The Inability to do a Server Recovery in Minutes May Become a Resume Generating Event; Interview with Dell’s Michael Grant, Part 1

In the last few years, anytime I get an update on new features from almost any provider of data protection products, I can almost guarantee they will talk about how they have improved their ability to do recovery. But perhaps no one better articulated why they need to improve recovery than Michael Grant, director of data protection product marketing for Dell’s systems and information management group. In this first installment in my interview series with Michael, he summarizes some of the latest features available in Dell’s data protection line and why organizations are laser-focused on recovery like never before.

Jerome:  Michael, good to speak with you and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to join me today. Can you begin by sharing what new features are available as part of the latest releases to Dell’s existing line of data protection products?

Michael: Jerome, good to speak with you again, as well. At a high level, the feature enhancements to all of our solutions are aimed at helping midmarket organizations tackle their digital initiatives. It’s very much the same story across the board when we talk to customers in that they consistently tell us about their challenges with legacy architecture.

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They have inherited digital architecture that they need to continue to manage and maintain. They have new applications that they are trying to put into their environments using their existing IT staff. A lot of these companies want to get further connected to their customers and many also want to get connected to the cloud in some way. And that’s really what’s driving all the enhancements we recently announced,

In the DR series line of disk backup appliances, we released three new versions, including the DR4300, which is an upgrade over the existing DR4000,, and an entry level offering called the DR4300e, which is designed for a smaller scale environment and comes with a price point that makes it more affordable for that small- to mid-size organization. Dell also released an upgrade to the DR6000 series, the DR6300, which features the increased capacity and scale that organizations in the upper midmarket to lower end of the enterprise are looking for from their backup appliances.

We also launched NetVault 11, and the focus there was really on more speed and more scalability. For instance, we added a more clients for broader levels of data protection. We have also took a look at the file system and how we can multi-stream it to achieve faster performance. In this case, what we’ve done is chunked up backup jobs to increase performance. That helps with the I/O load and facilitates putting in re-startable VMs. Our customers were pretty emphatic about this one. Don’t make me go back and restart an entire backup of a VM if I have a failure. Just let me restart from wherever I was.

As excited as we are about the enhancements to NetVault and the DR Line, the big headline in this latest round of releases is general availability of Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery, an entirely new product that integrates proven IP from AppAssure and other Dell solutions. For example, it brings in some of vRanger’s capabilities. It also brings in some capabilities from the continuous data protection product from the SonicWALL acquisition.

As you know, Jerome, from our work with DCIG, Dell’s plan is to judiciously select capabilities from the key products in our portfolio and combine them to create new, more versatile solutions based to meet our customers quickly changing requirements. The Rapid Recovery product is a great example of this work and is very much aimed at that zero-impact recovery that customers with new digital projects tell us is essential to have.

One last point. We have consistently seen server SLAs go down. As customers put in more servers – virtual or physical, a lot of times these are aimed toward the x86 or Linux market. Now the service level agreements (SLAs) for recovery for those servers, if they have an event, is anywhere from two hours to 15 minutes.

The SLAs used to be a lot longer. According to our research, if you go back no more than five years ago, they said they could get away with four hours on some critical stuff and a little bit longer on others. We now see those SLAs reduced to literally minutes. If a server recovery takes longer, it becomes a resume generating event for some member of the IT team.  This entire announcement is focused on that portion of the market, very much with those customers in mind.

In Part 2 of this interview series, Michael shares how Rapid Recovery positions an organization to recover a server in minutes.

In Part 3 of this interview series, Michael shares how both the NetVault and vRanger products are alive and kicking within Dell’s software portfolio.

Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Founder of DCIG, LLC Jerome Wendt is the President and Founder of DCIG, LLC., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in November 2007.

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