Capacity-optimised storage (COS) from Avamar can now be backed up by EMC Centera's content-addressed storage (CAS). The result is that the product pair, Axion plus Centera, can store many year's worth of fixed content data. The company says this is a good fit to long-term archiving needs, particularly from regulatory, compliance and legal discovery standpoints.

Avamar has integrated Axion with Centera. Avamar's Axion de-dupes data at various levels before backing it up to disk. The result is that Avamar claims to store a year's worth of backup data in the disk space taken up by just one or two ordinary full backups.

Axion would hold the general backup and shorter-term access data with Centera holding the longer-term access data. Additionally, metadata and/or full text search from Fast Search & Transfer (FAST) or Google is qualified for use with the combined products.

Mark Avery, EMC Director, Centera Markets and Alliances, said, "The Axion/Centera solution efficiently protects enterprise data, creating a Consolidated Information Store (CIS) that can be leveraged as (an) information asset.”

I don't really know what the phrase 'leveraged as an information asset' means. After all, a paper clip can be leveraged as an information asset. But a multi-level disk backup and archive can make sense for businesses that have large amounts of reference data which they need to keep for a long time.

An Avamar customer, Jason Paige, Information Systems Manager at Integral Capital Partners, had this to say about Avamar's latest Axion software: "Avamar version 3.5 provides enterprise class backup and business continuance functionality. The new Enterprise Manager console allows me to see all my servers in one place. The capability to drill down and view the status of each backup job is awesome. Avamar's new file system interface will help us with legal discovery requests. With Avamar, we can search our entire enterprise securely and in one place. What took days in the past now take us seconds. The interoperability feature of version 3.5 goes beyond traditional backup and allows us to leverage our backups for substantially increased business value.”

It is beginning to appear that de-duping technology, like Avamar's, is going to become a normal part of the technology armoury used to fight the relentless rise of corporate data. Anything that can return us from the terabyte to the gigabyte level as far as backups are concerned has to be worth looking at.