April 1, 2023
Enterprise security customers made their opinions known in 2022, and the message was clear: They want less complexity and more consolidation, and they want it now. The “Global Data Protection Index” released by Dell Technologies Inc. validates this sentiment. According to the report, 85% of organizations using multiple data protection vendors viewed consolidation as a positive…

Enterprise security customers made their opinions known in 2022, and the message was clear: They want less complexity and more consolidation, and they want it now.

The “Global Data Protection Index” released by Dell Technologies Inc. validates this sentiment. According to the report, 85% of organizations using multiple data protection vendors viewed consolidation as a positive benefit.

Data points such as these are driving Dell’s approach to its data protection offerings, with the goal of improving cyber resiliency in multicloud environments. At the center of Dell’s strategy is PowerProtect Data Manager, an appliance and software offering recently enhanced by the company for its enterprise customer base.

“PowerProtect Data Manager is really our next-gen data protection software offering,” said Michael Wilke, senior consultant, Product Marketing-Data Protection at Dell, in an interview with SiliconANGLE Media, for this story. “It’s built for those trends that are most prevalent in our customers’ minds around cloud and cyber resiliency.”

This article is part of SiliconANGLE’s ongoing exploration of cybersecurity trends in 2023. This piece highlights key developments from Dell Technologies, a media partner and sponsor of the Data Protection series on theCUBE.net.

Multicloud focus

Dell’s most recent software enhancements are designed to support customer interest in consolidation by addressing the need for multicloud protection. This has become more important as a vast majority of firms adopt a multicloud model. A recent cloud report noted that 92% of enterprises have developed a multicloud strategy going forward.

PowerProtect Data Manager provides protection tools across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, along with other platform providers such as Salesforce.

“That could be the ability to run data protection software in a public cloud or protecting software as a service applications like Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce that are running natively in the cloud,” Wilke said. “Everything we’ve done in PowerProtect Data Manager is to get it cloud ready. It is multicloud by design.”

Data Manager enhancements

Along with support for cross-cloud data protection, Dell has been adding new functionality through enhancements for its Data Manager Appliance announced in November. DMA is a deduplicating target backup system running PowerProtect Data Manager software to provide replication, disaster recovery and long-term retention in support of multicloud workloads.

Dell provides VMware integration through a feature called Transparent Snapshots that it first previewed at VMworld in 2020. As a part of PowerProtect Data Manager, Transparent Snapshots are designed to support the backup of virtual machines without business disruption. The snapshots are less intrusive than proxy-based tools, making the protection of VMs less difficult.

“It’s a unique and differentiating way to backup VMs without stunting the environment itself,” said Tom Giuliano, senior consultant and product marketing/team lead at Dell, in an interview with SiliconANGLE for this story. “With Transparent Snapshots, all the proxies are gone and that middle snap is not needed. It was based on Dell’s strong relationship with VMware.”

Dell has seen this solution play out in various customer environments. One large organization with multiple databases and workloads distributed on-premises and in the cloud encountered significant time issues with backup of its VMs before experimenting with the Transparent Snapshot feature of PowerProtect Data Manager, according to Giuliano.

“They were trying to streamline activities,” Giuliano recalled. “The backup was taking a long time, starting at night and going into the early morning. Instead of 8 to 10 hours to backup their environment, with Transparent Snapshots it took minutes.”

Attacking complexity

Dell is operating in an environment in which most of its customers use security tools from multiple vendors. A little over a year ago, InfoSecurity found that organizations had an average of 76 security tools to manage.

“Operational complexity in IT is still a challenge,” Wilke said. “Customers need simplicity not only in running solutions, but also in acquiring them.”

This reality has led Dell to pursue simplification in the design of PowerProtect Data Manager. Because many of Dell’s customers oversee large IT deployments with thousands of VMs or databases, the company has built its Policy Engine to manage policies simply and consistently for workloads.

Dell’s Policy Engine scales with minimum control path overhead to schedule protection tasks and ensure that full and incremental log backups avoid overlap. It also confirms that resources, such as PowerProtect DD series appliances or vCenter, are optimally utilized and correctly load-balanced.

Dell also leverages a catalog manager in PowerProtect to address backup administrative needs. This includes a purpose-built deduplication Index and Search scale-out catalog to support activities based on associated metadata. The catalog can index files in copy while minimizing storage capacity.

Access control is a highly critical part of any protection platform, yet it can also be one of the most complicated aspects to administer. Dell has designed PowerProtect Data Manager to facilitate role-based access control and instance-based access control in keeping with the company’s “zero trust” paradigm.

Asset rules for role-based or instance-based access can be manually or automatically assigned to leverage native workload constructs. Validation of role-based control operations are delivered at the access point while instance-based controls can be handled at the lowest layer in a data model, keeping operations efficient and responsive without the need for additional processing in-memory.

“Customer needs are focused on making it simpler,” Giuliano said. “PowerProtect Data Manager provides a unified user experience.”

Cyber Recovery Guarantee

During Dell Technologies World last year, the company debuted an expansion of its Cyber Recovery Service. With the latest release of PowerProtect Data Manager in November, Dell has added Google Cloud as a backup target, and now supports all three major hyperscalers with this service.

Cyber Recovery Service offers customers an air-gapped cyber recovery vault in the event of a ransomware attack. This has bolstered Dell’s capabilities by adding new cloud protections on top of existing appliance-based storage safeguards.

“One of the most important aspects of cyber resiliency is to be able to recover from the inevitability of a cyberattack,” Wilke said. “We can recover known good data that hasn’t been compromised back into your production environment so you can resume operations.”

Dell kicked off 2023 with the launch of a guarantee. The company will now provide up to $10 million to assist in the recovery of Dell-protected data in the event of a ransomware or qualifying cyberattack when recovery is not possible.

The Cyber Recovery Guarantee is an expansion of Dell’s Future Proof Program, which already includes a guarantee for Data Protection Deduplication. With its Cyber Guarantee, Dell has doubled down on data protection and is betting that its PowerProtect offering will not allow attackers to overwrite, encrypt or delete data residing in backup.

“What customers want to know is that their data is safe and secure,” Wilke said. “They want that peace of mind.”

Image: Dell Technologies

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