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Dell Apex now offers managed cyber recovery service

Dell Technologies releases a new managed cyber recovery service as part of its Apex portfolio and other cloud disaster recovery products, including a debut on Microsoft Azure.

LAS VEGAS -- Dell Technologies has added Dell Apex Cyber Recovery Services, a new managed service, to its infrastructure-as-a-service Apex portfolio.

The company touted the new addition as part of a keynote speech during the first day at Dell Technologies World 2022, which is convening in person for the first time since 2019.

Dell Apex Cyber Recovery Service promises a "cloud experience" for recovery from cyber attacks such as ransomware. Features of the service include automatic anomaly detection, such as highlighting compromised snapshots and data; immutable off-site data vaults; and one point of contact for subscribers during a recovery emergency.

The company also expanded its PowerProtect data protection and backup platform with two cyber recovery products, CyberSense for Dell PowerProtect Cyber Recovery for AWS and Dell PowerProtect Cyber Recovery for Microsoft Azure. The products are available from the respective cloud hyperscalers.

Dell Apex Cyber Recovery Service is available in North America with additional geographic rollouts to follow. The new cyber recovery products for AWS and Microsoft Azure "will be globally available in the second half of 2022," according to Dell Technologies.

Binary vault

Like other Apex services, Dell Technologies said it will manage day-to-day recovery operations and data vault maintenance with standardized configurations chosen by users.

Spokespeople for Dell said the service grew out of the company's expertise in managing about 2,000 existing customer data vaults.

Managed cyber recovery services answer a need for one-click recovery likely faced by Apex customers, said Andrew Smith, a research manager at IDC. He expects the product to eventually grow with additional features and guarantees for customers such as minimum service-level agreements (SLAs) along with faster recovery times.

The service isn't a new idea, lacking some of the aforementioned features and following in the wake of managed services offered by other companies, but it fills out the disaster and data recovery service niche for Dell Technologies, Smith said.

"It plays well with the use cases Dell is doing in Apex," Smith said. "It's a good addition but not a paradigm shift. … They're still feeling out what works for their install base."

Cloud recovery in an Azure sky

PowerProtect Cyber Recovery brings the company's data isolation and immutability software to Microsoft Azure. The software made its hyperscaler debut on AWS in December. PowerProtect Cyber Recovery was previously only deployable on premises with Dell hardware or through Dell Technologies' private cloud service partner Faction.

PowerProtect Cyber Recovery for Microsoft Azure enables users to deploy an isolated data vault in the public cloud for protection from ransomware and other cyber attacks.

Recovery from a vault can take place in the customer's data center, a new Azure private network or an unimpacted Azure environment. The software also incorporates multifactor authentication for additional protection against compromised data and environments.

A Dell spokesperson confirmed pricing for PowerProtect Cyber Recovery for Microsoft Azure would apply the model used for AWS to Azure Blob object storage.

CyberSense for Dell PowerProtect Cyber Recovery for AWS bolts on additional capabilities for AWS PowerProtect customers.

CyberSense capabilities include adaptive analytics for metadata and file scanning to find compromised files, diagnose how the data was compromised and expedite data recovery. Users can also activate file and database monitoring to trigger cyber attack warnings and recover to the last usable recovery point.

Pricing for CyberSense is determined by storage needed, level of support provided and the length of the purchase, according to Dell.

Next steps

IT customers often use managed services to invest in new technology initiatives without the upfront hardware investment -- despite the loss of direct control and supervision of backups, said Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget.

IT managers and budget decision-makers can make a la carte purchases, but the cost and the time it takes in doing so are significant compared to testing the waters with a service purchase, Sinclair said.

It seems like this year is going to be hybrid cloud all over again.
Andrew SmithResearch Manager, IDC

He added that new technologies, such as containers and container orchestration services like Kubernetes, can also make Capex investments a fraught decision over a managed service.

"You can get the solution stood up and running with a very small entry payment," he said. "The challenge [of a-la-carte purchases] is you don't know what you don't know. By going with an as-a-service model, you're protecting yourself from risk."

Dell Technologies provided recovery services in the past under the now defunct Dell Technologies On-Demand brand. The launch of Apex as a project in 2020 marked a shift in the company's battle for customer data centers from on-premises hardware and services to the hybrid cloud, Smith said.

Hybrid cloud users will likely make up a majority of customers going forward, and other data center giants are attempting to stake a claim, including Hewlett Packard Enterprises and its GreenLake services and IBM with IBM Cloud Satellite. Even AWS has begun to explore hybrid deployments while NetApp, also a data center-focused company, has grown its Spot cloud portfolio significantly, Smith added.

"It seems like this year is going to be hybrid cloud all over again," he said. "All of these guys are fighting for that middle ground. Not all workloads can move to the public cloud [and] not everything is going to stay on prem for the same reasons, mainly the cost."

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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