A competitive ESG look at Dell EMC vs a leading NAS appliance


Part 1 - Backup and Recovery


This may not be news for many, but based on research done by ESG from their annual IT spending intentions survey, IT professionals say improving backup, recovery and managing data growth are among their top priorities. As extended outages mean lost revenue and productively, many organizations are having a difficult time finding the best option for protecting mission and business critical database environments. Many of these environments are being hosted on extremely high performance flash arrays, like Dell EMC XtremIO, and using a traditional backup solution just doesn’t cut it. When companies are forced to use a traditional solution which pulls the data from production storage, through the application server, through the backup server, then finally to the protection storage - they’re going to be missing important SLAs (like RPO and RTO).



Dell EMC offers not only a faster backup solution to meet stringent SLAs, it also offers a more efficient one. In this two part blog series we’ll be going over three sections where Dell EMC helps companies improve their backup, recovery, and overall efficiency (host, storage and network). This first blog will be reviewing the performance of our Dell EMC backup and recovery solutions compared to a traditional NAS appliance. The second blog, which will be posted later on this week, will discuss the overall host, storage and network efficiency.


To set the stage, ESG tested Dell EMC Data Domain Boost (DD Boost) and ProtectPoint technology compared to a NAS appliance. DD Boost is a software option that can be purchased with a Data Domain system, and ProtectPoint technology is available through the Data Protection Suite Family. ProtectPoint is a data protection solution that integrates primary storage, VMAX All Flash and XtremIO, with Data Domain protection storage. This Dell EMC technology is designed to accelerate backup and recovery, help organizations meet application protection SLAs, and minimize backup impact on applications, all while reducing cost and complexity.


These two Dell EMC solutions were compared in the same environment as a leading NAS. All were tested using a Dell EMC XtremIO, Dell EMC Data Domain and a database of 10 TB with a 1% change rate in the data.




Let’s start by looking at the backup comparison between Dell EMC and the leading NAS appliance. As helpfully noted by ESG in their subtitle – the shorter the bar, the better. When conducting a backup with the criteria mentioned above, it took the NAS solution 3 hours and 45 minutes on average over a 15 day period. In comparison, Dell EMC DD Boost took just over 2 hours. That’s a 42% reduction in time and nearly double the performance of the average NAS solution. But, Dell EMC isn’t stopping there. I’ll reiterate – shorter is better, and ProtectPoint technology’s blue bar is a lot shorter. ProtectPoint had an average over those 15 days of 31 minutes as compared to NAS. That’s an incredible improvement of 89% in reduction, or to say it another way, 8x faster backup.


How does ProtectPoint technology achieve this extreme reduction in backup time? Let’s look at some details outlined below:



After the ProtectPoint agent is installed on the application server, the storage administrator makes a point-in-time copy of the LUN to be protected, and then seeds the initial blocks on the Data Domain system to prepare the environment for its first full backup. Then, the Oracle DBA triggers a backup at an application-consistent checkpoint. This pauses the application just long enough to mark the point in time for that backup. Next, there is the primary storage change block tracking and data movement engine – which includes a combination of XtremIO in-memory metadata snapshots and RecoverPoint.  This ensures that there is no impact to production workloads on XtremIO and that only unique blocks are sent to the Data Domain system – minimizing time required to backup an application. The Data Domain system ingests and deduplicates those blocks and uses them to create an independent, full backup in native format. Using ProtectPoint, every backup is a full backup which simplifies recovery, but with the storage efficiency of an incremental backup.




In those same 15 days, two restores were done of those backups. One from the very first day (the oldest backup) and one from the last day (the newest backup). Again, let’s start by taking a look at the leading NAS solution in comparison to Dell EMC DD Boost and ProtectPoint technology.


Dell EMC DD Boost provided better results over the NAS appliance, reducing the restore time by 40 minutes for the newest backup and by more than 60 minutes for the oldest backup over the same network. These improvements are nothing to shrug at, but ProtectPoint technology did it almost 10x faster. As shown above, the ProtetPoint technology bar is significantly faster when compared against the leading NAS appliance, cutting the backup time by more than half. To use specifics, ProtectPoint is 6.5x faster when restoring from the oldest backup, and 10.5x faster when restoring from the newest.


Dell EMC provides IT leads and professionals with backup and recovery solutions that help them meet even their strictest SLA requirements. As demonstrated by the data above, both Dell EMC Data Domain Boost and ProtectPoint technology perform above and beyond that of a standard NAS appliance. In the next blog of this two part series, I’ll discuss how Dell EMC doesn’t just provide leading backup and restore solutions by performance, but also ones that are more efficient.


(Protecting Oracle Databases with Dell EMC for XtremIO” by Tony Palmer published May 2017)

To read the Lab Validation, please visit either the ESG website our Dell EMC Community page.