Catalyst spoke with Abhijit Dinkar, storage development engineering director at Dell, about the Dell DR4000™ backup appliance. The product is developed with intellectual property gained from Dell’s acquisition of storage vendor Ocarina Networks, and leverages advanced data deduplication and compression technologies.

Catalyst: Why will IT managers want to know about the DR4000?

Dinkar: DR4000 is a storage appliance optimized for storing backups in the data center. To an IT manager, it is important to back up critical data as quickly as possible and be able to recover it swiftly when necessary. DR4000 has one of the fastest data transfer throughputs in its class. DR4000 deploys state-of-the-art storage reduction techniques, allowing it to store massive amounts of data on fewer hard disks. DR4000 is also designed for completely hands-off administration—once deployed, the system protects itself from most common types of hardware failures and notifies the IT manager when any maintenance action is required (for example, when a failed component needs to be replaced).

Catalyst: How does the Dell DR4000 implement Ocarina technology to deliver additional capabilities?

Dinkar: DR4000 is another manifestation of Dell’s effort to integrate the leading deduplication and compression technology acquired from Ocarina Networks. DR4000 features a high-speed inline engine that deduplicates and compresses data during ingest and hence reduces the amount of storage needed to store backups. DR4000 is designed to easily integrate with other future Dell products with built-in deduplication. This will enable Dell to provide maximum value to customers by being able to offer benefits such as optimized data transfer throughout the storage ecosystem.

Catalyst: Can the DR4000 integrate with existing environments?

Dinkar: Absolutely. DR4000 supports industry-standard protocols such as NFS, CIFS and Symantec OpenStorage, which allows it to integrate seamlessly into existing environments. IT managers can replace their existing backup product with a DR4000 without changing any data protection workflows or policies. DR4000 is certified to work with industry-leading backup applications and supports all key features required for a comprehensive data protection strategy.

Catalyst: If you were an IT or business decision maker, why would you consider the DR4000?

Dinkar: DR4000 brings down the total cost of ownership (TCO) significantly compared to tape or homegrown disk-based solutions while at the same time improving recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). The ease of deployment and management potentially helps a business’s bottom line by reducing expensive engagement with specialized IT administrators.

DR4000’s advanced data protection features ensure that the data is retained reliably. Customers interested in an off-site disaster recovery solution will find optimized replication—a feature available in DR4000—very attractive. This feature can be used to maintain a replica of all data on one DR4000 on a second DR4000 at a remote site. Data transfer between these two DR4000 systems is optimized to conserve WAN bandwidth by transferring only unique data over the network.

The DR4000 also allows for capacity expansion by adding a drive shelf to an existing system. This is great for customers who want to start with a smaller-capacity system and expand capacity later as their storage needs grow.