Tech Field Day Extra at VMworld 2018 – Dell EMC Protect

In my pre-VMworld post last weekend, I mentioned that I was invited to participate in a discussion panel at Tech Field Day Extra.  I had the pleasure of joining the panel Tuesday morning for a presentation by Dell EMC Protect.  Before I jump right into the recap, I want to give a little back story.  I have heard about Tech Field Day from others in the community for a couple of years now,  mainly just in chatter on Twitter or LinkedIn.  I recall checking out the website and thinking “oh this looks pretty cool but how could I ever get involved?”  Unfortunately, I left it at that for the time being and didn’t investigate much further.  Since then, every time I’ve seen a mention of TFD, I’ve gone back and done a little bit more exploration.  First, I’d check out an old YouTube video.  The next time I watched a couple videos and found someone’s blog post recollecting their experience.  Since I had finally been working on a blog and slowly switching my Twitter use from strictly consumer to part-time contributor, I figured why the heck not and filled out the form to become a delegate.  I also saw a flurry of activity leading up to Cloud Field Day 4, which took place earlier in August 2018.  Having some free bits of time during that week, I caught as much of the Cloud Field Day live stream as I could and came away really impressed with the entire production. 

Things picked up a little bit for me in the weeks leading up to VMworld and I found myself in my company’s office a bit more than usual.  I was plugging away one day when I noticed a message from Mr. TFD himself, Stephen Foskett, asking if I would be attending VMworld.  Of course, I replied that I would and that it would be great to maybe meet up with him and introduce myself sometime during the week.  Little did I know, but there is also such a thing as TFD Extra, which takes place at major industry conferences, and I had actually been invited to participate at TFDx  VMworld! 

Fast forward to VMworld, where prior to my scheduled panel on Tuesday morning, I went to get lunch in the suite on Monday and say hello to a bunch of new faces.  The TFD suite was incredible and I got to break the ice a little bit with everyone prior to jumping in head first on Tuesday.

View from the TFD Suite in the Delano Hotel

Tuesday morning I headed up fairly early, maybe too early as I was actually the only person up there at the time.  It gave me an opportunity to unwind a little bit and begin working on my VMworld Day 1 blog post.  I had finished about half that blog post when people began to stream into the suite.  That is also about the time I realized that committing to a daily blog post recap of a convention is a terrible idea…at least for me.  I wanted to focus on the task at hand, and that was the presentation by Dell EMC Protect.  I sat down at the delegate table and began to get situated.


The VMworld General Session was turned off and the people from Dell began to get their presentation ready.  Stephen went around the panel and had us introduce ourselves to the presenters, and after a final check we were under way. 

The presentation began with an overview of the Dell DP4400 Integrated Data Protection Appliance.  Having deployed Avamar/Data Domain in the past, I was interested to see the next generation of data protection from Dell.  The DP4400 runs Avamar code under the covers and uses facets of both Avamar and Data Domain in an all in one out of the box appliance.  It runs IDPA System Manager, which is a very modern change from the outdated Avamar console.  The overall look of the system and the policy based protection is more in line with other recent competitors in this space.  The hardware is of course a Dell PowerEdge server that utilizes NVMe flash for instant access and restore.  Data Domain has always been a great backup target, but DD restores are a big weakness, so it is good to see that Dell is addressing this drawback with the DP4400.

Another area that the DP4400 is helping Dell EMC Protect bring to market is public cloud protection.  It comes with both Cloud Tier and Cloud DR, which come built in to the appliance but are licensed options.  Cloud Tier is essentially long term retention into the cloud, and is compatible with AWS, Azure, Dell ECS and Virtustream.  Cloud DR is currently only compatible with AWS, but provides orchestrated disaster recovery to the cloud in the form of converting VMs to EC2 instances within AWS.  There is also a recovery option into VMC on AWS. 

Once the DP4400 presentation was complete, we also got to see a product called Dell EMC vCloud Director Data Protection.  This was interesting in that it integrates directly into the vCloud Director portal UI.  If you have any flavor or Dell EMC Protect (Avamar/DD/DP appliance) protecting workloads that run in vCloud Director, then the software integration gives tenants the ability to log into their tenant UI and select a “Data Protection” menu option.  Based on the policy and storage quota that has been assigned to the tenant, the tenant can manage data protection within their environment on their own.  Unfortunately, I do not touch vCloud Director as much as I had in the past, but I certainly see how this can be valuable for service providers.


There was definitely a lot more detail than I can get into for this post, but you can watch the first part of on-demand sessions below.  Follow the Tech Field Day Extra contents within YouTube for the rest of the videos.

I cannot stress enough how nice the TFD crew are and how professional their set up is.  Having seen their past videos, I know that the quality is first rate, and I got the same comment from family/friends that tuned in for the live stream.  It was an amazing experience that helped to cap what is definitely the best conference I have attended to this point.  I hope to have the opportunity to join the TFD team as a delegate again in the future!  If you are interested in becoming a delegate, fill out the form from the link at the beginning of this post.  As I mentioned earlier, daily recap posts are not realistic for me (I blame Eye Candy @ The Mandalay Bay), so I will follow up next week with my overall thoughts from VMworld 2018.   


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