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Dell gives NetVault Backup a facelift, adds enterprise DR disk

Dell gives NetVault Backup new look and greater scalability and monitoring, launches enterprise DR disk appliance.

Dell today overhauled its NetVault Backup software and launched its first enterprise disk backup deduplication target while revealing more changes to come in its data protection portfolio.

NetVault Backup 10 has a new interface, back-end database and monitoring capabilities. The DR6000 enterprise disk target has more than twice the capacity of the vendor's midrange appliance and has new software for accelerating source-side dedupe of files.

NetVault Backup 10 is the first major upgrade of the product since NetVault came into the Dell fold when it acquired Quest Software in 2012. Version 10 has a web user interface for the first time, with a similar look as AppAssure and other Dell applications.

Dell replaced NetVault Backup's flat file, single-threaded access back-end database with a parallel-multi-threaded PostgreSQL database. NetVault Backup now performs initial backup and secondary copy in parallel -- previous versions backed up the secondary copy serially. NetVault Backup 10 also scales to 1,000 clients per backup server, compared to 300 in the previous version.

Jason Raymond, Dell director of product management for data protection, said Dell plans to scale NetVault Backup to 5,000 clients in the coming months.

"We did that [expand number of clients supported] by swapping out the back end, which was the bottleneck," Raymond said. "It became a problem with large customers that it could only protect 300 machines. This will shrink the amount of hardware customers need."

Dell also overhauled NetVault Backup's monitoring capabilities. It now shows active jobs, the status of policy jobs and data transfer from clients to storage targets in real-time on one screen. The screen shows how the backups are performing, what devices they are using and how much bandwidth they require.

The DR6000 disk appliance scales to 180 terabytes (TB) in one box, compared to a maximum capacity of 81 TB for Dell's DR4100 midrange appliance. Dell claims the DR6000 can ingest data at 22 TB per hour using the vendor's DR Rapid Data Access software, a plug-in for NetVault Backup that optimizes dedupe between the backup software and target appliance. The DR6000 also supports new Rapid NFS and Rapid CIFS to accelerate source-side deduplication of files. Like the DR4100, the DR6000 is a 2u box. Customers can replicate between DR4100 and DR6000 appliances.

Dell began selling the DR appliance in 2012 with dedupe technology from its Ocarina Networks acquisition. Until then, Dell sold EMC Data Domain appliances under an OEM deal with EMC. Raymond said Dell has more than 1,800 DR series customers and 2,600 units deployed with more than 52 PB of capacity shipped of the backup systems.

Pricing for NetVault Backup 10 starts at $1,290 and the DR6000 starts at $59,772 for 9 TB of usable capacity. Both are generally available today.

AppAssure-vRanger merger, integrated appliances on roadmap

George Crump, lead analyst for Storage Switzerland, said he was impressed with NetVault Backup's "really cool" performance monitoring utility. "There's a lot of information there without being cluttered."

However, Crump said he was more interested in Dell's future plans for backup, including the way it handles overlapping products.

"The big question for Dell is, what will they do with vRanger versus AppAssure," he said, pointing to Dell's virtual backup applications.

The answer, according to Raymond, is that Dell will merge vRanger and AppAssure. He said the plan is to integrate them around the end of 2014.

"Whether we call it AppRanger, vRanger or AppAssure, we don't know yet," Raymond said. "It will have the look and feel of AppAssure with bits of vRanger."

Dell is also planning to integrate NetVault Backup on DR and PowerVault appliances, as well as add array-based snapshots for Dell's Compellent SAN system this year.

Raymond said that integration is part of Dell's aggressive roadmap for data protection.

"It's taken us a little while to get all this out, but we're investing big," he said. "Quest didn't invest much in vRanger. They had a stumble with Windows 2008 support and vRanger lost a lot of customers. [NetVault and vRanger] were afterthoughts to Quest, but we're investing in all the main pillars of our data protection."

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