In discussing hardening characteristics in terms of crystalline lattice defects, in most cases the properties and kinetics of dislocations and their arrangement have been considered. However, during plastic deformation also vacancies and/or vacancy type defects are produced in very high densities which are typically close to those of vacancies in thermal equilibrium at the melting point. The effect of high vacancy concentrations on the hardening characteristics is twofold: (i) direct effects by impeding the movement of dislocations (ii) indirect one by inducing climbing and annihilation of edge dislocations leading to softening or even absolute decreases in strength. This paper presents first measurements of deformation induced vacancies in SPD materials which have been achieved by combined evaluation of resistometry, calorimetry and X-ray diffraction. The density of vacancies during and after SPD deformation is found to be markedly higher than in cases of conventional deformation and/or coarse grained material which may be partly attributed to the particular conditions of SPD namely the enhanced hydrostatic pressure as well as the changes in deformation path. It is suggested to make this high vacancy concentration responsible for both dynamic and static recovery and/or recrystallisation processes recently found during and after SPD, being potential reasons for enhanced ductility and superplasticity which only occur with nanomaterials originating from SPD. Recent publications show that in alloys, SPD induced vacancies can also enable the existence of phases which do not appear in the equilibrium diagram.