Backup and recovery used to generate as much interest among IT as watching paint dry. But with almost all organizations expecting near-24×7 uptime from all of their applications all of the time and potentially anywhere, that perspective has changed. Agentless backups, disaster recovery and instant recovery features found on backup software have the attention of IT like never before. In this seventh installment of my interview series with Brett Roscoe, General Manager, Data Protection for Dell Software, we take an in-depth look at Dell’s data protection portfolio and how it maps to these pressing backup and recovery concerns of IT managers today.
Jerome: You have talked about Dell’s growing reputation as a software provider. Please talk about how its data protection products as part of Dell’s overall software portfolio and what they formally bring to the market.
Brett: Absolutely. First thing people need to understand is that we are very focused on integration. We are very focused on delivering an experience whereby no matter what product brings you into the family of Dell data protection customers, you will benefit from the IP that we have across the entire portfolio.
That’s a key point. We do not want to keep these products as standalone technologies. We are working very hard to provide the capabilities in each of these products or the advantages and value propositions in each of these products across the portfolio. Having said that, let me quickly talk about where the portfolio came from, and what are all the different pieces of IP that we have developed or acquired, and how they fit together.
The first piece of IP was an acquisition called Ocarina. Ocarina was a leading deduplication and compression technology company. At the time we acquired them, their big focus was actually in the primary storage market around vertical markets like imaging and video. Their IP is really very high horsepower kind of stuff that works well against any number of data sets.
The fact that we focused this business on backup and recovery really speaks to the need and the real value that deduplication and compression bring to the backup and recovery market.
Ocarina is certainly an area that we are investing in and you are seeing that technology come to market in the form of the DR line of backup and deduplication appliances. You also see it in our NetVault product and will see it in other places in our portfolio as time goes by.
The next one is AppAssure. AppAssure was an acquisition designed to meet next generation backup and recovery capabilities. It is our application consistent technology that allows customers to have five minute RPOs and RTOs in minutes, leveraging features like virtual standby, live recovery, and change block tracking. It’s the kind of technology that really provides that very high performance recovery capability for customers..
The next product is vRanger, which is our leading product for agentless backup of VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper V. It is designed to meet the needs of the virtualization IT administrator who is very centered around the VMware or Hyper-V environments and management tools.
This individual can really leverage the vRanger product because we an integrated and focused approach on that ecosystem. We provide agentless backup of VMware and HyperV, we provide plug-ins, and we can work within the VMware and Hyper-V toolset. Our look and feel is very much like the Hyper V and VMware products, so customers who are used to those hypervisor management tools get up and running very quickly with vRanger.
Then there’s NetVault. NetVault is our product that, in terms of OS and application support, has the broadest portfolio support of any of our products. It comes from a more traditional backup and recovery product background, but it’s one we are heavily investing in order to ensure it evolves to continue meeting the needs of the modern customer… Over time, you’ll see NetVault as a great example of Dell leveraging capabilities from other parts of our portfolio to enhance existing offerings for customers.
NetVault has been around for a long time and was part of the Quest acquisition. It continues to be a very popular product among customers who are looking to augment or maybe centralize their data protection environment from multiple Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), where maybe one piece of backup software is supporting one OS and another is supporting another OS. You can consolidate them on NetVault and meet all of your application and OS protection requirements with one tool.
Each of these products was acquired at a different time, but there is a lot of history in terms of how these products came about. Almost all of them came up through startups, from people thinking about how to be disruptive and create unique capabilities. If you look at our portfolio, I believe we have the youngest, most IP-rich portfolio in the industry. Now we’re focusing on integrating and provide as much value as we can to customers. But you can’t integrate great technologies unless you have great technologies to begin with, so I’m very excited that we have these tools in our toolset in order to make that initiative successful.
In Part VI of this interview series, Brett and I discuss Dell’s growing role as a software provider.
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.