Dell Technologies is evolving its data protection strategy to emphasize data management. As it does so, it is focusing its portfolio on being both “software-defined” (in that solutions may be deployed on-premises as stand-alone software or pre-integrated into an appliance), and “multi-dimensional” (in that solutions are scalable, and able to support data from any source, that lives on any target, and that supports any service level agreement).
The Dell Technologies data protection portfolio is comprised of the company’s Data Domain systems, Data Protection Suite software, and its Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) offerings. To the IDPA line, Dell Technologies adds a new smaller capacity (8-24TB) DP4400 model, which complements the previously existing DP5800, DP8300 and DP8800 offerings with one that is more affordable for smaller organizations. Later this year, the company will introduce a field upgrade kit to enable customers to expand to the DP4400 to 96 TB of capacity. Customers may also tier to the public cloud for additional capacity.
Introducing Dell Technologies PowerProtect
To its data protection lineup, Dell Technologies adds new PowerProtect Software and integrated appliance offerings. The PowerProtect software is designed to form the foundation of the company’s shift towards data management. It is a stand-alone data protection software that can be deployed in a VMware virtual machine infrastructure to provide customers with flexibility in terms of the underlying infrastructure on which it runs. Data can be tiered to the cloud for long-term retention without the need for an additional gateway. It introduces machine learning to automatically optimize data placement according to deduplication and data restore performance requirements. To better empower application and data owners, backup and recovery jobs may be done natively from applications such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases. At the same time, IT teams retain governance controls, for example over retention and tiering policies, to ensure compliance and that service level agreements (SLAs) are met.
PowerProtect also introduces software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based management capabilities that centralize analysis, monitoring, and troubleshooting across multiple PowerProtect hardware installations. In addition to streamlining management, the new SaaS portal will provide operational intelligence that can help to better optimize the data protection environment according to various compliance and retention requirements. This intelligence can also accelerate the time to identifying and resolving issues.
The PowerProtect X400 pre-configured appliance introduces a number of new capabilities to the Dell Technologies data protection portfolio for the first time. It introduces the ability to not only scale up, but also to scale out, configurations. The appliances are deployed in clusters that begin with a “platform” cube (a four node PowerEdge server), and a capacity cube that may be all-flash or hybrid (this is also the first time that Dell Technologies is introducing an all-flash system to its data protection portfolio). Hybrid capacity cubes offer 96 TB of usable storage capacity with restore speeds of 400 GB per hour and ingest throughput of 9 TB per hour. All-flash capacity cubes offer 112 TB of usable capacity with restore speeds of 900 GB per hour and ingest throughput of 18 TB per hour. Customers may scale up to a total of four capacity cubes per platform cube, and they may also linearly scale out performance and capacity cubes in line as the limitations of the initial configuration are reached. The PowerProtect software scales across the entire cluster, rather than just the capacity cubes that are associated with an individual platform cube.
PowerProtect is an interesting foundation for Dell EMC’s go-forward data management strategy. Its ability to scale up and out, flexibility to be deployed and consumed in multiple models, and its application of machine learning across the environment stands to help storage professionals to more easily address splintered protection requirements, across massive amounts of secondary storage that are growing even faster than primary storage. Meanwhile, it introduces a services-based architecture that stands to enable the data protection environment to be compartmentalized according to these varying environments, and to accelerate customers’ deployments as well as Dell’s own innovation. Dell Technologies is taking steps towards centralizing its varying solutions under a single umbrella, but the portfolio remains vast with some areas of overlap between legacy and new offerings, which may add some confusion and some complexity for storage managers working with Dell.