A guest post by Jodey Hogeland Michael Aharon

Let’s continue our mini-series with Michael Aharon and a review of PowerStore 3.5 features. In this article we will overview the new capability of backing up PowerStore data directly to a Dell PowerProtect DD series. Within PowerStore, this feature is referred to as Remote Backup. The primary use case of this capability is to enable customers to complete backups of rather large workloads within an acceptable backup window. This is achieved by moving data directly from the PowerStore appliance to the PowerProtect DD target and bypassing the backup host.

First, let understand what Dell PowerProtect DD is and the benefits it brings to customers. To help provide an understanding of this, we have some great input from Tony (Peng) Zhang – a Systems Engineer with Dell Technologies Data Protection & Cyber Recovery business.

DD series enables customers’ organizations to protect, manage and recover data at scale. As the next generation of Dell Data Domain appliances, DD series sets the bar for efficient data management from edge to core to cloud and includes the ecosystem support and comprehensive data protection that customers have come to appreciate from Data Domain. For additional details, please refer to the following https://www.dell.com/en-ca/dt/data-protection/index.htm page.

Before the PowerStore OS 3.5 release, customers were able to define Protection Policies for Local and Remote protection. Local protection policies focused on allowing customers to schedule snapshots and assign them to supported objects. Remote protection policies focused on allowing customer to natively replicate resources to a remote target PowerStore cluster via asynchronous replication.

With PowerStore OS 3.5, we are introducing another option within a Protection Policy called Remote Backup. In this release, supported objects are volumes and volume groups. The underlying technology used to facilitate this capability is snapshots. When using the Remote Backup feature, a volume or volume group that is being backed up will be a full backup snapshot, however all subsequent backup sessions will be incremental snapshots.

As customers develop their backup strategy and evaluate how they can incorporate this new feature, keep in mind that the target PowerProtect DD can either be a physical appliance or a virtual edition, running either on-premises or in the public cloud.

This article will not go into all the details around this new feature, pre-requisites, and limitations. You can read the PowerStore Protecting Your Data document if you are looking to gain a deeper understanding of this integration.

The workflow to enable the Remote Backup feature is as follows:

1.      Add a remote system connection for remote backup

2.      Create a remote backup rule

3.      Create a protection policy

4.      Assign a protection policy

Step 1 – Add a remote system connection for remote backup

To define remote systems, you will need to select Protection –> Remote Systems menu in PowerStore Manager.

Click “Add” and select PowerProtect DD from the dropdown menu.

Let’s breakdown each field in the screenshot above to make it clear.

Add Remote System Details

  • Type

• PowerProtect DD

  • Management IP Address

• DD System IP Address or specific Tenant IP in Multitenancy Configuration

  • Management Username and Password

• DD System Admin Credentials or specific Tenant Credentials in

Multitenancy Configuration

  • Storage Unit Name

• DD has MTree (Managed Tree) file directory structure; Logical partitions

of the file system

• MTrees are used to create – DD Boost storage units

  • Data Transfer Address (same as Management IP and User Credentials, unless using multitenancy)

• DD System IP Address or specific Tenant IP in Multitenancy Configuration

  • Data Transfer Username and Password (same as Management IP and

User Credentials, unless using multitenancy) 

• DD System Admin Credentials or specific Tenant Credentials in

Multitenancy Configuration

The above details can be obtained from the DD System Manager GUI. Below are sample screenshots.

  • Network Config

• Navigate to Maintenance, then System Configuration

• System Network Configuration of DD

• Network Interface Configuration

Configuration of a DDBoost Storage Unit

  • Navigate to Maintenance, then System Configuration
  • Storage Unit Name

—— Must be Unique

  • Storage Unit User

——- Select or create a DDBoost User

Once these configuration options are set you can also check the ‘Encryption’ box if desired. Because PowerStore and PowerProtect DD are using DD Boost protocol to transfer data, the traffic can be encrypted in-flight. DD Boost protocol can be used with or without certificates for authentication and encryption of data. In flight encryption enables applications to encrypt the in-flight backup and restore data over LAN from the system. When this check box is selected, this configuration will use TLS to encrypt the session between the PowerStore and PowerProtect DD systems.

One of the distinct advantages of PowerStore is the ability to cluster multiple appliances together. This can make administration of these remote backups extremely simple because a single PowerProtect DD appliance can support more than one PowerStore appliance. Think of a many to one scenario.

Once the Remote System is defined, you can view the properties of the Remote System.

Once sessions are established, you can see the number of sessions, their status and where they originated by selecting ‘Connectivity’ tab.

Step 2 – Create Remote Backup rule

The second step is to create a Remote Backup Rule. As you will see later, you will use this rule to link it to a Protection Policy. The Protection Policy can later be applied to a Volume or Volume Group streamlining these backups. This capability expedites and simplifies how data gets protected with PowerStore and PowerProtect DD.

Click on Protection menu and select Protection Policies.

Select Remote Backup rule and click on Create.

From this screen, you could select your PowerProtect DD appliance destination, if you preconfigured it in Step 1. Alternatively, you can also set it up from this screen. Then simply configure the remaining fields, such as frequency and retention. As a side note, a PowerProtect DD appliance allows customers to configure backup retentions of up to 25,550 days, or 70 years.

Step 3 – Create a protection policy

The next step is to create a Protection Policy. This is the beauty of PowerStore, we’ve made it very easy and very intuitive for customers to follow the logic. Everything is wizard driven, which simplifies the setup process.

Click on Protection menu and select Protection Policies and the click Create.

Give the new Protection Policy a Name.

Then select the Remote Backup rule we created in Step 2.

When configuring a Protection Policy, keep in mind that it can only contain a single Remote Backup rule. In case you have Volumes or Volume Groups with different requirements for frequency of backup and retention, you will need to set up multiple Protection Policies and Remote Backup rules.

Step 4 – Assign the Protection Policy

The final step is to assign the Protection Policy we created in Step 3.

Once the Protection Policy is assigned, you will see snapshots under the volume properties and under the Protection tab. The tab is labeled as Remote Snapshots.

There are several options that are now available, such as retrieving a remote snapshot or providing access to it using Instant Access.

Retrieving a remote snapshot can be performed either to the same PowerStore appliance or to another PowerStore appliance. This capability has several different use cases and benefits.

Instant Access allows to access a remote snapshot without retrieving it.

Alternatively, you can also map a host to the newly created volume.

In order to manage remote backup sessions, you can browse to the Protection — Remote Backup screen.

From the Remote Backup screen you can see the status of each remote backup session, retrieve specific remote snapshots, list protected resources, or enable instant access.


PowerStore’s integrated backup with PowerProtect DD allows customers multiple key features and benefits – an executive overview can be found on Dell Technologies Info Hub here.

The key features are:

  • Self-service remote backup with DD series appliances as the target remote system
  • Backup and retrieve PowerStore block volumes and volume groups data with DD series
  • Ability to Instantly access the remote snapshot residing on a DD series appliance
  • Supports both physical and software-defined DD series appliances. Supports PowerProtect DD Virtual Edition with AWS cloud provider.
  • PowerStore leverages DD Boost protocol to send data to DD series
  • End to end data protection orchestration using PowerStore Manager
  • Direct encrypted transfer from PowerStore to DD series

The key benefits are:

  • Zero impact on hosts because backups run directly on PowerStore
  • Incremental forever data protection strategy for PowerStore block volumes and volume groups
  • Backup different resources to different locations within a single DD series appliance
  • Ability to configure local and remote protection within a single protection policy with independent schedule and retention
  • Replication between DD series appliances and to the cloud

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