Data protection has evolved well beyond the point where one can backup and recover data doing once a day backups. Continuous data protection, array-based snapshots, asynchronous replication, high availability, disaster recovery, backup and recovery in the cloud and long term backup retention are now all part of managing backup.
However, the real question becomes, “Can one product even manage all of these different facets of backup and recovery? Or should a backup solution even try to accomplish this feat?” In this fifth installment of my interview series with Brett Roscoe, General Manager, Data Protection for Dell Software, we discuss this very important question of whether one backup product can do it all in today’s data center.
Jerome: There are a lot of demands being placed on backup and recovery software these days so the question I have you is this, can one backup and software product still do it all to meet these different customer demands? If so, why? If not, why not?
Brett: That’s a great question and it is hard to provide a yes or no answer to that question. Due to the rapid pace of change in IT, we see lots of variables that are changing the landscape including software defined data center, container based application rollout and the ongoing trend of virtualization and cloud adoption. As a result, customers’ requirements for data protection are changing, and that in turn is changing what they look for and need from data protection vendors like Dell and others.
Given that the needs of customers are rapidly evolving, we as a company spend a lot of time working to make sure we provide the new technologies and unique capabilities that can help them meet those needs. That’s one of the core things Dell drives for with every decision we make. As a general manger, I need to make sure that my development teams are constantly working to ensure that our technologies keep up with the changing marketplace.
To tie it back to the initial question, there are certainly ways to consolidate and simplify data protection and disaster recovery. So, for example, I talked about our DR line of target-based disk backup and deduplicating appliances. Those products today not only work seamlessly with the other products in our portfolio, but they can also work with all other backup products a customer might already have in their environment.
If customers want to look for way to consolidate technology, the DR series is a great place to start. The DR products are designed to run in a heterogeneous environment with all applications, any OS, and all backup software. But there are certainly advantages to start consolidating in some of those areas. We have a broad portfolio, , which really has one of the broadest capabilities in the industry and we’ve really worked to tune those products to work better together. Many of our products like AppAssure and vRanger provide very rapid recovery times and provide native replication tools that can extend traditional backup and recovery to more of a business continuity solution.
We are also really driving to integrate across that product line. You are starting to see more and more capabilities of each of these different products within each of the other product lines. We have a lot of integration going on between those products and, over time, you will be able to do more and more to address different use case scenarios within these products.
When we talk to customers, we certainly see an interest in consolidation. Customers are moving away from individual replication tools, high availability tools, and tools that they use for offsite data management, and at Dell, we’ve moved to a place where we can now provide all of that in one tool.
We can do things like data protection using traditional backup and recovery. We can replicate each of those snapshots to an offsite location. We can stand up each of those snapshots in an offsite location or onsite. You can see how that might start moving you to centralize more of your capabilities into the Dell data protection tool set, and to that end, we recently introduced our backup and disaster recovery suite that provides a capacity based license by which you can use all of the products in our portfolio and consolidate their respective capabilities there.
In Part VI of this interview series, Brett and I discuss Dell’s growing role as a software provider.
In Part VII of this interview series, Brett provides an in-depth explanation of Dell’s data protection portfolio.
In Part VIII of this interview series, Brett and I discuss the trend of vendors bundling different but complementary data protections products together in a single product suite.