Dell EMC Azure Stack

 

Azure Stack is designed to help organizations deliver Azure services from their own datacenter. By allowing end users to ‘develop once and deploy anywhere' (public Azure or on premises), customers can now take full advantage of Azure services in various scenarios that they otherwise could not, whether due to regulations, data sensitivity, latency, edge use cases, or location of data that prevents them from using public cloud.

 

Dell EMC co-engineers this solution with Microsoft, with added value in automation of deployments, patches and updates, along with integration of various key solutions to meet our customers’ holistic needs. One such value add which we're proud to have now launched is off-stack backup storage integration, with Data Domain.

 

Backup in Azure Stack

 

Backup of tenant workloads in Azure Stack requires consideration both from an administrator (Azure Stack Operator), and tenant perspective. From an administrator perspective, a mechanism has to be provided to tenants in order to perform backups, enabling them to protect their workloads in the event that they need to be restored. Ideally the storage used to hold this backup data long term will not reside on the Azure Stack itself, as this will a) waste valuable Azure Stack storage, and b) not provide protection in the event of outage or a disaster scenario which affects the Azure Stack itself.

 

In an ideal world, an Azure Stack administrator wants to be able to provide their tenants with resilient, cost effective, off-stack backup storage, which is integrated into the Azure Stack tenant portal, and which enforces admin-defined quotas. Finally, the backup storage target should not force tenants down one particular path when it comes to what backup software they choose to use.

 

From a tenant perspective, protection and recovery of IaaS workloads in Azure Stack is done by in-guest agent today, often making use of Azure Stack storage to hold the backup data.

 

Azure Backup

 

Microsoft provides native integration of Azure Backup into Azure Stack, enabling tenants to backup their workloads to the Azure Public cloud. While this solution suits a subset of Azure Stack customers, there are many who are unable to use Azure Backup, due to…

 

  • Lack of connectivity or bandwidth to Public Azure
  • Regulatory compliance requirements mandating data resides on-premises
  • Cost of recovery - data egress from Azure has an associated cost
  • Time for recovery - restoring multiple TB of data from Azure can just take too long


Data Domain

 

Today, Dell EMC Data Domain leads the purpose-built backup appliance market, holding more than 60% of the market share. Data Domain provides cost-effective, resilient, scalable, reliable storage specifically for holding and protecting backup data on-premises. Many backup vendors make use of Data Domain as a back-end storage target, and many Azure Stack customers have existing Data Domain investments in their datacentres.

 

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Data Domain Azure Stack Integration

 

Extending on our previous announcement of native Isilon integration into Azure Stack, Dell EMC have continued work with our partner CloudAssert, to develop a native resource provider for Azure Stack which enables the management and provisioning of Data Domain storage from within Azure Stack.

 

This resource provider enables Azure Stack Operators to provide their tenants with set quotas of Data Domain storage, which they can then use to protect their IaaS workloads. Just like with other Azure Stack services, the Operator assigns a Data Domain quota to a Plan, which is then enforced in tenant Subscriptions.

 

In the tenant space, Azure Stack tenants are able to deploy their choice of validated backup software - currently Networker, Avamar, Veeam, or Commvault - and then connect that backup software to the Data Domain, with multi-tenancy* and quota management handled transparently.

 

With a choice of backup software vendors, industry leading data protection with Data Domain, and full integration into the Azure Stack Admin and Tenant portals, Dell EMC is the only Azure Stack vendor to provide a native, multi-tenancy-aware, off-stack backup solution integrated into Azure Stack.

 

Delving Deeper

 

Data Domain data protection services are offered as a solution within the Azure Stack admin and tenant portals, by integrating with the VConnect Resource Provider for Azure Stack.  Data Domain integration with the VConnect Resource Provider delivers the following capabilities:

 

  • Managing Data Domain storage quotas like maximum number of MTrees allowed per Tenant, or storage hard limits per MTree
  • Managing CIFS shares, NFS exports and DD Boost Storage units
  • Honoring role-based access control for the built-in roles of Azure Stack - Owner, Contributor, and Reader
  • Tracking the usage consumption of MTree storage and reporting the usage to the Azure Stack pipeline

 

 

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From within the Azure Stack Tenant portal, a tenant can configure and manage their own backup targets. From the create backup target wizard, the connection URL and credentials are specified which will be used to connect to the Data Domain infrastructure.

 

 

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The three protocols supported by Data Domain - namely CIFS, NFS and DD Boost protocol - can be optionally disabled or enabled.  Creation of CIFS shares, NFS export, and DD Boost storage unit is allowed based on this configuration.

 

 

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A full walkthrough of how to configure and manage Data Domain functionality in Azure Stack is included in the Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack Data Domain Integration whitepaper.

 

Backup Vendors

 

While Data Domain functions as the backend storage target for IaaS backups, backup software still needs to be deployed into the tenant space to manage the backup process and scheduling. In this release, we support the following backup vendors:

 

Backup Provider

Targeted Version

NetWorker

NetWorker 9.x

Avamar*

Avamar 18.1

Commvault

Commvault Simpana v11

Veeam

Veeam backup and replication 9.5

 

*Avamar currently supported for single tenant scenarios, not multi-tenancy.

 

A tenant, or a cloud operator providing a fully managed service, will deploy their backup software of choice in their tenant space, configure it to use Data Domain as the backend storage target, and immediately have the ability to store their backup data off-stamp, in a secure, protected, and cost-effective platform which respects Azure Stack storage quotas.

 

Conclusion

 

With the release of the VConnect resource provider for Data Domain in Azure Stack, Dell EMC is reaffirming its commitment to the Azure Stack market and to our customers, by continuing to innovate and lead the market in Azure Stack innovation. The understanding that Azure Stack does not live in a silo, but instead needs to integrate and extend into the wider datacentre landscape is a key tenet of the Dell EMC Azure Stack vision, and we're committed to continuing to uniquely innovate in this important space.

 

To find out more about Data Domain integration for Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, please contact kenny.lowe@dell.com.