Dell EMC has long been a leader in the data protection industry with a broad portfolio of products and solutions from its Data Protection Division (DPD). We recently attended Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas (April 30 to May 2) to see what was new in data protection and management. In addition to corporate keynotes and show floor discussions, we had a series of 1:1 discussions with DPD product management, marketing and engineering leaders to find out what they been working on.
Overall, there were no major announcements regarding DPD products coming out of the event. We heard from multiple sources that Dell’s current product strategy is to announce products only after they have been released and are shipping to customers. The DPD teams have been announcing products on a regular basis (such as the Data Domain DD3300 release in February) and based on what we heard, we can expect additional DPD releases throughout the year.
Here are some of my key data protection and management takeaways from the event in no particular order:
Aligning with Dell’s overall Digital Transformation. From the keynote presentations, Dell teams are driving the digital transformation around three key areas – IT transformation, Workforce transformation and Security transformation. The data protection teams are on this path as well, especially in the areas of IT and security transformation. They are also working to integrate across the broader Dell Technologies companies.
Multiple product dimensions with digital transformation. Various presentations discussed the major tenants of IT transformation that Dell teams are focused on – transforming to the cloud, embracing software-defined architectures (which also means using common Dell hardware wherever possible) and leveraging automation and analytics add intelligence to their offerings. This further translates into product directions that include simplification, modernization, cloud extensions, process automation, integrated solutions and even as-a-Service offerings.
Collaboration across Dell technology divisions. No better example than the Cyber Protect solution offering which was announced last year. Cyber Protect includes data protection, network virtualization and security capabilities from multiple Dell Technologies companies to air gap copies of data against cyber-attacks and ransomware. It also ties into partners like Index Engines to enable additional analysis of and insight into the data. According to DPD, the offering is resonating across various C-suite executives and gaining traction with customers (almost 100 to date) helped in part by marketing directly from Michael Dell. At the event, Iron Mountain announced a new offering called Iron Cloud Critical Data Protection and Recovery in which they leverage the Cyber Recovery solution and offer it as a cloud service to customers.
Continuing Data Domain advancements. The launch of the DD3300 earlier this year portends a trend we expect to see more of throughout the year – deploying the Data Domain capabilities as software on standard PowerEdge hardware. Data Domain Cloud Tier was mentioned during several 1:1s as a popular capability to enable Dell EMC customers to expand and tier to the cloud, lowering overall costs while keeping the data management centralized. Our discussions also indicate that Data Domain Virtual Edition will see several product enhancements as it takes on a bigger role in providing data protection capabilities across Dell infrastructure and in the cloud.
Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA). At the beginning of the year, IDPA 2.1 was released with improved ease of use and better integration with VMware. DPD executives expressed their commitment to integrated solutions like IDPA based on customer requests for this deployment model. As the components of this integrated solution (especially Data Domain) continue to evolve, so will these appliances.
Data Protection Suite for Applications. Another area of focus for our 1:1 meetings was this application suite which provides faster backups due to direct data paths from the applications to Data Domain and allows application owners to create and manage backups through their native application interfaces in a self-service approach. Mainly focused on databases today, the team mentioned that additional application areas are coming. This suite is one of two that includes the Enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM) product, however we did not have an opportunity to get an update on product plans.
Extending to the cloud. We discussed several developments related to extending data protection into the cloud. The first is tiering to the cloud with the Cloud Tier capabilities mentioned above. The second is disaster recovery in the cloud, which they support today using several DPD offerings including Data Domain, Avamar and VMware capabilities. Another area is protecting workloads born in the cloud using Cloud Snapshot Manager, a SaaS offering for creating and managing snapshots using native cloud APIs. The SaaS delivery models allows for rapid development and deployment of new capabilities including a release made during the show. Finally, we got an update on Dell’s activities with the Open Service Broker API initiative to add data protection services within cloud platforms such as Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.
Data Protection Suites and new pricing models. Offering new consumption models for Dell solutions was a topic of at least one keynote presentation. It was also mentioned by DPD executives as an area of focus, including subscription models for various offerings. The same executives also mentioned that the availability of Dell Financing options was a benefit for DPD customers.
In summary, there were no data protection announcements at Dell Technologies World, but all signs indicate continued development in multiple product areas for the DPD portfolio with announcements coming throughout the year. All the product teams seemed excited about their product directions and eager to launch the latest releases when they are ready.