The data protection market received a jolt of energy with today’s announcement from Dell Technologies Inc. of several new services as part of its security portfolio.
The announcements involved a new PowerProtect appliance, enhancements for Dell’s APEX storage services, and an agreement to use Google Cloud for cyber recovery.
“We have 1,700 customers protecting 14 exabytes of data in the public cloud today, and that foundation gives us a unique vantage point,” said Travis Vigil (pictured), senior vice president of product management of the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell. “Customers want simple solutions, they want us to help them modernize, and they want us to, as the highest priority, maintain that high degree of resiliency that they expect from our data protection solutions. Each of these announcements delivers on those pillars.”
Vigil spoke with Dave Vellante, industry analyst for theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during theCUBE’s “The Future of Multicloud Data Protection Is Here” event. He was joined by Jeff Boudreau, president of the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell, and they discussed the latest announcements in detail and how customer feedback shaped the company’s data protection strategy. (* Disclosure below.)
PowerProtect and APEX enhancements
Dell announced a new PowerProtect Data Manager appliance to extend protection solutions within the enterprise IT environment. PowerProtect Data Manager enables application consistent backup and restore functions, with support for Kubernetes and VMware hybrid cloud environments.
“We have this strong foundation of experience but also intellectual property components that have been battle-tested in the market,” Vigil said. “We’ve put them together in a new simple integrated appliance that combines the best of target appliance capabilities with modern, simple software.”
Dell launched APEX two years ago to deliver cloud services for a range of data workload requirements in an as-a-service model. Earlier this year, the company introduced backup services for APEX and recently added cyber recovery support. APEX will now include additional protection capabilities as part of today’s announcements.
“We’re expanding APEX data storage services to include a data protection option,” Vigil said. “It’s a pay-as-you-go solution that streamlines the process of customers purchasing, deploying, maintaining and managing their backup software. The customer specifies their base capacity, specifies their performance tier, whether they want a one-year or three-year term, and we take it from there. It’s a simple user experience, all exposed through an APEX console.”
Cyber recovery vault
Along with its product enhancements, Dell has expanded its data protection approach to encompass the three largest hyperscalers. The firm added Amazon Web Services Inc. to its PowerProtect cyber-recovery solution in December and followed that with the addition of Microsoft Azure in May. As part of its announcements this week, Dell is welcoming Google Cloud to the cyber-recovery fold as well.
“It means we are available in all three of the major clouds, and it provides customers with the flexibility to secure their data no matter if they are running on-premises, in a colocation facility, at the edge, or a public cloud,” Vigil said. “The nice thing about this announcement is the ability to use Google Cloud as a cyber-recovery vault that allows customers to isolate critical data. They can recover that data from the vault back to on-premises or from that vault back to running their cyber-protection or data-protection solutions in the public cloud.”
Dell’s vault-driven solution using PowerProtect has attracted the attention of vertical industry groups. The non-profit, finance business-led Sheltered Harbor initiative chose Dell’s PowerProtect Cyber Recovery offering in 2020 as the first turnkey data vaulting solution to receive its endorsement.
“Our cyber vault is the only solution in the industry that is endorsed by Sheltered Harbor to meet the needs of the financial industry,” Boudreau said. “We protect data across any cloud and any workload.”
The latest announcements from Dell are being driven in response to feedback from customers, according to the executives interviewed by SiliconANGLE. Attention-grabbing headlines that highlight software supply chain threats, expensive ransomware attacks, and the disruption of critical infrastructure are leading IT managers to find solutions that will allow their systems to withstand the onslaught.
“The big challenge customers have seen is inadequate cyber resiliency,” Boudreau noted. “They are feeling very exposed. And with cyberattacks being more sophisticated, if something goes wrong it’s a real challenge for them to get back up and running quickly. Customers want to simplify IT, extract more value from their data, and ensure their data is protected and recoverable.”
Boudreau’s point around the need to simplify IT in the interest of strengthening data protection offers a glimpse into the company’s data protection market strategy. This involves speed in deployment of its solutions and advances in security for virtual machines.
Along with the release of new products and services, Dell has published a set of benchmark data generated by the Principled Technologies testing lab. The tests were run in Principled Technologies’ offsite datacenter facilities against a competing product.
The benchmark results showed that Dell’s PowerProtect Data Manager can be deployed in half the time relative to the competing product. Dell also provided benchmark results for its system to perform incremental backups and restore data from a backup on VMware virtual machines.
“The real difference is backup and restore performance for VMware workloads,” said SiliconANGLE’s Vellante. “Dell has developed transparent snapshot capabilities to fundamentally change the way that virtual machines are protected. This leads to faster backup and restores with less impact on virtual infrastructure.”
In building solutions around data vaults and cyber recovery, Dell has leveraged artificial intelligence for its protection offerings. The company characterizes this as “AI-powered resilience” and it built CyberSense intelligence into its PowerProtect Cyber Recovery offering. The goal is to anticipate attacks and speed response times, particularly in vault settings.
“The intelligence that goes around that vault can look at detecting cyberattacks, help customers speed time to recovery and provide AI and ML for early diagnosis of a cyberattack,” Vigil said.
This week’s PowerProtect, APEX and Google Cloud announcements signal that Dell believes it has an important role to play in enterprise data protection and IT security. The company’s focus on simplicity and resilience are clearly designed to address top-of-mind customer concerns amid an ever-expanding threat landscape.
“We take a modern, simple and resilient approach,” Boudreau said. “Our software-defined architecture is designed to meet the needs of not only today, but into the future. We believe there is a better way and better approach in how to handle this.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of the theCUBE’s “The Future of Multicloud Data Protection Is Here”:
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the “The Future of Multicloud Data Protection Is Here” event. Neither Dell Technologies Inc., the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)