PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance – Modern, Secure, Simple

Pulling back the curtain on Dell’s premier fully Integrated Data Protection Appliance.

This blog is co-authored by Scott Quesnelle, Distinguished Engineer and a Lead Architect for the PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance.

We built the PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance from the ground up to provide simple and modern data protection and storage within a 2U integrated appliance that provides quick deployment, intuitive management and cyber resilience. Let’s look at how Dell’s decades of experience building backup software and appliances come together in a modern, secure and simple package for medium and enterprise customers.

Graphic depicting the high-level architecture of Dell's PowerProtect Data Manager Applicance
Figure 1: PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance high-level architecture.

Modern and Proven Workload Protection

The Data Manager Appliance protects the same modern and proven workloads supported by the PowerProtect Data Manager platform, including the PowerProtect-exclusive VMware Transparent Snapshots Data Mover (TSDM). TSDM virtually eliminates VM “stun” and workload performance degradation during backups, using a custom ESXi plugin to reduce the overhead of taking snapshots and tracking changes.

As developers increasingly use containers to accelerate the delivery and update of applications and services, the Data Manager Appliance can also discover and protect on-premises container resources and the persistent volumes and resources associated with their namespaces.

Data Manager’s Policy Engine, combined with its Catalog Service and Data Protection Services, automates the creation of copies for operational recovery, disaster recovery and long-term retention.

Integrated Protection Storage Efficiency

All copies are stored on the Data Manager Appliance’s integrated protection storage, which provides deduplication and hardware-assisted compression to minimize data center footprint, power consumption and ultimately costs. Customers typically see a 55-to-1 data reduction¹ that is preserved across replication and other data movement.

The system starts at 12TB of Active Tier storage, which can be expanded in-place up to 96TB. A native Cloud Tier for long-term retention data, with no additional hardware required, augments our dedupe efficiency with object storage’s economies of scale. The most recent backup copies reside on the Active Tier, generally for 30 days. Older copies automatically have their unique, deduplicated data sent directly to Dell Elastic Cloud Storage or a variety of public clouds. Cloud Tier provides up to twice the licensed Active Tier capacity. Altogether, the Data Manager Appliance protects up to 16PB of logical capacity in a single 2U appliance.

Secure By Design

The Data Manager Appliance’s integrated Identity and Access Management provides a single login for all management operations. A unified internal platform lays a standards-based foundation for extensible authentication capabilities including Active Directory, multi-factor authentication and single sign-on.

Graphic illustrating the high-level architecture for the Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Security platform for Dell's PowerProtect Data Manager appliance.
Figure 2: Unified IAM & Security Platform high-level architecture

A closed-appliance security model means that there is no direct access to any internal components or services. To minimize the attack surface, there are limited IP addresses on the customer’s network with just the required ports open for GUI, API or CLI access. An isolated internal network allows secure communication between internal services and easy re-configuration of externally facing IPs and VLANs.

Given the growing concern of cyber threats, the Data Manager Appliance also includes features like Retention Lock Governance to reduce the potential for malicious data changes, with additional capabilities around immutability and cyber resilience on the roadmap.

Simple Deployment and Management

To ensure customers can protect data without unnecessary delays, initial configuration of the Data Manager Appliance takes as little as 15 minutes. Tight integration with Dell’s factories allowed us to shift initialization and integration steps left and minimize the time required to apply settings in customers’ environments. We activate all product features through a single, capacity-based license that is automatically applied to the system if securely connected to Dell.

Once deployed, the Data Manager Appliance provides true single-pane-of-glass management. Storage and Appliance Management are in the same HTML5-based UI as Policy and Asset Management, Health Monitoring, Search and Reporting. Integrating storage into the appliance simplifies policy configuration and copy lifecycle management. Plus, all configuration, including networking and security settings, can be done through the same UI. We architected the UI to be implemented by multiple internal software-defined services while maintaining a consistent and unified user experience.

Reduce Complexity

The Data Manager Appliance provides the PowerProtect portfolio’s capabilities in an integrated appliance that is easy to deploy and manage. It reduces IT complexity for small and medium businesses or across edge locations for larger companies. This allows busy IT departments to spend less time managing data protection and more time focusing on enhancing their customers’ experiences, developing automations and bringing new products and services to market. We’re excited for customers to get their hands on the Data Manager Appliance and look forward to sharing more as we develop its capabilities further.

Attending Dell Technologies World? Don’t miss the Deployment Best Practices for PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance expert-led session to learn more about use cases, sizing, deployment, networking, replication and upgrades.

1 Based on Dell internal testing and field telemetry data, March 2023. Actual results may vary.

Arun Murti

About the Author: Arun Murti

Arun Murti is a Distinguished Engineer in the Unstructured and Secondary Storage group of Dell Technologies. He is a Lead Architect for the PowerProtect Data Manager Appliance, the Chief Architect for PowerProtect DP series appliances, and the Manageability Architect for Secondary Storage products including PowerProtect DD. In his roles, Arun influences technical strategy and drives Agile architecture for Integrated Data Protection Appliances, on-premise and Cloud Management and Orchestration, Observability and Telemetry, and more. Arun is a 17-year Dell Technologies veteran with prior roles including Chief Architect for Avamar and various product engineering responsibilities. He has been awarded 16 patents and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.