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What should users of Dell EMC data protection products do post-merger?

Dell EMC backup and recovery products may be in flux, but there are best practices that customers can follow to ensure a proper data protection strategy.

Dell Inc.'s acquisition of EMC Corp. is the biggest IT deal in history, and it puts Dell in a position to deliver a wide range of IT products and services. Naturally, as the companies come together, there is potential overlap in the Dell EMC data protection products suite. What were previously competing offerings are now being sold as part of a single portfolio.

In the short term, it's unlikely there will be any change in the support of either Dell or EMC data protection products. However, this will transform over time. The combined Dell EMC entity will want to rationalize its product portfolio from a research and development perspective and to simplify its sales process. We can hope that future Dell EMC data protection products will be selected on a best-of-breed basis; however, experience tells us that product choices are made for other reasons. Either way, less development time will be devoted to some products and they will eventually be retired. It's essential that existing customers speak to their account managers and get written confirmation about the long-term support and development of their backup products.

More than any storage platform, backup systems have significant longevity, simply because of the length of time that data backups are retained. When products are to be discontinued, the Dell EMC data protection team -- and, for that matter, that of any other vendor -- needs to provide a transition plan that covers the migration to new platforms, including training, support and migration of existing backups.

Today, the Dell EMC data protection products portfolio consists of tools such as Data Domain and Data Protection Suite -- a collection of existing platforms including Avamar, NetWorker and Data Protection Advisor. We have already seen some tools (Rapid Recovery and Recovery Manager) leaving the Dell portfolio with the spin out of Quest.

Dell EMC customers should do the following:

  • Discuss plans with their account manager(s).
  • Look at their current exposure to the Dell EMC data protection products portfolio.
  • Ensure documentation highlights where existing products are used and for which time periods.
  • Review the market. Is this the time to choose a new backup product?
  • Take the opportunity to review the company backup strategy and look at options in the market.

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