’s already burdensome backup operations.

Deduplication appliances are on their way out

For evidence of that trend, consider IBM’s ProtecTIER deduplication and storage system. Once a Data Domain competitor, IBM has responded to market conditions and stopped marketing and supporting ProtecTIER. The product will be out of service in 2020.

And yet, Dell EMC continues to push Data Domain and lock customers in to expensive product refreshes and maintenance contracts. Recent rebranding is a thin disguise for the ongoing marketing of Data Domain. And customers reluctantly continue to buy because they believe there’s not an easy replacement.

The market is fed up

From what I’ve gathered from reading industry analyst reports and from my personal meetings with around 100 Data Domain customers, it is clear that customers are not happy with Data Domain. Some of the primary issues identified include:

  • Pricing and expenses mushrooming out of control
  • Inefficiencies associated with utilization of total box capacity
  • Operational management complexity especially for customers with multiple Data Domains
  • Lack of a scale-out architecture for easy upgrades and migration
  • Did I already mention costs?

In my discussions with Data Domain customers in the past few years, a strong majority want to abandon Data Domain as soon as their maintenance contracts are up but they are unclear what to do. There is a way to achieve independence from Data Domain gracefully, not only without disrupting your business but, in fact, enhancing it. Here are some examples of how companies are leaving Data Domain with Cobalt Iron’s Compass™ SaaS platform.

Scenario 1: Your Data Domain leases are about to expire ...

Cobalt Iron Compass can immediately take over the backup workloads and replace Data Domain and your legacy backup tooling. Instead of targeting the Data Domain for final storage, the backup data flows to high performance, cost-effective storage under the Compass. Depending on how data was written to the Data Domain, Compass has elegant options for efficiently migrating that data into Compass.

For some legacy environments, Compass can establish a peer relationship with the legacy backup estate and extract data stored on the Data Domain appliances, apply new or existing policies for long term retention, and ingest the data into Compass. The Data Domains stay in service just long enough to complete the data migration. From there, you can send the Data Domain appliances out the door and stop paying for the expensive service and support.

Scenario 2: Your Data Domains are still under contract with EMC ...

Compass also lets you reuse your existing Data Domain appliances as Compass backup storage while providing a simple way to migrate Compass backup data to less expensive storage over time. In this case, backup workloads are again immediately transitioned to Compass.

Why would a company do this? You can use the Data Domains as a storage resource for Compass for the remaining duration of your EMC contract. Cobalt Iron leverages existing customer storage investments instead of forcing new spend for new storage you don’t need yet. Again, for some legacy environments, Compass can pull data through the legacy backup and off the Data Domain appliances and ingest it into Compass for long term retention. Over time, Compass can automatically move the protected data to less expensive, higher performing storage and free you from the cost and operation of Data Domain appliances.

Modernize your environment and start seeing real business outcomes

Compass eliminates high costs, over-provisioning, complexity, and vendor lock-in and replaces them with lower costs, more efficiency, and easier management through automation and analytics. Compass is the premier automation application for enterprise backup. It automates 80% of daily backup management functions freeing up key skilled resources to deliver other IT services and drive new value to the business. In addition, integration with all the major public clouds increases deployment options. The entire enterprise backup experience is transformed, delivered as-a-Service, and experienced from a single web-based management interface.

Data Domain users, there is hope. It’s possible to free yourselves from Data Domain once and for all. Bring automation, analytics, SaaS delivery, deep security, cost savings, and a new modernized experience to your backup operations in the process

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