Dell's new backup system includes both hardware and software

Dell will combine its storage hardware with Symantec or CommVault software for SMB backup and recovery.

Dell PowerVault DL2000

Dell PowerVault DL2000

Dell is putting together hardware and software for backup and recovery in one system, with integrated software, for small and medium-size businesses.

The need for large-scale backups is growing as organizations produce more data and face regulatory requirements to hold onto it longer, analysts say. With its PowerVault DL2000 platform, which will go on sale later this month, Dell aims to make it easier for SMBs and branch offices with limited IT expertise to centralize and automate their backups. It can make those backups as much as 55 percent faster for disk storage and 77 percent faster for tape, Dell claims.

The platform consists of the DL2000 -- a Windows-based x86 server running either a CommVault or a Symantec software stack -- and a Dell PowerVault MD1000 disk array. As an option, customers can have a PowerVault TL2000, TL4000 or ML6000 Tape Library added on for long-term archiving. The whole system will be put together in the factory and shipped as a turnkey solution, said Sanjeet Singh, a senior product marketing manager. The company designed the system as an alternative to buying several components and integrating them in-house, and claims an IT generalist can get the system started in less than half an hour.

That claim should prove true, said analyst Arun Taneja of The Taneja Group. Dell has put together popular SMB software with its own hardware, he said.

"These are good combinations, and I think through the hands of Dell, they will do very well," Taneja said.

The product, with as much as 144T bytes of usable disk space and a starting price between US$10,000 and $15,000, would be best-suited to organizations with a few hundred employees, which often have very limited IT skills on hand, Taneja said. As an all-in-one system, it should be most attractive to customers who haven't yet invested in another vendor's backup products, he added.

In addition to the choice of CommVault or Symantec Backup Exec software, users will have a choice of versions for each. A CommVault-based DL2000 can be configured with or without data de-duplication, which makes more efficient use of storage capacity by taking advantage of duplication in the incoming data. There are four editions of the Symantec software, which can provide continuous data protection for Exchange, SQL and file servers, and protection for VMware and Microsoft virtual machines.

Each DL2000 also requires client software licenses for the systems that will back up their data to it. The CommVault Standard Edition comes with five licenses, and the Symantec Starter Edition comes with two.

To get started, IT staff will not have to set up LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) or do RAID configurations, and it's possible to later add disks to the array on the fly. The systems will come with 3T bytes of disk capacity to start. Each version of software provides a management console that makes jobs such as setting up policies and backup tasks easy, according to Dell.

Archiving software is available for automatically moving data from disk to tape and setting up tiered storage. This feature, and the optional tape libraries, ought to be useful to medium-size enterprises with regulatory requirements for long-term storage, Taneja said.

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