Research: Deduplication Grows Up

Oct 28, 2011


Dedupe Goes Mainstream

Data deduplication adoption is on the rise, according to our 2012 InformationWeek Data Deduplication Survey. Forty-six percent of respondents have deduplication technology in limited or wide production use in their environments, a solid increase from 37% in last year’s survey. However, that rise also seems to be tempered by a growing recognition of deduplication’s limits. 

For instance, while respondents who are using the technology are generally seeing respectable compression ratios, the number of respondents who got stellar results last year (30-to-1 or better) have dropped from 20% to just 11% this year. 

Our survey also shows that it’s taking some IT shops longer to see a return on investment than in previous surveys. For instance, 36% achieved ROI on their deduplication purchase in seven to 12 months last year. This year, that number is down to 26%. Meanwhile, respondents who say it takes more than a year to see an ROI rose from 11% last year to 21% this year. 

Satisfaction with dedupe technology is also less enthusiastic. For instance, while overall satisfaction numbers held fairly steady (72% are satisfied or very satisfied this year, vs. 74% last year), a greater percentage of respondents was very satisfied last year than this: 30% in our 2011 report vs. 22% in our 2012 report.
Is the bloom off the rose of deduplication? Not necessarily. We believe it’s more an effect of market maturation and increased deployment. For one thing, the technology is moving out of the hands of enthusiastic early adopters and into the general IT population. For another, as deduplication moves beyond its sweet spot of backup and archive, where duplicate data abound, it gets applied to use cases where fewer identical data chunks exist. This will contribute to a decrease in compression ratios, which in turn may affect IT’s attitude toward the technology.

In other words, deduplication performs as advertised, but it’s also just one tool among many. IT must manage its expectations around deduplication by understanding its ideal deployments as well as its limitations. That’s a sure sign of maturity. (R3601111)

Survey Name: InformationWeek 2012 Data Deduplication Survey
Survey Date: September 2011
Region: North America
Number of Respondents: 209 business technology professionals
Purpose: To determine the state of deduplication product adoption

Research Report