Dell NetVault and vRanger are Alive and Kicking; Interview with Dell’s Michael Grant, Part 3

Every now and then I hear rumors in the market place that the only backup software product that Dell puts any investment into is Dell Data Protection | Rapid Recovery while it lets NetVault and vRanger wither on the vine. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this third and final part of my interview series with Michael Grant, director of data protection product marketing for Dell’s systems and information management group, he refutes those rumors and illustrates how both the NetVault and vRanger products are alive and kicking within Dell’s software portfolio.

Jerome: Can you talk about the newest release of NetVault?

Michael: Dell Data Protection | NetVault Backup, as we now call it, continues to be an important part of our portfolio, especially if you are an enterprise shop that protects more than Linux, Windows and VMware. If you have a heterogeneous, cross-platform environment, NetVault does the job incredibly effectively and at a very good price. Netvault development keeps up with all the revs of the various operating systems. This is not a small list of to-dos. Every time anybody revs anything, we rev additional agents and provide updates to support them.


Source: Dell

 In this current rev we also improved the speed and performance of NetVault. We now have a protocol accelerator, so we can keep less data on the wire. Within the media server itself, we also had to improve the speed and we wanted to address more clients. Customers protect 1,000’s of clients using NetVault and they want to add even more than that. To accommodate them, we automate the installation so that it’s effective, easily scalable and not a burden to the administrator.

To speed up protection of the file system, we put multi-stream capability into the product, so one can break up bigger backup images into smaller images and then simultaneously stream those to the target of your choice. Obviously, we love to talk to organizations about putting the DR deduplication appliances in as that target, but because we believe in giving customers flexibility and choice, you can multi-stream to just about any target.

Re-startable VMware backup is another big pain point for a lot of our customers.. They really bent our development team’s ear and said, “Listen, going back and restarting the backup of an entire VMDK file is a pain if it doesn’t complete. You guys need to put an automatic restart in the product.

Think about watching a show on DVR. If you did not make it all the way through the show in the first sitting, you don’t want to have to go back to the beginning and re-watch the entire thing the next time you watch it. You want to pick up where you left off.

Well, we actually put similar capability in NetVault. We can restart the VM backup from wherever the backup ended. Then you can just pick back up knowing that you have the last decently mountable restore point at a point in time when it trailed off. Just restart the VM and get the whole job done. That cuts hours out of your day if you did not get a full backup of a VM.   .

Sadly, backing up VMDK files, particularly in a dynamic environment, can be a real challenge. It is not unusual to have one fail midway through the job or not have a full job when you go to look in the queue. Restarting that VM backup just made a lot of sense for the IT teams.

Those new features really highlight what is new in the NetVault 11 release that we just announced. Later in the first half of this year, you will see the accompanying updates to the agents for NetVault 11 so that we remain in sync with the latest releases from everybody from Oracle through Citrix and VMware, as well as any other agents that need to be updated to align with this NetVault 11 release.

Jerome:  Are the functionality of vRanger and AppAssure now being folded under the Rapid Recovery brand?

Michael: That’s a little too far. We are blending the technologies, to be sure. But we are still very much investing in vRanger and it remains a very active part of our portfolio. To quote the famous Mark Twain line, “the tales of vRanger’s death are greatly exaggerated.”


Source: Dell

We are still investing in it and it’s still very popular with customers. In fact, we made an aggressive price change in the fall to combine vRanger Pro with the standard vRanger offering. We just rolled in three years of service and made it all vRanger Pro. Then we dropped the price point down several hundred dollars, so that’s it less than any of the other entry level price points for virtualized backup in the industry. We will continue to invest in that product for dynamic virtual environments.

So, yes, you will absolutely still see it as a standalone product. However, even with that being the case, there is no reason that we should not reach in there and get some amazing code and start to meld that with Rapid Recovery. As DCIG has pointed out in its research and, as our customers tell us frequently, they would like to have as few backup tools in their arsenal as possible, so we will continue to blend those products to simplify data protection for our customers. The bottom line for us is, wherever the customer wants to go, we can meet them there with a solution that fits.

Jerome: How are you positioning each of these three products in terms of market segment?

Michael:  I do want to emphasize that we focus very much on the midmarket. We define midmarket as 500 to 5,000 employees. When we took a look at who really buys these products, we found that 90 plus percent of our solutions are being deployed by midmarket firms. The technologies that we have just talked about are well aligned to that market, and that makes them pretty unique. The midmarket is largely under served when it comes to IT solutions in general, but especially when it comes to backup and recovery. We are focusing on filling a need that has gone unfilled for too long.

In Part 1 of this interview series, Michael shares some details on the latest features available in Dell’s data protection line and why organizations are laser-focused on recovery like never before.

In Part 2 of this interview series, Michael elaborates upon how the latest features available in Dell’s data protection line enable organizations to meet the shrinking SLAs associated with these new recovery objectives.

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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