While Dell is suffering from some of the same woes as its much bigger competitor, HP, i.e. a stumbling economy, moribund PC business and concerns about its future, it too has chosen this week as a good time to shift the spotlight to storage. In Dell’s case, the focus is on backup and recovery (BRC – backup, recovery and continuity), and while the company is lumped in with the other category (8.5% of the total market) for purpose-built backup appliances (PBBA), it believes its DR4100 appliance will significantly expand its potential market.
Based on the company’s latest PowerEdge 12th generation servers, the DR4100 is a disk backup target appliance with built-in deduplication and compression technology designed to significantly reduce the amount of storage required, said Peter Waugh, director of product management, Dell Storage. It will replace the DR4000 (at GA in mid-March), which was Dell’s initial entry into the PBBA market in January 2012, he said.
Like virtually every other storage category (excluding Dell’s leadership of the iSCSI SAN segment), EMC dominates the PBBA segment, with 66.6% revenue share for the latest quarterly results (Q3 2012), followed by IBM (10.8%), Symantec (6.8%), HP (4.5%) and Quantum (2.8%), according to IDC. That’s up 6.4% from a year ago, but capacities shipped shot up 37.5% year-over-year, and the research company remains ‘very upbeat’ at the long-term growth opportunities for the PBBA market.
Waugh wouldn’t give numbers on how the 4000 did, but he said shipments met objectives, and it plays very well to its existing customer base. Pricing is expected to be comparable to the current appliance, with the entry point of the five-version 4100 starting around $14,000 and ramping up over $40,000 for the top-end model. Existing customers will be able to download the firmware in mid-March and get essentially the same capabilities of the 4100 PBBA, he said.
Late last year ESG Lab tested the DR4000 and called it the antidote for too much of a good thing. ‘We tested capacity savings and performance with the Dell DR4000 using a wide variety of data types and found great results,’ wrote Kerry Dolan, Lab Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. ‘Its capacity savings were in the 90% range, and ingest rates were among the highest ESG Lab has validated for this type of solution. It even offers a performance-optimized duplication (no, that’s not a typo) feature that enables efficient backup copies for DR, a boon particularly to small and mid-sized organizations.’
Unlike most of the bigger PBBA vendors, while Dell may aspire to the enterprise segment, its bread and butter is mainly SMBs, and the new appliance fits in well here, said Waugh. “We’re bringing enterprise-class capabilities, typically restricted to customers with 6-figure budgets, down to SMBs.”
A second Dell advantage is the growing market awareness that existing BRC solutions are being buried in growing amounts of data while resources – and time for things like backups – remain static. Because the company has a broad portfolio of backup solutions, customers don’t have to rip and replace what they have, just pick what they want from Dell’s lineup to address specific pain points, said Waugh.
The third and final benefit is that the 4000 series is a target-based backup product. “Point it to any backup software and we will dedupe and compress it. It’s a good way for customers to address backup windows.”
The feeds and speeds:
– built-in data deduplication and compression technologies reduce backup storage capacity requirements by up to 93%;
-scalability – customers can add up to two expansion shelves (9, 18 or 27 terabytes each), scaling from 2.7 terabytes to 81 terabytes of usable capacity, or up to 1.2 petabytes of logical capacity;
-improved disaster recovery – deduplicated replication of backup data can be performed using many-to-one replication that supports up to 32 nodes in different locations replicating to one central node;
-broader backup software certifications – support includes Dell (AppAssure and Quest), Symantec, CommVault, Oracle and CA;
-an all-inclusive software licensing model that can reduce storage costs over time by offering premium features, such as replication, DR Rapid Data Access and future functionalities, at no additional cost.