OK Dr Dedupe, but what about the future?

I met Larry Freeman, Dr Dedupe, when he used to work with Nathan Thompson at SpectraLogic and I have not heard from him in a number of years. When he worked at SpectraLogic he seemed like he understood what the enterprise storage community was looking for. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following comments from Larry Freeman to last week’s blog:

Larry Freeman has left a new comment on your post “Increase your storage efficiency, or else!“:

Hi Mike, nice post and good points raised. But you didn’t say what you advised this customer to do. Here are a few tips:

1) Upgrade to the latest version of ONTAP, volume limits have been raised (assuming this customer has a fairly recent NetApp unit that can be upgraded)

ML Answer: Upgrading to NetApp’s version 8 is expensive as it requires moving to 64 bit hardware, forfeiting all of the investment that the customer has in their legacy 32 bit NetApp high availability hardware.

2) Turn on dedupe, compression, and thin provisioning. All are free and will likely reduce storage requirements substantially. The cheapest storage is the one you already own, use it wisely.

ML Answer: We agree with Dr Dedupe that “The cheapest storage is the one you already own”, which is why we work with customers to get the most from their legacy NetApp systems. Whether adding storage, optimizing density, or adding complete systems, using transferable licensed equipment is a great way to get the utility of NetApp without the high cost of new equipment. 

3) Turn on My AutoSupport. It’s also free to all registered NetApp users via the support site support.netapp.com. This tool tells you how efficiently you are managing your storage and provides more tips to reduce your storage footprint.

ML Answer: Autosupport is a great tool, but for security reasons many customers don’t feel comfortable with ‘Big Brother’ reading their ASUP’s. For those looking for more information on their systems, Zerowait offers our own Exception Reporter program which provides our customers with a quick glimpse of storage utilization statistics. Additionally, Zerowait offers a free version of our Exception Reporter to the entire Filer community.



Beyond helping our customer optimize his current NetApp infrastructure, our engineering team is working with him to see if a SimplStor with either Red Hat XFS or Solaris and ZFS will provide the best combination of affordability and performance at acquisition and into the future. There are upsides to both solutions, and these solutions are far less costly than upgrading to NetApp 8.X hardware and software.

There seems to be a consensus among the storage engineers that we speak with regularly that over the next 5 years there will be an adoption of generic storage solutions and a gradual phasing down of proprietary storage solutions that lock clients into a particular vendor’s offerings. We believe that there will always be a segment of the market that requires the top vendor’s offerings for their tier one solutions, but that off the shelf hardware and open source software will be a major part of most customers’ storage infrastructure in the coming years.

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