How should I factor data deduplication technology into my virtual machines?
The interesting thing about dedupe technology for virtual machines (VMs) is that it can play a different role in VMs than it does in other places, such as backup, for example.
Deduplication technology is commonly thought of as a method for improving overall capacity. In the case of backups, deduplication can be used to reduce backup media consumption. Similarly, performing deduplication prior to writing data to the cloud can reduce the total amount of data sent across the wire, thereby improving the overall capacity of your WAN link.
When it comes to VMs, however, deduplication can be just as much about performance as it is about capacity. Dedupe technology is important for VMs because of the commonalities that exist between virtual machines.
Let’s suppose that a particular organization had a host server running 10 VMs, and all of those were running Windows Server 2012. Because each VM is running the same operating system, there's obviously redundancy across the VMs, and deduplication can reduce their storage footprint.
At the same time, deduplication can also improve performance for those VMs. If the volume containing the VM files has been duplicated, storage blocks will be shared among most -- if not all -- of the virtual machines. If the storage blocks are cached to memory, Windows can access them much more quickly than if the storage blocks all resided solely on disk.
Caching storage blocks to memory can happen even in non-deduplicated systems. In the case of a deduplicated host server, block caching can result in a much greater overall performance gain than might be possible if the OS had to cache storage blocks individually for each VM because each cached storage block can conceivably benefit multiple virtual machines.
Dig Deeper on Data Storage Solutions for a Virtual Environment
Related Q&A from Brien Posey
Hyper-converged architectures let users scale easily by adding nodes as needed, but it's important to be aware of vendor- and hypervisor-specific ...continue reading
Virtual desktop infrastructure environments are complex and have to work with many variables. A hyper-converged infrastructure can reduce costs and ...continue reading
It's possible to design hyper-converged hardware to run several hypervisors at the same time, but various factors make this a scenario we're unlikely...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.