DELL EMC Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) DP4400 Review

The Dell EMC Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) DP4400, released in the summer of last year, is designed to turn many Dell EMC backup and recovery technologies into a single converged solution. The DP4400 is leveraging a 2U Dell EMC PowerEdge server chassis which provides two functionality options. DP4400 systems come with either 24-96 TB or 8-24 TB fully populated options. It’s built to allow users to start small and unlock additional capacity as required through the software key. Even when you select the 24 TB versions or smaller ones. In the second half of 2019, Dell EMC will be providing a non-disruptive field upgrade to bridge from 24 TB to larger capacity. The DP4400 may add a 192 TB cloud tier for disaster recovery or long-term retention should it need even more space.

In addition to the usual support for backup, restore and cloud tiering, IDPA converged solutions also offer replication, deduplication, scan, analytics, and instant access and restore. Dell EMC has also made every effort to make the DP4000 easy to use, in addition to the robust feature set. The framework is accessible via an HTML5 interface designed to bubble up system-wide details and reports to make management and planning simpler than manually managing each of the applications. To help the system perform well, Dell EMC includes a system-wide NVMe drive that serves as Avamar’s metadata cache and can also be used for instant access for quick VM recovery.

ROBO and retail scenarios are a good target for something like the DP4400, especially in a big company that is already using Avamar. The on-prem single unit delivers speed and efficiency for local restorements. The data can also be replicated for additional security policies to the main data center, however. The DP4400 supports optimized cloud DR to AWS for those requiring cloud-based disaster recovery and can fail in three clicks. From there AWS will take over security, on request via S3 and EC2. It takes only two clicks to return to the DP4400 to fail again. Redirected restaurants are supported too.

Generally, the DP4400 is just the IDPA family entry unit, the systems can scale up to be quite large. Top-level specs for the family are outlined in the table below.

DP4400 DP5800 DP8300 DP8800
Max Throughput with DD Boost 9 TB/hr 32 TB/hr 41 TB/hr 68 TB/hr
Usable Capacity Up to 96TB Up to 288TB Up to 720TB Up to 1PB
Max Usable Capacity with Cloud Tier Up to 288TB Up to 864TB Up to 2.16PB Up to 3PB
Logical Capacity with Deduplication Up to 4.8PB Up to 14.4PB Up to 36PB Up to 50PB
Max Logical Capacity with Cloud Tier Up to 14.4PB 43.2PB 108PB 150PB

All IDPA converged solutions offer a guaranteed deduction ratio of 55:1 (depending on the data types) and a 3-year guarantee of satisfaction through the Dell EMC Future-Proof Loyalty Program, with the support agreement required.

Dell EMC IDPA DP4400 design and build

The Dell EMC IDPA DP4400 is a storage appliance with 2U power, power, and more. There are twelve 3.5 “bays under the bezel, inside there are four more 3.5′′ bays and also on the rear, there are two additional bays making for a wide total of 18 3.5′′ drive bays. The power button, two USB ports, an iDRAC port, and a serial port are on the right side of the front.

We see eight 10GbE ports flipping around the device ‘s back (four at the top left and four at the bottom center). There is an iDRAC port at the bottom left along with two serial ports, and two 1GbE ports above. The top right is loaded with two more 3.5 “drive bays, and two hot-swappable PSUs are in the bottom right. While much is happening on the DP4400 ‘s rear, it’s more of controlled chaos needed to access multiple storages and network fabrics, with redundancy. You can also see the NVMe storage unit below the left hard drive, which is used to store caching metadata.

The top of the unit pops up quickly with a handle lift which allows users to access just about everything under the hood. Note that this is the dense R740 chassis with front, mid, and rear-drive backplates. This gives the R740 a huge data footprint that includes 216 TB of raw storage space as seen.

DellEMC-IDPA-DP4400-Open

The center of the device has yet more storage with four more 3.5 “drive bays removable tray. This is also how one gets RAM and CPU access. The fans are also hot-swappable and can be accessed here.

DellEMC-IDPA-DP4400-Mid-Storage

Removal of the rear-drive bays gives one access to PCIe storage, which is added to accelerate the backup process and help with recovery.

IDPA-DP4400-PCIe

 

Dell EMC IDPA DP4400 Management

Dell EMC took all of its backup tools and placed it under one roof for consumers to make the most of. Although this isn’t just a single panel of glass, users with limited hoop-jumping will get all the benefits. With a recent software update, Dell EMC included Single Sign On (SSO) capabilities to smooth the moving transition between the various underlying applications running on the DP4400.

On the DP4400, the program is deployed and configured after initial initialization. Review this table to see the purpose of each IDPA-component.

Component

Description

IDPA System Manager Data Protection Central provides a single point of control to manage enterprise data protection. It is the user management interface to the IDPA
Protection Storage Data Domain Virtual Edition manages and runs the IDPA datastore.
Backup server Avamar is the system managing backups and restores. IDPA includes both Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE) and Avamar Proxy VM.
Search Search is a detailed search function for IDPA administration.
The components that comprise Search are the index master node host VM and the DPSearch index VM.
Reporting and Analytics Data Protection Advisor (DPA) supplies monitoring, analysis, and reporting across the data protection infrastructure
Configuration Management Appliance Configuration Manager (ACM) is used to simplify installs and improve IDPA configuration management.
Cloud Storage Data Domain Cloud Tier feature or Cloud Disaster Recovery virtual appliance can be added to increase overall storage capacity. Data Domain Cloud Tier and Cloud Disaster Recovery each require their own separate license.

Final Thoughts

For some time the Dell EMC IDPA line has had several different backup and recovery options and with the IDPA DP4400, it is aimed at bringing all the different technologies to one platform. The DP4400 is aimed at remote / branch offices and midmarket accounts with a local upward capacity of 96 TB and an additional cloud tier option up to 192 TB, though this is more for disaster recovery and/or long-term storage purposes. The DP4400 provides replication, deduplication, scan, analytics, and instant access and restore as well as backup and recovery. All this is done and managed through an HTML5 interface which is not terribly hard to manage.

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