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2/28/2012
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Dell Boosts Backup With AppAssure Acquisition

Addition to Dell's growing storage business enables backup and recovery for both virtualized and physical servers.

Dell's acquisition of application backup and recovery company AppAssure will provide "a new paradigm" for those two services in an increasingly virtualized IT environment, a Dell executive said Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Feb. 24 buy is the latest in a long line of acquisitions Dell has made in the past five years to build its own storage business, after previously buying storage hardware from EMC and putting a Dell label on it.

"The backup and recovery architecture that worked for physical servers is not ideal for virtualized servers," said Praveen Asthana, VP of enterprise solutions and strategies at Dell, speaking at an event in San Francisco at which Dell unveiled a number of new servers, storage, and networking products. "AppAssure has been the leading company for backing up not just the virtualized servers, but the whole infrastructure, end-to-end."

The "end-to-end" theme ran through the presentation by various Dell executives, partners, and customers trying to promote the products as a comprehensive solution to data center demands to handle increasingly vast amounts of data traffic more easily, smoothly, and cost-effectively.

"We wanted a company that would back up end-to-end our servers, storage, and all these applications themselves effectively," said Asthana.

[ Dell sees its future, and it's in the enterprise. Read Dell: 'We're Not Really A PC Company Anymore.' ]

AppAssure specializes in backup and recovery of virtual servers, including VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and XenServer, and also physical servers.

Dell's storage market is mostly in small and midsized business (SMB), so AppAssure's products would be a nice complement to that, said Deni Connor, founding analyst at Storage Strategies NOW, and a contributor to Information Week.

AppAssure might not conflict with partner arrangements Dell currently has with other backup and recovery solutions providers such as CommVault, which Connor said is more widely used in midsize and enterprise storage environments. Symantec also serves the SMB market, but she said both Symantec and CommVault offer products that are "more feature-rich than AppAssure," which may still give them appeal.

"It wouldn't be much of a surprise to see AppAssure technology incorporated into the EqualLogic product line, where all-inclusive licensing of features applies," she said. "I also wouldn't be surprised to see a [Dell] PowerVault DL appliance powered by AppAssure."

Dell has made a number of storage acquisitions to build its own storage business. After EqualLogic in 2007 and Perot Systems in 2009, Dell picked up Ocarina Networks in 2010 for its data deduplication technology, then snapped up storage hardware vendor Compellent in 2011 after losing a bidding war for 3Par Networks to HP.

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