The early days of the de-duplication target market could be characterized as the Wild West according to 451 Research, with a slew of startups shooting it out in an emerging market with tremendous potential. That phase was followed by a consolidation phase where the big guns (most notably EMC and IBM) acquired startups in a buy-is-better-than-build spree. A few smaller companies remain, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the disk-based de-duplication market will likely be dominated by a few large players. 451 Research thinks that HP, although coming from behind, has a good chance of joining those ranks because of the single-product approach to end-to-end de-duplication in its homegrown StoreOnce software, which for the time being, appears to have the performance advantage.
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