Dell Enters Dedupe Appliance Market with DR4000

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

Dell's new backup appliance features deduplication technology, pitting the vendor head-to-head against competitors such as Data Domain and IBM.

Dell is announcing new capabilities and features within its Fluid Data architecture storage product lines at Dell Storage Forum in London, England. Included in the list of new and enhanced products is Dell’s first backup appliance featuring deduplication technology, marking the vendor’s entrance into appliance-based deduplication and going head-to-head against competitors like Data Domain and IBM.

The Dell DR4000 appliance provides disk-to-disk backup with deduplication and compression technologies. According to Dell, the DR4000 can reduce time needed to back up data by up to 15 times.

"It’s all about IP, and even though it’s not our first entry into the backup space – we’ve been shipping tape libraries with CommVault and Symantec for quite awhile – this is our first product that is a dedicated disk-to-disk appliance with dedupe," said Mike Davis, director of product marketing for NAS and backup storage products at Dell.

The deduplication and compression technologies included in the DR4000 come from Dell’s acquisition of Ocarina in July 2010. The DR4000 is the second Ocarina-enabled product Dell has released since the acquisition was completed. Dell is casting a wide net with the launch of its first deduplication-enabled appliance. Three models will be available – two models aimed at small and medium businesses, and a third (which tops out at 130TB of logical capacity) being targeted at enterprise customers.

"The DR4000 is a product targeted at backup workflows in the mid-size business up to mid-enterprise, down into the SMB and off into the remote office workflows," Davis said.

Customers can use the DR4000 to retain more backup images for longer periods of time, including up to 90 days. According to Davis, customers could potentially eliminate tape backups with the DR4000 or use the disk-to-disk backup capabilities of the appliance to complement existing tape backups.

"We’re very much focused on value and ease of use here, and we think it’s going to be a great channel product," he said. Dell is providing all-inclusive pricing so that all features, both current and future, will be available to customers without the need to purchase additional licenses for specific features, he added.

Dell also announced a new software version of Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.0, which is the first major release of a Compellent product since Dell acquired the company a year ago. Storage Center 6.0 marks the software’s transition from 32-bit to 64-bit architecture, a move praised by Scott Winslow, CEO of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based Dell reseller and an early Compellent partner.

"The Compellent announcement is of particular interest to us. They’re going to be going to a 64-bit operating system as part of their architecture. Today it’s a 32-bit architecture. We’re very bullish about the Compellent product," said Winslow, who has been a Compellent partner for eight years and became a Dell partner upon Dell’s acquisition of Compellent.

Winslow noted that Compellent’s software was designed for persistence rather than obsolescence, and it provides an easy way to upgrade without having to do a forklift replacement. He added that his customers appreciate the investment protection of Compellent products.

The latest version of the software also expands on Dell’s integration and partnership with VMware. It includes several VMware-specific enhancements, including Dell Compellent VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration, Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) for Site Recovery Manager 5 and vSphere 5 Client Plug-In and Enterprise Manager for vSphere 5 integration.

With a focus on storage, Winslow also said that the launch of a disk-to-disk backup appliance with deduplication technology is another strong step forward for Dell in the storage space.

"Dell has never had a dedupe appliance, a category that Data Domain made really popular and revolutionized five or six years ago," Davis said. "They acquired Ocarina, and how is that going to play out? Now we’re seeing that Dell is introducing their own dedupe appliance into the market place. It gives Dell a broad range and gives us a wider solution set to sell."

Dell is also introducing a new product designed to optimize Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure through improved data and storage management. SharePoint Infrastructure Optimization (SIO) is a combination of services, hardware and software, and it addresses issues businesses are facing with the increasing adoption of SharePoint, Davis said.

Additionally, Dell also announced expanded for support for Dell Force10 and Dell PowerConnect Ethernet products, as well as Brocade 16Gb fibre channel switches.