Dell Enters Dedupe Appliance Market with DR4000

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.

 

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