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Dell PowerProtect comes to new Data Domain series

Aside from improvements to the Data Domain hardware, Dell also upgraded the PowerProtect software with a new air-gapped vault feature and improved integration with VMware vSphere.

Dell EMC is integrating its PowerProtect data protection and management software with the next generation of its Data Domain hardware and changing the name of the series.

The vendor's next generation of backup appliances drops the Data Domain moniker and is now called the PowerProtect DD Series. As its new name suggests, the appliances are designed to work efficiently with Dell PowerProtect backup and copy data management software, but the appliance remains an open system. Customers can still freely use a competitor's software on PowerProtect DD appliances.

When PowerProtect and the PowerProtect X400 appliance launched earlier this year at Dell Technologies World, it was billed as a response to the scale-up data protection products of competitors like Cohesity and Rubrik. However, it also competed with Dell's existing traditional backup products, including Avamar, NetWorker and the original Data Domain.

"It was always our intent to put PowerProtect into Data Domain," said Ruya Atac-Barrett, vice president of marketing of data protection at Dell EMC. "The question was always, 'How do we move beyond data protection?'"

Dell PowerProtect's "beyond backup" capabilities included copy management and cloud tiering when it first launched. With the launch of the PowerProtect DD Series, the PowerProtect software introduced a new air-gapped vault feature for secure recovery. It also now has deeper integration with VMware, including failover and failback of VMware workloads to the public cloud and self-service recovery directly out of vSphere, without opening the vSphere interface.

The air-gapped vault is especially noteworthy because it is a direct response to the ongoing threat of ransomware, said Phil Goodwin, research director at market intelligence firm IDC. Having a second copy of data that has no management path, and therefore no exposure, is a way to ensure there's a clean and safe copy to restore from, he said.

Goodwin also noted the branding change as a deliberate move to draw attention to Dell EMC's data protection and management capabilities. The Data Domain name is very powerful, according to Goodwin's research, as it controls around 59% of the backup hardware market. Although Dell EMC has partnered with some software-only vendors, many others partner with Data Domain competitors HPE and NetApp to release integrated backup appliances to compete with Data Domain.

render of the Power Protect DD9400
The PowerProtect DD series has three new models: 6900, 9400 (shown here) and 9900

"They've had a dominant market position for more than a decade," Goodwin said, adding that in the backup hardware space, Data Domain was "far and away" the market leader.

Integrated appliances are attractive because of their simplicity and ease of deployment. Even if an organization were to use cloud-based backup in some fashion, it is not unreasonable to have an on-premises device for faster recovery. That's why there continues to be interest in backup appliances despite the growth of the cloud, Goodwin said. Still, backing up to the cloud remains a far more popular option.

"The cloud-based backup market is certainly growing faster," Goodwin said.

The backup-as-a-service market has a 10.6% annual growth rate. The backup target appliance market is growing at only 3%, and backup software is growing in the 4-5% range, according to IDC research. Goodwin said many organizations are going hybrid, so there is no indication that integrated appliances will become obsolete due to cloud backup.

New Dell PowerProtect models

The PowerProtect DD Series launched with three new models: 6900, 9400 and 9900. Furthermore, the Data Domain 3300 appliance and Data Domain Virtual Edition software-defined storage have been folded into the PowerProtect umbrella. Dell EMC claimed the new appliances boast up to 30% faster backups and restores than its predecessors. The new machines also use 8-terabyte drives, and the 9900 can fit 1.25 petabytes in a single rack.

The 3300 appliance and Virtual Edition are available now under the new PowerProtect DD label. The appliances will become available globally on September 30. The PowerProtect Software can be purchased stand-alone or integrated with the Dell EMC PowerProtect X400 appliance. It is licensed by front-end terabytes or by number of sockets.

The 4-terabyte DD3300 starts at $9000.

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