Quantum has produced new data de-duplication technology that it claims will reduce storage needs by a factor of between 10 and 50.

Two new models of its DX family of virtual tape libraries (VTL), the DXi3500 and DXi5500, have been designed for remote offices and data centres respectively. They are capable of storing from 1.5TB to 11TB of data as well as replicating that data over a WAN.

The arrays can act as network-attached storage (NAS) using Gigabit Ethernet for file-level data, or they can be used as part of a storage-area network (SAN) using either the iSCSI and Fibre Channel protocols for block-level data transfers. They will be available by the end of January.

Data de-duplication, or data reduction, involves looking for redundant blocks of data within backup jobs and storing or replicating only the unique blocks so users can recover from disk for longer periods of time. The technology also creates efficiencies when moving larger volumes of backup data between sites over a WAN by reducing bandwidth requirements.

Both VTLs are able to replicate data over a WAN for disaster recovery purposes between distributed sites such as data centres and regional offices. Quantum acquired the data de-duplication technology for its arrays through its buyout of rival ADIC earlier this year.

Other vendors of data de-duplication technology include EMC, Data Domain, Diligent, Exagrid, FalconStor and Sepaton, as well as larger vendors such as Network Appliance and Symantec.

According to Gartner, prices for data de-duplication software range from about $9,000 per terabyte for Avamar's product to $19,000-$105,000 per terabyte in hardware products such as Data Domain's appliance and gateways.

The suggested retail price for a starter DXi3500 begins at $24,000 with 1.5 TB of capacity with an average retention time of two to three months. Quantum said it is not releasing any other pricing until January.

The DXi3500 is a 2U-high (3.5in) box that holds four or eight 500GB or 750GB serial ATA drives for a total of 4.5TB usable capacity. The DXi5500 is a 5U-high (8.75in) box that can hold 12 or 24 disk drives for a total usable capacity of 11TB.

Biggar said that data de-duplication technology is still leading edge, but that 2007 will be the year it takes off because of its ability to reduce capacity requirements.