Dell announces major security, efficiency improvements to PowerStore software

Other storage families in the Dell portfolio are also announcing some upgrades, but PowerStore is the major one this time around.

The new PowerStore backup integration

Dell Technologies has announced new security and automation efficiencies across their storage portfolio. The major ones are to PowerStore, their relatively new (three years old) all-flash midrange array, although most of their security portfolio lines also receive security and efficiency upgrades.

“The focus with this announcement is primarily around PowerStore, since we are announcing the product specifics around it,” said Ben Jastrab, Director, Storage Product Marketing at Dell Technologies. “All of the others will, however, have their own release schedules throughout the year. Enhancements to security and efficiency are the two common themes throughout all the releases.”

PowerStore is from the next generation of Dell storage products, coming into the market almost exactly three years ago. It occupies the midrange product together with an older Dell product, Dell Unity XT.

“The simplest way to position the two is that PowerStore is our modern enterprise storage offering that is all-flash,” Jastrab said. “We position Unity XT as our hybrid offering, which supports spinning disk as well as flash. Unity XT also has a lower cost point because of its hybrid capability.”

The part of the announcement likely to turn the most heads is PowerStore’s new security software enhancements that assist customers with Zero Trust adoption.

“The Zero Trust security framework is defined by NIST, with the fundamental difference between the old and new approaches was that it has moved from the old focus on covering the perimeter to ‘never trust, always verify,’” Jastrab said. “There are lots of different best practices. What we have done is try and build in functions and capabilities that align to Zero Trust models, and have been adding more capabilities over time.”

This time, the capabilities include STIG-hardening, with a STIG being a Security Technical Implementation Guide that meets the most stringent configuration standards as defined by the U.S. federal government and the U.S. Department of Defense. It also adds to PowerStore’s adherence with the NIST Cyber Security Framework standard.

“The addition of STIG is huge for PowerStore,” said Marty Holmes, Senior Marketing Consultant, Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. “It hardened the system for U.S. federal requirements. That’s important for the federal market, which is huge, but it also sends a clear message to our business customers.”

Another addition is multi-factor authentication, which protects administrative access to PowerStore by requiring increased verification of a user’s identity.

“We are seeing MFA deployed more and more,” Jastrab said. “It used to be a network thing. Now it’s applied to all kinds of devices. It’s an additional step to verify a person’s identity, which hasn’t always been the case, since it wasn’t thought to be important back when it was all behind the network firewall.”

Immutable snapshots which cannot be changed have also been added to PowerStore, to prevents unauthorized deleting or modifying of snapshots before their expiration date.

“They have been enhanced so now an admin can’t delete them until the policy set on them expires,” Jastrab indicated.

Streamlined file permissions now let storage admins manage access directly from PowerStore to respond quickly to security threats.

“The enhancements to file permission and to file resiliency in general are important,” Holmes stated. “They are the kind of change that have moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have.’ They are especially important when customers look at how they control access to data on the system.”

The increased file resiliency provides up to 4x more mounted snapshots per system, giving users more protection points for granular recovery if needed.

“Since the introduction of PowerStore, we have made hardware refresh faster, and added more powerful controllers,” said Jastrab, explaining where the 4x improvement came from. “We have also made adjustments to take advantage of power media, as well as software enhancements.”

PowerStore has also been more deeply integrated into Dell’s physical and software-defined data protection solutions, with backup into their cloud capability. DD Backups and restores can be configured in less than two minutes, directly from the PowerStore user interface

“We think this integration with our data protection is incredibly important from a multi-cloud perspective,” Jastrab said. “It enables doing direct backups, including in a hyperscaler environment, and makes it easier to orchestrate backups.” He stressed how that is also another aspect of the simplicity that is central to this release.

So are expanded DevOps integrations.

“We have expanded our support for Ansible with additional VMware support, and also added support for Terraform,” Jastrab stated.

PowerStore is up to 60% more energy efficient with new ENERGY STAR certification, something that is an increasingly important criteria in IT buying decisions.

“In addition to its operational efficiency stride, the improved ENERGY STAR capabilities are also a good integration story on PowerProtect,” Holmes said.

Dell also made a series of announcements on their other product families.

Dell PowerFlex, Dell’s software-defined infrastructure, receives enhanced NVMe/TCP and security speeds modernization.

“This will be more and more important as the year goes on,” Jastrab said. “It’s becoming a significant differentiator for the market, and will be of interest for the channel.”

Dell PowerMax mission-critical storage gets strengthened cybersecurity through a native airgap to enable customers to expedite recovery of compromised production data.

Dell ObjectScale, Dell’s software-defined object-storage platform, introduces faster enterprise S3 object storage performance with a simpler deployment and support experience.

Dell CloudIQ, Dell’s AIOps software, extends its AI/ML-driven performance and capacity analytics and VMware integration to simplify and accelerate IT and DevOps.

Finally, Dell Unity XT, Dell’s hybrid storage platform, increases Ansible support to enhance storage automation, helping customers lower costs, reduce errors and increase productivity.

Dell PowerMax, CloudIQ and Unity XT capabilities are globally available today.

Dell PowerStore and ObjectScale advancements will be globally available in June 2023.

Dell PowerFlex advancements will be globally available in the third quarter of 2023.