Hewlett-Packard has launched de-duplication software designed to speed up and simplify data backup operations in its high-end and midrange disk-based backup systems.

The de-duplication software will be available as an option for HP's StorageWorks Virtual Library System 6000 and VLS9000 products next month. It will be available as an option for HP's VLS6200 and VLS120000 backup systems in September, according to David Rogers, product manager for HP's StorageWorks business unit.

The high-end VLS line, a repackaging of Sepaton's virtual tape library (VTL) technology, will use Sepaton's DeltaStor de-duplication technology.

Rogers said the company's recently revamped HP Labs unit developed de-duplication software for the HP StorageWorks D2D Backup Systems 2500 and 4000 models that are designed for small and midsize firms and remote branch offices. The software is currently available starting at $6,500 (£3,284).

"We're expecting to make a pretty big splash with these products," remarked Rogers, who claims that HP's de-duplication enables storage disk utilisation for backups to be increased by a factor of 50. However, he acknowledged that HP is "behind its competitors" in offering de-duplication capabilities to disk-based storage products.

Just last month, EMC added policy-based data de-duplication and disk power-down functions to its high-end virtual tape library offering. In February, Hitachi Data Systems disclosed plans to bundle de-duplication software from Diligent Technologies onto three virtual tape library appliances for midsize and enterprise data centres. Meanwhile, NetApp in May 2007 unveiled de-duplication tools for its NearStore R200 and FAS storage systems.

Demand for the data compression technology has exploded in recent months as corporate users increasingly choose to spend IT budget dollars on de-duplication tools to help control and manage massive data growth.

De-duplication works at the sub-file level, wiping out redundant data in storage systems. Rogers said that de-duplication technology allows businesses to use less bandwidth, lowering IT overhead costs in part by reducing the need for equipment to power and cool spinning disks in storage arrays.