Dell EMC PowerProtect DD (Data Domain) Review

Very reliable and capable of getting huge data

What is our primary use case?

Currently, we use Dell EMC Data Domain for our back-up requirements. We use Cisco Nexus 5K5540, as our core switches. We use Cisco USC-B as a compute engine. 

We use Dell EMC storage as our core storage, and all of these products are still in use. We have had a very good experience with all of them. 

We purchased Data Domain 2500 in 2015 as a primary backup unit. In 2017, we purchased another one, which is the 6300 Data Domain, as our element for the offsite backups. That product is very good. They are both very good in the backup expertise and the installation processes but the issue that we are facing is in the software which is NetWorker. NetWorker is the core Dell EMC software which runs the backups and restores the backups. NetWorker is not as mature as the other products. I have Backup Exec running now, different backup software products. 

The hardware product (Data Domain 2500 or Data Domain 6300) is very good, very reliable, and capable of getting huge data in the form of duplexing, in the form of compressing or in the form of on-lapping. These are wonderful products.

We are using Data Domain 2500 at the primary site and Data Domain 6300 at the other site. We do backups on both the sites with these products.

How has it helped my organization?

As our organization functions, we have a total of 2500+ primary sites and 6300+  secondary sites. All of our backup systems are totally dependent on this product. 

Dell EMC Data Domain is very reliable and we have had no issues using it since 2015.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reliability of the backup service. The compressing mode or the number of the backups which are available on the device is also excellent.

What needs improvement?

Dell EMC Data Domain needs to have better compatibility between NetWorker and the hardware. NetWorker is not as good as the other products which are currently on the market like Backup Exec.

NetWorker is not as feature-rich as other products. On the hardware, there is no issue but the need for improvement is always there. They need to improve the NetWorker software.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable, 100%.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is there. If you need more storage you can add more boxes of the hard drives and get scalability for multiple terabytes.

We do not have users on this solution, only the data backups are initiating on this product. Any user is not interacting with this device. 

We only require two people for maintenance. One is the primary, the second works as a backup or alternate staff. 

Overall, scalability depends on the backup size. If the backup exceeds more than 80% of the storage, we need to add more. It allocates space for more hard drives to begin setup easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is not very good from the India region but very good from the UK region or the USA. Initially, the Dell EMC support initiated for us from India on the first level but it depends on the principal, i.e. the partner or the purchaser. 

You can identify that the company is not willing to get support from India or any particular region. All of the support we get is now from the USA and the UK. It's very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We only use Dell EMC products.

How was the initial setup?

Setup with EMC Data Domain is not complex. Setup is straightforward. Deployment speed depends on the architectural design. In our case, it took around 20 or 25 days for the setup.

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator from Dell EMC for the implementation. They are the integrators for the deployment of products and their unique configurations. 

My team was also involved in deployment because most of the procedure was conducted with mutual understanding between the partner vendor and our engineers.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is available under per TB storage rates. Another level of licensing is available on technical support. There is a third licensing tier that includes more features. They are expensive but not complicated, i.e. more for high-end users. Reliability needs more cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated local tape drives. We were using the tape drives from IBM (LTO 3) before the Dell EMC equipment and the product was good but not reliable. 

The backups available on the tape drives have no reliability whether you store them correctly or not. They depend on the nature of the tape or the condition of the tape.

What other advice do I have?

If they have the budget, then I would advise any organization that the Dell EMC Data Domain product is very good. If they don't have the budget, then go with an alternate solution like Veeam.

As a market standard, data tapes are not reliable for a long duration. Only the hard drive based solutions are technically reliable now. It all depends on your budget.

I would rate Dell EMC Data Domain an 8.5 to 9 out of ten.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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