Real-time compression is a game changer when it comes to disaster recovery (DR), according to Offis executive director, Craig Allen.

Using real-time compression in a test, the Cloud service provider found that half a SAN (storage area network) is able to get comparable performance to a similarly configured SAN with double the disks.

Cloud Storage - Comparison of 30 Services

"We run our Cloud service on an IBM V7000 SAN, and we're getting approximately 37,000 IOPS [input/output operations per second]," he said.

"Our calculations show that we could double the capacity and still have more than 36,100 IOPS."

With a difference of only a few hundred IOPS, Allen said most users will not be able to tell the different between the two.

"Following the extensive testing we carried out, we're currently looking at putting it into our production environment and talking to some of our customers about it," he said.

Changing perceptions

Normally when people think of compression, there are concerns about latency and the IOPS they can get through the compression.

While real-time compression may bring benefits, Allen said clients do not know about them and that is where the opportunities may lie.

"Once you see how the technology works, you understand why it is a leap ahead of what other people are doing," he said.

Allen said the real benefits are in de-duping at a block level and not a file level, as that can deliver up to 50 per cent compression.

"It is also three to four times faster than other traditional solutions such as tape drives, so it is as close to wired speed as you'll get for compression," he said.

Allen admits that businesses are less likely to spend as much on their DR setup compared to other parts of their IT operation, as "hopefully they'll never have to use it and they don't mind if it runs a bit slower."

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.