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Competitive Analysis: deduplication, continuous data proctection, compression?

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Competitive Analysis: deduplication, continuous data proctection, compression?

Postby jeffryer » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:58 am

Hello,

I just thought I would share some insight after reviewing a competitor's features. It looks like Ahsay stacks up pretty well, but is missing some features. Here are some feature differences:

- Continuous Data Protection - This feature is in Ahsay's development plan, so just a little behind

- Data deduplication - This is a big one. I have not seen this in Ahsay's development plans. My customers with larger data sets tend to have a lot of data duplication. We can address that by cleaning up or by deselecting duplicates, but duplicates will continue. There is a lot of duplication inherent in emails, especially attachments. Also, users tend to send or copy files for colleagues or secretaries to review, creating duplication. Ahsay, do you have plans? Do any others see a need for this?

- compression of 2:1 - 5:1 (50% - 80%) - This is what they claim. With Ahsay, I see anywhere from almost no compression to 3.4 : 1 (70%). Average is about 1.5 : 1 (30%). I know that this depends entirely on the file/data type. Is Ahsay lacking in compression, or are these competitor's numbers "best case"? What do other Ahsay users think?
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Postby Nelsonn » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:30 pm

Hi jeffryer,

For data deduplication, this is one of the enhancement in our development schedule. Currently, we are aiming to include the beta version for this feature in v6.0.

For the compression ratio, the differences may due to the use of different compression algorithm. Currently, we are using GZIP as our compression algorithm because it gives the most balanced performance on resource usage/speed/compression ratio. The speed of GZIP is fast with low CPU usage and the compression ratio is relatively good. On the other hand, the compression ratio can be improved by the use of another algorithm, such as 7zip. However, as a trade off, the resource usage and the speed may be affected. In our future version, we may add a few different compression algorithms into our product and let the user to choose the algorithm that they would like to use. However, this should only affect the compression ratio by 5-10%.

If you want to save more storage space, we think data deduplication should help you to save more disk space comparing with using a different compression algorithm.

Regards,
Ahsay Online Backup
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Need that Deduplication

Postby jazar » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:27 am

Deduplication would be an excellent addtion. That would solve a lot of problems, not just with backup, but also replication. Deduplication is a hot topic among the data storage vendors. Microsoft has had in their Storage Server product for over a year now.

It seems to me like Ahsay partners are going to have trouble competing without advanced features like deduplication. We need high-end capabilities because we certainly can't compete on the low end of the market with Mozy, Carbonite, XDrive, iDrive, ElephantDrive. We need to offer advanced features that are appealing to business and professional users. V 6.0 looks to be a year away if there is no slippage in the schedule. This would be a great way to help us gain some compettive advantage and some market. I hope you can deliver it while the window is open.
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de-dupe

Postby LR » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:02 am

I wonder too - it may be too complex, but data redundancy can be resolved across accounts as well. I know 'Connected TLM' has this - e.g. if 2 customers back up the Windows directory (maybe a bad example), then it only stores 1 copy of the common files. But, that product has a bare metal restore option, Ahsay does not, so it lends itself to 'common file' backup. Maybe this is not common with our customer base - yet, but just a thought - another way to conserve as much space and bandwidth as possible.
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Postby DD » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:46 am

I would agree that this would be an AMAZING enhancement to the product! Most of our customers have vast amounts of data that have a ton of duplication. Since we charge based on the amount of data stored on our servers, this would be a huge benefit for customers.

Please include this feature as soon as possible

Thanks
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Postby intrikrakin » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:53 am

DD, I hope you don't tell your customers to go to your website! It goes straight to a GoDaddy park page :)
Backup & Replication server solutions
http://www.korcomputing.com/
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Postby DD » Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:00 am

I am in the middle of a name change. Once that is complete, I will direct traffic there.
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Postby cpgsystems » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:06 am

I see that deduplication is not on the current development plan. Any idea when this might be a viable addition to the software?
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Postby leemason » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:49 pm

Has anyone tried running OBM/OBS backups across a network running Riverbed Steelhead application optimisation boxes? These do an amazing job at optimising many different types of traffic (i.e. Windows file server, MS-Exchange server, HTTP, etc). I have seen it reduce back times with more traditional network backup software by up to about 90%.

Given that OBM already compresses the data before sending I would guess the benefits will be less, but to other caching and optimisation mechanisms used by the Steelhead box could provide a hugh benefit. I am planning a trial in the near future but just wanted to see if anyone else had tried this first?
BackupsAnywhere Ltd (http://www.backupsanywhere.com)
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Getting back on subject...

Postby aslam » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:42 am

I would also like to add my vote for a deduplication feature. This would not only be a benefit to our customers but also to us as service providers because it would allow us to support more customers with less storage space.

According to Nelsonn's post, this was in the development plan for v6 but when I look at the current development plan (http://www.ahsay.com/download/partner/document/aobs-development-plan.htm) I don't see it there anymore.

When will data de-duplication be added?
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Postby Kevinc » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:59 pm

Hi aslam,

I’m sorry that the data de-duplication feature is now targeted to version 6.5 next year.
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Re: Need that Deduplication

Postby pbarranis » Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:17 pm

jazar wrote:Deduplication would be an excellent addtion. That would solve a lot of problems, not just with backup, but also replication. Deduplication is a hot topic among the data storage vendors. Microsoft has had in their Storage Server product for over a year now.


I don't have a feature request, but I'm interested in Ahsay and have three related questions:

- Does anyone know what jazar is talking about? I can't find dedup in the list of features of Storage Server or any other MSFT products.

- Does Ahsay store the backed-up files in a plain file-structure format? If it does, couldn't one just run Ahsay on a server that uses a back-end that does dedup, like one of Data Domain's products? It's not as good as having your cake and eating it too, but it's a start...

- Finally, our company is strictly interested in hosting a backup service focusing in bare-metal only. Without dedup to find the duplicate files before sending them over the wire, the first backup could take an eternity over the public internet. Is it possible, using Ahsay, to visit the client on-site, make a copy of the hard drive, and then "tell" the Ahsay server to treat this as a starting point? I know other products can pull off this little trick, and I'm hoping Ahsay can too...

Thanks!
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Postby Support3 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:23 pm

pbarranis wrote:Does Ahsay store the backed-up files in a plain file-structure format? If it does, couldn't one just run Ahsay on a server that uses a back-end that does dedup, like one of Data Domain's products? It's not as good as having your cake and eating it too, but it's a start...

Answer) The file structure of the data store on the server is encrypted and compressed. It is not a simple upload of *.mp3 (on the client side) to *.mp3 on the server's user storage.

pbarranis wrote:Finally, our company is strictly interested in hosting a backup service focusing in bare-metal only. Without dedup to find the duplicate files before sending them over the wire, the first backup could take an eternity over the public internet. Is it possible, using Ahsay, to visit the client on-site, make a copy of the hard drive, and then "tell" the Ahsay server to treat this as a starting point? I know other products can pull off this little trick, and I'm hoping Ahsay can too...

Answer) Yes, it is possible to locally backup the data onto an external drive, and then take the external drive to the AhsayOBS server and use the data as "starting point". That is the Seed Load function of AhsayOBM. Please refer to Chapter 12 of the AhsayOBS Administrator's Guide for details.

Finally, if you have other technical related question about Ahsay's backup application, please submit your messages at the Technical Discussion section of the forum.

Thanks.
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Postby burtcampbell » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:58 am

1) Adding my vote for deduplication. All the competitors will have it soon, some of they already do!!

2) Using a device like Data Domain may would work now, BUT you would need to disable encryption and compression (not sure we can even do this), or you would need to have a common encryption key for all your clients. Also, you are still not getting the real benefit because the de-dup would not happen until after the files are already transmitted across the internet. This is why it would be important for Ahsay to build it in so as to not even transmit those files across the wire.
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Ahsay's always delayed development schedule

Postby aslam » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:12 pm

Kevinc wrote:Hi aslam,

I’m sorry that the data de-duplication feature is now targeted to version 6.5 next year.


Dear Kevinc and other Ahsay staff in this forum,

I'm really disappointed by the answers in this topic. And re-reading this topic has crystallized my biggest problem with Ahsay. It is the constantly delayed development schedule.

If you re-read the first few posts on this topic you will notice that it references the feature being planned for the v6 release which at the time of the post was supposed to come out in the last calendar quarter in 2008. However it never came out in 2008. In fact, as I write this, it is now September in 2009 and we still have no taste of v6. Not even a beta release. When I check the development plan right now it says v6 in December 2009 but will we see it then or not?

Not only that but important features that were supposed to be in v6 (like de-duplication) are now pushed out to v6.5. Who knows when that will come out. As of now, I don't even see it on the development plan.

And during this same time, Mac users of Ahsay have suffered no end of problems. As well, the 5.5.3.x release of OBS has been a series of bug fix after bug fix which has meant that I have had to constantly be apologizing to my customers. That has made me look like an idiot.

One thing I really do like about Ahsay is how your support engineers typically give honest and prompt answers in the forums here. And while that is nice and refreshing, I can't keep looking like and idiot in front of my customers. I have been promising them features like DD for a while now and it really damages my credibility when I can't deliver it. As a Service Provider of Data Protection, my credibility is pretty important for me to be able to successfully do business.

I have to say that I'm seriously considering phasing out my Ahsay service and looking for a server software provider that can efficiently update their software with features I need and stick to their development schedules.

Please, I don't want to leave Ahsay. But I need your help. What can you say that will make me want to stay? Help me stay with your platform. Give me some confidence that you you will actually release your software on time. Are you guys addressing this constantly slipping schedule at all? Or can I expect that v6 will not happen by December 2009 as it is currently scheduled for?

Sincerely,
Aslam
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