Dell EMC announced the Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) at Dell EMC World in May 2017. They recently announced a new edition to the lineup, the IDPA DP4400. I had the opportunity to speak with Steve Reichwein about it and thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.
One of the key differences between this offering and previous IDPA products is the form factor. The DP4400 is a 2RU appliance (based on a PowerEdge server) with the following features:
- Capacity starts at 24TB, growing in increments of 12TB, up to 96TB useable. The capacity increase is done via licensing, so there’s no additional hardware required (who doesn’t love the golden screwdriver?)
- Search and reporting is built in to the appliance
- There are Cloud Tier (ECS, AWS, Azure, Virtustream, etc) and Cloud DR options (S3 at this stage, but that will change in the future)
- There’s the IDPA System Manager (Data Protection Central), along with Data Domain DD/VE (3.1) and Avamar (7.5.1)
[image courtesy of Dell EMC]
It’s hosted on vSphere 6.5, and the whole stack is referred to as IDPA 2.2. Note that you can’t upgrade the components individually.
- 18x 12TB 3.5″ SAS Drives (12 front, 2 rear, 4 mid-plane)
- 12TB RAID1 (1+1) – VM Storage
- 72TB RAID6 (6+2) – DDVE File System Spindle-group 1
- 72TB RAID6 (6+2) – DDVE File System Spindle-group 2
- 240GB BOSS Card
- 240GB RAID1 (1+1 M.2) – ESXi 6.5 Boot Drive
- 1.6TB NVMe Card
- 960GB SSD – DDVE cache-tier
- 2x Intel Silver 4114 10-core 2.2GHz
- Up to 40 vCPU system capacity
- Memory of 256GB (8x 32GB RDIMMs, 2667MT/s)
Networking-wise, the appliance has 8x 10GbE ports using either SFP+ or Twinax. There’s a management port for initial configuration, along with an iDRAC port that’s disabled by default, but can be configured if required. If you’re using Avamar NDMP accelerator nodes in your environment, you can integrate an existing node with the DP4400. Note that it supports one accelerator node per appliance.
Put On Your Pointy Hat
One of the nice things about the appliance (particularly if you’ve ever had to build a data protection environment based on Data Domain and Avamar) is that you can setup everything you need to get started via a simple to use installation wizard.
[image courtesy of Dell EMC]
Thoughts and Further Reading
I talked to Steve about what he thought the key differentiators were for the DP4400. He talked about:
- Ecosystem breadth;
- Network bandwidth; and
- Guaranteed dedupe ratio (55:1 vs 5:1?)
He also mentioned the capability of a product like Data Protection Central to manage an extremely large ROBO environment. He said these were some of the opportunities where he felt Dell EMC had an edge over the competition.
I can certainly attest to the breadth of ecosystem support being a big advantage for Dell EMC over some of its competitors. Avamar and DD/VE have also demonstrated some pretty decent chops when it comes to bandwidth-constrained environments in need of data protection. I think it’s great the Dell EMC are delivering these kinds of solutions to market. For every shop willing to go with relative newcomers like Cohesity or Rubrik, there are plenty who still want to buy data protection from Dell EMC, IBM or Commvault. Dell EMC are being fairly upfront about what they think this type of appliance will support in terms of workload, and they’ve clearly been keeping an eye on the competition with regards to usability and integration. People who’ve used Avamar in real life have been generally happy with the performance and feature set, and this is going to be a big selling point for people who aren’t fans of NetWorker.
I’m not going to tell you that one vendor is offering a better solution than the others. You shouldn’t be making strategic decisions based on technical specs and marketing brochures in any case. Some environments are going to like this solution because it fits well with their broader strategy of buying from Dell EMC. Some people will like it because it might be a change from their current approach of building their own solutions. And some people might like to buy it because they think Dell EMC’s post-sales support is great. These are all good reasons to look into the DP4400.
Preston did a write-up on the DP4400 that you can read here. The IDPA DP4400 landing page can be found here. There’s also a Wikibon CrowdChat on next generation data protection being held on August 15th (2am on the 16th in Australian time) that will be worth checking out.