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Dell brings data recovery tools to Apex and the cloud

LAS VEGAS – Dell is giving enterprises new ways to protect the data they store in public clouds.

At the Dell Technologies World event Monday, the company unveiled a full-stack cyber-recovery managed services offering in its Apex -as-a-service portfolio and data protection technologies that will be available in both the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure public clouds.

In addition, Dell is partnering with high-profile cloud-based data analytics vendor Snowflake to enable organizations to take the data they’re keeping in their data centers in Dell object storage and run it in Snowflake’s Data Cloud while keeping the data on premises or copying it to the public cloud, an important capability for companies with data sovereignty or privacy concerns who can’t freely move it around.

In another move to bridge the gap between data stored in central data center and in public clouds, Dell at the show is demonstrating how its block and file storage platforms can run in public clouds and how companies can buy the software as a managed service via cloud credits.

“The world is becoming more and more of a multicloud world,” Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product market at Dell, said during a briefing with journalists. “Our customers have their data and their applications spread across everywhere, whether it’s within data centers, across colocation facilities, public cloud, and increasingly more so, we’re seeing it at the edge.”

Those customers are pushing Dell to give them the ease of use and agility of public clouds throughout their IT environments, Grocott said.

Dell in 2020 announced Apex as an effort to make its entire portfolio available as a service and give organizations a more cloud-like experience. That includes offering enterprises multiple consumption models, including paying for products via a subscription.

It illustrates the central importance of data in the modern enterprise and the rapidly disappearing lines between cloud players and longtime infrastructure OEMs. Other vendors also are increasingly offering their products as services, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise with GreenLake, Lenovo with TruScale and Cisco via Cisco+.

“Apex is really about delivering that cloud-like experience to our customers in on-premises or in co-location,” Chad Dunn, vice president of Apex product management, said during the briefing. “We’ve done this for computing services. We’ve done this for data storage services, we’ve done it for data protection. Now we’re doing it for a full stack solution.”

The Apex Cyber Recovery Services are the first full-stuck offering in the as-a-service portfolio, Dunn said. The managed service designed to help organizations more easily recover from cyberattacks, including ransomware. Enterprises can store their data in isolated and immutable data vaults in the cloud. If data is encrypted or exfiltrated through an attack, the targeted company can use the data in the vault to return to the last clean image.

Dell also manages the vaults and uses a security analytics platform to detect anomalies in both the vault and underlying infrastructure.

Like other OEMs, Dell also is making more of its technologies available in multiple public clouds. The company late last year made its PowerProtect Cyber Recovery software available in AWS. The software is designed to isolate and protect data from ransomware and other threats, including using analytics and machine learning techniques to monitor the integrity of the data and detect attacks. There also are recovery options in case of attack, including within an enterprise’s data center.

Now Dell will make the software available on Azure, so the recovery options also will include a new Azure private network or an unimpacted Azure environment.

“This is all about being able to create that air-gapped copy and – In this case, a physically isolated air-gapped copy as well – of that data in the public cloud,” Caitlin Gordon, vice president of software and solutions product management at Dell, told journalists. “We really see an increased desire and flexibility of how customers and where customers want to create these cyber vaults and being able to do that in the public cloud not only gives them another opportunity in another location, but actually enables them to be able to test recovery very efficiently as well, because they can spin up and spin down those resources in the public cloud.”

Dell is expanding its work with AWS by bringing CyberSense for PowerProtect Cyber Recovery to the cloud. CyberSense is software that enables organizations to more quickly detect and recovery from attacks and to monitor files and databases to determine if an attack has happened. They can respond to an attack by identifying the last known uncorrupted copy of data that can be used during the recovery.

The partnership with Snowflake gives organizations greater flexibility in where they store their data and how they analyze it, Gordon said.

“Customers want to keep some of that data in their data center, but they still want to use that with their Snowflake-based analytics by not changing where the analytics run by keeping the data in place,” she said. “We’ve been able to collaborate to enable Snowflake’s external table capability to read the data that exists on our on-prem object storage capabilities of either ECS or ObjectScale so that you can actually read that data and keep it in place but leverage that with the other cloud-based data that you have in the Snowflake platform.”

Bob O’Donnell, principal analyst with TECHnalysis Research, told The Register that at a high level, Dell is enabling organizations to do the two key things they want with their data: protect it and get value from it. What the vendor – and others like HPE, Lenovo and Cisco – also is doing is ensuring that in a data- and cloud-centric world, they are still the top option for enterprises.

“They still have a lot of customers that still have a lot of data on-site,” O’Donnell said, adding that those that have worked with Dell for years for their on-premises needs can now continue with the company as they shift to a more modern IT environment.®