Symantec Fooled Me (Under Research)

In my post that compared the performance of various target deduplication vendors, I listed the Symantec NetBackup 5000 as having 7166 MB/s of throughput.  That was based on their data sheet (as were all numbers in that post).  What I later found out via multiple sources including this discussion that this number requires a NetBackup Media Server with the media server dedupe option enabledPureDisk clientThat is source dedupe, not target dedupe.  I’m not saying source dedupe is not valid, but I am saying that performance is measured very differently in that space and it doesn’t make sense to compare the two in the same table.  Even if I was to do that, I would have to add all the other source dedupe vendors.

Since Symantec chose not to publish target dedupe numbers for regular NetBackup backups, I have put an N/A in the performance column in my previous post.

Shame on you, Symantec for not having this caveat listed in your brochure.  You won’t fool me again.

Update (11/17): Symantec has clarified what was in that blog post (and posted a thread into the comment thread of that post) to say that this was media server dedupe, not client dedupe.  So I have crossed out what I originally said and updated the blog entry accordingly.  I’m going to republish the number, as it is equivalent to what happens with Data Domain’s Boost, where the data is deduped on the media server before getting to the appliance.  But I still think that they should publish the throughput number without dedupe.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

3 thoughts on “Symantec Fooled Me (Under Research)

  1. pelliman says:

    The NetBackup 5000 performance numbers you found in the data sheet are based upon our media server deduplication feature and do not represent performance with client-side deduplication. You read in a blog post that the NetBackup 5000 box supports client-side deduplication. Yes, it does accept client-side deduplication as an option, but the data sheet represents performance with media-server deduplication.

    The NetBackup 5000 is a primarily a grid-based deduplication solution. The grid approach enables customers to increase throughput with 2 levers – NetBackup media servers as heads and additional appliances for storage. With every extra media server, you get extra horsepower and larger ingest capacity which leads to higher backup performance. Additional NBU 5000 nodes also allow you to further increase throughput and storage. So performance scales upwards primarily with additional media server, but also with additional NBU 5000 nodes. Finally, our appliance works with both NetBackup 6.5 and NetBackup 7 environments.

    I hope this will lead you to correct your table and once again include the Symantec NetBackup 5000 results. Symantec is happy to answer any further questions.

  2. cpjlboss says:

    Sorry for the misinterpretation there, but it seemed obvious that there was dedupe happening outside the box, given the size of the incoming NICs. Before you put your qualifying comment in that thread, it sure looked like they were talking PureDisk client. I have clarified things here and in the other post.

    I do think you should publish a number without it though.

  3. steinweo says:


    I do not think Symantec fooled you at all. To me, it just sounds like you did not understand what a NetBackup 5000 appliance is. It is nothing else than PureDisk “server-side” bundle with hardware.

    As a backup specialist, you should know that PureDisk was integrated in version 6.5. In fact, PureDisk client code was at media server level. At that time, it was called PDDO (PureDisk Deduplication Option).

    NetBackup 5000 is nothing different, just that it is now bundle with hardware while before it was a software appliance kit.

    Maybe you should try to get more information next time.

    Best regards, Olivier.

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