Dell EMC Strengthens Data Protection for the Software-Defined Data Center

Dell EMC has long demonstrated its leadership in data protection and continues to extend that role with data protection offerings for the software-defined data center (SDDC) — notably, those data centers under the aegis of the VMware family of products.

Dell EMC Data Protection Suite Family

But before we get into the company’s latest product announcements that came this week at VMworld 2017, we should review a major focal point of the Dell EMC Data Protection Division, namely the Dell EMC Data Protection Suite Family of software products. These family members emphasize who they are for (e.g. customer-focused) or what they do (e.g., purpose-focused) rather than the brand names once associated with them.

This is important, as a particular solution may blend or combine software products and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an IT organization. For example, Dell EMC’s Avamar and NetWorker are among the many software products available in the Enterprise Edition. Moreover, an original software product might be used in more than one product. A case in point: NetWorker is available for both the Enterprise Edition and the Backup family members.

The Dell EMC Data Protection Suite Family offers features/functions, including:

  • Data Protection Suite Enterprise Edition — with the Enterprise Edition, IT organizations have access to all of Dell EMC’s software products, including those for continuous replication, snapshots, traditional backup and archive.
  • Data Protection Suite for Backup — traditional backup and recovery including disk-based backup, snapshot-based backup, and backup to tape
  • Data Protection Suite for Applications — the focus is on ensuring the meeting of stringent service level agreement data protection objectives for mission-critical applications through such capabilities as copy data management and direct backup to Data Domain storage.
  • Data Protection Suite for VMware — data protection for VMware-based environments, including backup and recovery and continuous replication as well as monitoring, analysis, and search capabilities are the focus of this suite family member.
  • Data Protection Suite for Archive — archiving to save operational costs (such as reclaiming primary data storage) as well as serving compliance and regulatory needs, such as serving as the basis for e-discovery is the purpose of this suite family member.

Data protection for the software-defined data center

The SDDC is a transformation from how business was supported by traditional data centers and their collections of legacy applications. Instead, the modern SDDC features IT infrastructure assets that are physically- service-, and IT operational software-related. On the physical side, the move is toward converged/hyperconverged infrastructures. On the service side, the infrastructure is increasingly being delivered as a service (IaaS). In addition, the infrastructure management software is becoming increasingly automated.

Dell EMC stresses that automation is especially important for the infrastructure that supports data protection for VMware-based data centers. The company believes that it is the only vendor that automates VM backup that includes not only policy management, but also data movers/proxies and protection storage. That architecture matters in order to provide such benefits as being able to eliminate media server sprawl as well as faster backups and restores.

Although architecture and related functions, especially automation, are general themes for Dell EMC data protection for the SDDC, the company also made specific announcements at VMworld 2017.

The first focuses on data protection for virtualized mission critical applications. This utilizes the Dell EMC Data Protection Suite for Applications applied to a VMware-based environment to ensure the necessary levels of data protection. In order for an IT organization to move a mission-critical application to a virtualized SDDC environment, the application must receive the same enterprise-class service-level agreement support (such as uptime availability and fast application restoration if a downtime problem were to occur) as the application received in its legacy environment.

As an example, the application suite member delivers self-service control to Oracle and SQL Server database application owners for day-to-day activities. That ensures that the overall environment is under IT governance and control to make certain that application data protection compliance, availability and performance (such as time to recover) remains paramount with automation being key to the process.

The second announcement is a new Dell EMC data protection solution for hybrid cloud environments leveraging VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) where the goal is cost containment (on Amazon S3) or overall performance (with Amazon EBS). This hybrid cloud solution integrates on-premises IT infrastructures to enhance data protection of AWS-based assets. It also features automated operations both on- and off-premises, as well as what Dell EMC claims as best-in-class data deduplication.

Mesabi musings

Dell EMC has never rested on its data protection laurels, and is unlikely to ever do so. The company has rightly recognized how many of its enterprise customers are making a concerted move to VMware-based software-defined data center environments. As a consequence, Dell EMC is proactively evolving its data protection portfolio to address the needs of the SDDC and those customers.

A major architectural focus in this transition has been on automating the software that manages all levels of the data protection stack, from policy management at the top to the data protection storage itself at the bottom. Specifically, Dell EMC has enhanced the Data Protection Suite for Applications family member to deal with SDDC-supported mission critical applications. It has also enabled data protection support for VMware Cloud on Amazon AWS. By doing so, Dell EMC is continuing to build on its already important leadership role in data protection.