I recently had the opportunity to attend the Dell Annual Analyst Conference (DAAC), where Michael Dell and the senior leadership team gave updates on their businesses and cast a very clear strategy around four core pillars:
- Transform -- to the Cloud
- Connect -- with mobility
- Inform -- through Big Data
Protect?! YAY!! As a 25-year backup dude who has been waiting to see how the vRanger and NetVault products would be aligned with AppAssure and the Ocarina-accelerated deduplication appliances, I was really jazzed to see “Protect” as a core pillar of the Dell story.
But then the dialogue took an interesting turn:
As always, thanks for watching.
Three years ago you could buy a Dell data protection appliance that had a variety of different third party backup software applications pre-installed on them. Two years ago Dell bought AppAssure, an up and coming unified backup solution, in its own right, designed for midsized organizations. About 18 months ago Dell bought Quest and among the 250 other products was vRanger for backing up virtual environments and NetVault which is a physical and virtual backup solution as well. Then things got quiet.
I was really interested in what Dell wanted to talk about around data protection at the Dell Annual Analyst Conference. All of Dell's messaging for the week started around four core pillars. There was transform, which is another way to say cloud; connect, that's mobility; inform, that's big data; and then protect, protect. That's good, right?
From Michael Dell through the consumer, through the enterprise, through services, through software all of them talked about that. But here's the funny part. Every time they said protect, the examples that they used were all in the security product line. Maybe that shouldn't surprise everybody. After all, in IT spending research from ESG we found that information security was the number one priority for this year. But improving data backup and recovery that was number three. In fact, midsized organizations, for them improving data backup and recovery was the number one priority for the last three years running. Midsized organizations, 100 users to 999, that's kind of a sweet spot for Dell, isn't it?
Here's the part that bugs me. Dell actually has some legitimate data protection technology. Customers are asking for better deduplication. Well, it's the Ocarina purchase from 2010 that's powering the Dell deduplication appliances. In fact, ESG Lab recently published a new report on their 6,000 series. By the way, Quest actually had software based deduplication even before Dell bought them.
Customers are asking for backup appliances. There's AppAssure and with the Dell storage and server pedigree no one should be surprised to see a NetVault based appliance. Customers are looking for a better virtualization protection. Well, that's vRanger. Of course, that technology is now influencing all the other Dell software products that are on virtualization protection. So Dell has got the products, they're just not talking about them. Next time that you're talking with a Dell guy and he starts talking about the four pillars, when it comes to protect he's probably going to tell you about identity and access. Ask him about retention and recovery because it turns out, Dell's got that too. I'm Jason Buffington for ESG. Thanks for watching.