Tag Archives: backup

Pure Storage, Cohesity combine on all-flash backup appliance

Pure Storage’s latest all-flash appliance is a high-speed backup device.

This week, Pure revealed its partnership with backup vendor Cohesity and launched FlashRecover, an appliance that integrates Cohesity’s DataProtect software into Pure’s FlashBlade hardware. Pure Storage promises up to three times faster backup and recovery from its all-flash backup appliance compared to disk-based hardware. The goal is to reduce recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives (RPOs/RTOs), especially for large-scale recoveries, by putting backup processes on high-performance storage.

FlashRecover is a Pure Storage product and is purchased and supported through Pure. If a support problem requires Cohesity’s input, Pure will reach out so the customer won’t have to contact two different vendors to resolve any problems they have with FlashRecover.

Pure FlashRecover is available only to a limited number of customers for testing, but Pure expects it to become generally available in the U.S. around October this year, and followed by launches in other countries.

There has been growing market appetite for putting secondary data use cases on high-performance hardware, and vendors have been catering to it. For example, in July, Catalogic ECX copy data management (CDM) software introduced support for HPE Nimble storage, allowing test/dev to spin up copies of data faster.

“We’re seeing this move to flash,” said Amy Fowler, vice president of strategy and solution of the FlashBlade business unit at Pure Storage, adding that some FlashBlade customers already use it for backup and recovery. “Speed has become extremely critical.”

Fowler said the need for speed has been driven by increased ransomware attacks in the COVID-19 era. Restoring the occasional file after accidental deletion or corruption doesn’t necessarily need the speed of flash hardware, but ransomware has increased the likelihood that a massive scale restore is necessary. Fowler said restoring terabytes of data from disk is arduous, and FlashRecover can make the process easier.

Chris Wiborg, vice president of product marketing at Cohesity, said FlashRecover also addresses other secondary data use cases that could go for a speed boost. Aside from rapidly restoring data for ransomware recovery, Cohesity software has copy data management capabilities, generating clones of data that can be used for DevOps, testing, analytics and any other workload that calls for a copy of the data. Cohesity also scrubs the data as part of its cloning process to remove sensitive information.

“The insurance policy and business continuity is just one use case. Creating zero-cost clones and letting people do more with their data, being able to do that at speed and at scale is also important,” Wiborg said.

Pure Storage and Cohesity have a previous relationship; Cohesity DataPlatform native snapshot support was introduced for Pure FlashArray in March 2017. FlashRecover marks a deepening of that relationship, as it is a joint engineering and joint go-to-market deal. Unlike the integration between Cohesity and FlashArray, FlashRecover sets the Pure FlashBlade appliance up as a backup target. Wiborg said this doesn’t remove any of the core functionality of the appliance, so customers can still use it for primary storage. He said part of the reason there’s a seven-week gap between FlashRecover’s launch and general availability is because he wants to see how customers use the device.

Eric Burgener, research vice president at IDC, said he considers FlashRecover a convergence of multiple trends. First, there is the trend of digital transformation, where more business models are becoming data-centric. This has made analytics more popular, along with other use cases that reuse copies of data for business purposes. In turn, demand for availability has risen, because the uptime of IT infrastructure is directly tied to business success. Ransomware, which has become more prevalent due to COVID-19, threatens that uptime. Finally, the cost of flash has gone down over the past decade, though it is still not cheaper than disk.

“The trends are all coming together,” Burgener said. “I think going forward, we’re going to see more of this.”

Although it was already possible for organizations to put together an all-flash backup target themselves, this is the first time Burgener knows of that a vendor is offering it out-of-box with full support. From a purely performance perspective, putting backup, analytics and other secondary data workloads on flash makes sense because there’s no need for multiple copies of the data. Burgener said even if one workload is asking for data while another workload is trying to back it up, the interfering I/O in a flash system wouldn’t noticeably affect performance. But from a cost perspective, disk still wins. Burgener said quad-level cell flash storage costs around 10 cents per GB, while common hard drives are about two cents per GB.

Flash has lower latency and much higher throughput than disk, and more customers now consider the extra cost worth it. Burgener said for some businesses, the cost per GB is no longer as important as RPOs/RTOs, and this is a trend that will continue to grow. In the past, backup appliances were narrowly focused on the task of backing up data and restoring it — putting that on expensive flash was unthinkable. Now that copies of data serve many other purposes, some of which are important for growing or accelerating the business, Burgener said organizations are willing to pay a little extra.

 “People will pay a little bit of a premium for some of these benefits,” Burgener said.

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Backup and recovery Magic Quadrant shows cloud significance

With an emphasis on cloud-based data protection and management, the leaders in this year’s backup and recovery Magic Quadrant feature a mix of veterans and a couple of newcomers.

Veeam, Commvault, Veritas, Dell and IBM were all leaders in 2019 and again in 2020 in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions.” Cohesity and Rubrik, after appearing as visionaries in last year’s Magic Quadrant, moved up to the leader position this year.

“The move toward public cloud, heightened concerns over ransomware and complexities associated with backup and data management are forcing [infrastructure and operations] leaders to rearchitect their backup infrastructure and explore alternative solutions,” Gartner said in the Magic Quadrant report released in July.

Acronis moved from niche player to visionary, joining Actifio in the spot that features high completeness of vision, but lower ability to execute than the leaders. Arcserve and Unitrends remained in the niche player area, which has lower completeness of vision and ability to execute than the leaders. Like last year, Gartner had no challengers in the backup and recovery Magic Quadrant.

Gartner also cited Clumio, Druva, HYCU and Zerto as honorable mentions. Micro Focus was the only vendor to drop out of the Magic Quadrant.

Quadrant promotes competitors Rubrik and Cohesity

Rubrik had a drastically different reaction to this year’s Magic Quadrant versus 2019, when the vendor slammed Gartner after its placement in the visionary category. In a blog post, CEO Bipul Sinha called the 2019 backup and recovery Magic Quadrant “seriously flawed,” and said there were inaccuracies and a potential conflict of interest.

This year, Gartner praised the scalability of Rubrik’s Cloud Data Management product, as well as the vendor’s ransomware detection and remediation in its Polaris Radar offering, and its database recovery. Gartner positioned Rubrik furthest for completeness of vision.

Rubrik president Dan Rogers said the company enjoyed the engagement with Gartner this year.

Headshot of Rubrik's Dan RogersDan Rogers

“It was great to see Gartner acknowledge our scale and credibility,” Rogers said.

Gartner lists three cautions in addition to three strengths for all vendors in the Magic Quadrant. For Rubrik, Gartner cited limited integration with storage array snapshots, higher operational costs for public cloud application backup, and weak Active Directory support.

Rogers said Rubrik will keep hiring and aims to improve in such areas as cloud workload coverage and operational intelligence. When asked for comment on the 2020 Magic Quadrant, Sinha did not directly address Rubrik’s change in status, but sent a statement:

“We will continue to innovate to help our customers modernize and automate their data protection, manage their data for a multi-cloud world, and get more out of their data through cybersecurity and data governance applications,” Sinha wrote.

Cohesity, a major competitor to Rubrik, also became a backup and recovery Magic Quadrant leader for the first time. Gartner slotted Cohesity slightly behind Rubrik in completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Gartner cited Cohesity’s centralized monitoring and management in its SaaS-based Helios product, heterogeneous cluster support, and service and support capabilities as strengths.

Global customer adoption, revenue growth tied to its transition to a software subscription model, and innovation in data protection and management were all factors in Cohesity’s improved showing, according to Ross Camp, vice president of corporate communications.

“It is rare for any company to become a leader in only its second Magic Quadrant appearance,” Camp wrote in an email.

Gartner listed release cadence and code quality, reporting and limited presence in emerging markets as Cohesity’s cautions.

“Many of our customers want the earliest possible versions of our software so they can begin to take advantage of the latest data management capabilities,” Camp wrote. Cohesity has “made significant investments in test coverage, and [continues] to evaluate processes that can optimize our release cadence.”

Veeam, Commvault solidify leader standing

Veeam made the leader category for the fourth straight year. Gartner positioned Veeam as having the highest ability to execute.

Veeam was the only vendor to move higher in both ability to execute and completeness of vision in the backup and recovery Magic Quadrant, said CTO Danny Allan.

Headshot of Veeam's Danny AllanDanny Allan

Gartner praised Veeam’s monitoring, reporting and diagnostics in its Veeam One offering, licensing portability, and backup and recovery for Microsoft Exchange and 365.

Gartner recognized Veeam’s ability to not just perform backup and replication for the data center, but also SaaS services like Microsoft 365, according to Allan.

“I thought it truly represented where we are in the industry,” Allan said. “I always look for every opportunity to improve.”

Gartner cited large-scale deployment complexity, cloud-native application backup and immutable backup storage as cautions.

Veeam will satisfy the bulk of those issues by next year’s Magic Quadrant, Allan said. He noted that Veeam has had about 15 product updates since this year’s submission deadline.

Commvault, a major competitor to Veeam, made the leader category for the ninth straight time.

Gartner said Commvault’s strengths are cloud-native data protection, subscription licensing and broad ecosystem support, including databases, public cloud environments and NAS systems.

“As of March 2020, Commvault protects the largest number of public cloud VM instances among all vendors evaluated in this research,” the report said.

Commvault’s backup and recovery Magic Quadrant placement “is a testament to our continued innovation and response to market needs such as broad ecosystem support and support for new use cases, including cloud data management, and flexible pricing options for customers,” CMO Chris Powell wrote in an email.

Cautions were deployment complexity of Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery, its HyperScale appliance built on Red Hat and not a proprietary file system, and availability of HyperScale as a subscription only.

In July, Commvault unveiled a revised and expanded product set, including the HyperScale X appliance that uses Hedvig file system technology, replacing Red Hat Gluster.

“While the subscription licensing was listed as a caution specifically for HyperScale X, it was also one of the three components where Gartner recognized us as being on the forefront of customer needs,” Powell wrote. “Our customers are looking for overall ease of use and the subscription model allows that.”

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CEO: OwnBackup funding will power more SaaS platform support

OwnBackup is seeking to expand in the hot market of SaaS backup following a $50 million funding round.

For several years, OwnBackup has focused on Salesforce backup and recovery, but the vendor is now eyeing other SaaS platforms to support, CEO Sam Gutmann said.

Over the next two to three years, OwnBackup is targeting a “top 10” in the SaaS ecosystem, Gutmann said. He declined to provide specifics, but other popular SaaS platforms include Microsoft 365, G Suite, Dropbox, Box and NetSuite.

OwnBackup has received $73.25 million in funding in little over a year, following a $23.25 million round in 2019. The new round brings total OwnBackup funding to $100 million.

Still, Gutmann is aiming to be cautious with the expansion.

“Most startups fail because they failed to focus,” Gutmann said, echoing comments he made after the 2019 funding round. The difference now is OwnBackup plans to protect other SaaS apps, while last year it continued to concentrate on Salesforce.

Aided by the funding, OwnBackup plans to more than double the size of its research and development team. The vendor, with headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is approaching 250 total employees, up from about 100 one year ago and 30 three years ago. Gutmann aims to be closer to 300 by the end of year.

Battle of SaaS backup underway

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said he expects more investments in the SaaS backup and recovery market.

“I think we’re starting to see the arms race now,” Bertrand said. “Who’s going to win the enterprise?”

Like other top SaaS platforms such as Microsoft 365, Salesforce is responsible for the overall infrastructure but the end users are responsible for their data. It’s hard to get solid Salesforce backup and recovery, Bertrand said.

Demands for availability are high, though. A recent Enterprise Strategy Group survey of IT professionals responsible for data protection technology decisions showed an average 30-minute recovery point objective for Salesforce and a 27-minute RPO for Microsoft 365.

While there are several products that back up Microsoft 365 data, the Salesforce backup market is limited, at least for now. Odaseva also focuses on Salesforce data protection.

The OwnBackup funding validates the power of Salesforce and shows that it’s the next battleground for data protection, Bertrand said. Salesforce itself recommends third-party backup and recovery, and is retiring its Salesforce Data Recovery, a last-resort service for customers looking to restore lost data, at the end of July.

Headshot of OwnBackup CEO Sam GutmannSam Gutmann

“That news kind of woke people up — ‘I need to be responsible for my data,'” Gutmann said of the end of Salesforce Data Recovery.

OwnBackup’s cloud-to-cloud business continuity platform provides backup of data, metadata and attachments stored in Salesforce. It features real-time monitoring and alerts. The vendor also provides backup and recovery for nCino, Veeva and Sage platforms.

Recent OwnBackup updates include enhanced sandbox seeding and its Archiver product, which launched last year and enables users to directly archive data from Salesforce.

With the OwnBackup funding, the vendor plans to expand its backup, recovery, archiving and sandbox seeding services into a unified platform across a variety of SaaS applications.

Tackling challenges on the road ahead

Insight Partners led the OwnBackup funding round, which also featured participation from Salesforce Ventures, Vertex Ventures and Innovation Endeavors. Private equity firm Insight Partners owns Veeam Software and has a stake in several other data protection vendors. While it’s not connected to any other Salesforce-focused backup vendors, it does have other SaaS backup in its portfolio, such as Veeam’s Backup for Microsoft Office 365.

We’ve had many customers tell us business continuity planning is more important than it’s ever been.
Sam GutmannCEO, OwnBackup

The biggest hurdle for OwnBackup is customers not being aware of the need for backup and “doing nothing,” Gutmann said.

Though the pandemic is presenting a challenge to IT budgets, data protection is one area that remains top of mind.

“We’ve had many customers tell us business continuity planning is more important than it’s ever been,” Gutmann said. “And we’re part of that strategy.”

OwnBackup doubled its customer base to 2,000 in the last year. With increased platform support, the plan is to double customers again in the year to come, but Gutmann acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic may make that goal more difficult.

“It’s still a huge opportunity to grow the business organically and add platforms on top of that,” Gutmann said.

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Actifio sues Rubrik for patent infringement

Backup vendor Actifio, often credited with popularizing the term copy data management, has accused Rubrik of copying its ideas.

Last week, Actifio filed a lawsuit against Rubrik claiming that Rubrik’s “Brik” appliances and Cloud Data Management software infringes on four of Actifio’s patents. The four patents are:

  • U.S. Patent No. 6,732,244, titled, “Instant Virtual Copy Technique with Expedited Creation of Backup Dataset Inventory from Source Dataset Inventory;”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,959,369, titled, “Method, System, and Program for Data Backup;”
  • U.S. Patent No. 9,495,435, titled, “System and Method for Intelligent Database Backup;” and
  • U.S. Patent No. 10,013,313, titled, “Integrated Database and Log Backup.”

Actifio wants Rubrik to stop making and selling the infringing products and seeks monetary damages, but did not specify an amount.

Actifio’s underlying technology platform is its Virtual Data Pipeline (VDP). VDP generates a virtualized golden copy of changes in production data, which then becomes the single data source for multiple use cases. This improves efficiency because backup, disaster recovery (DR) and test/dev can all draw from this single data source instead of separate data silos specific to each use case. VDP also has built-in functions for managing data life cycle, deduplication and compression.

Rubrik’s Cloud Data Management combines backup and recovery, replication, analytics and search onto a single software platform. It can run on the cloud or on Rubrik’s “Brik” appliances. Similar to Actifio VDP, Rubrik’s platform is designed to be a single data source for multiple use cases.

“Vendors who are slow to innovate often resort to lawsuits to suppress sales and innovation of market leaders. We believe there is no merit to this complaint, and we intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously,” Rubrik president Dan Rogers said in an email statement.

This is the second time this year that Rubrik was sued for patent infringement. In April, backup industry veteran Commvault filed lawsuits against Rubrik and Cohesity, alleging both companies infringed on Commvault’s patents. The complaint against Rubrik claimed Rubrik’s Cloud Data Management software and “Brik” appliances infringed on seven Commvault patents. Some of the technology Rubrik is accused of lifting from Commvault include, “System and method for performing an image level snapshot and for restoring partial volume data,” and “System and method for storage operation access security.”

Cohesity responded to that lawsuit with a similar claim to Rogers’ current statement — that its accuser was using lawsuits to attack its competitor’s sales.

“It is not uncommon for legacy vendors to attempt to disrupt the disruptors with frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to stifle innovation and sales,” said Lynn Lucas, chief marketing officer at Cohesity in an email statement.

Data protection continues to be a highly competitive and dynamic market, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research from Evaluator Group, data protection is among the top three technology investments that businesses are making in response to the pandemic, alongside security and cloud infrastructure. Investor interest also hasn’t stopped, as DR vendor Zerto received $53 million in additional funding in June and tape vendor Quantum revealed in its latest earnings call that it secured an additional $20 million in liquidity from its lenders.

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Trilio’s Kubernetes data protection enters early access

A global pandemic sidelined the drive for backup for containers, but at least one vendor expects the technology will make a complete recovery.

Trilio launched early access for its TrilioVault for Kubernetes, a platform that enables simple snapshotting, backup and recovery for applications and their associated data and metadata within Kubernetes containers. In beta since November 2019, TrilioVault for Kubernetes is now offered as a 30-day free trial, a free basic edition for up to ten nodes or an enterprise edition that charges on a per-node basis. General availability is planned for the end of May, and Trilio will add features such as advanced retention policies and backup script injection.

TrilioVault for Kubernetes is agentless, packaged as an Operator and deployed as a Custom Resource Definition in Kubernetes. It enables Kubernetes to natively perform snapshotting and recovery for use cases such as backup, disaster recovery and migration of backup data between clouds and test/dev environments. The platform is compatible with any storage, whether NFS, CSI or S3, and users can point to AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud or a private cloud as the backup target. It backs up applications provisioned by Labels, Helm or Operator within Kubernetes or Red Hat OpenShift. The product is OpenShift Operator certified and can be installed from OperatorHub.

There has been a growing number of organizations developing and deploying applications in the cloud, said Trilio CEO David Safaii. Trilio’s first offering, TrilioVault for OpenStack, went after the cloud-native data protection market, and Safaii said there’s now rising demand for a similar product for Kubernetes applications.

A report recently published by GigaOm found that Kubernetes adoption is on the rise, as enterprises are developing and testing applications in containers. This has led to more stateful applications living in containers, and a need to back them up.

Safaii said there are generally two ways companies protect Kubernetes environments, and both have flaws. Custom scripting can achieve backup and recovery, but requires a lot of maintenance and updates as cloud-native applications continually change. Legacy backup vendors deploy agents and focus on their own proprietary tools and storage. Both methods are missing what Safaii considers the two essential components of cloud data protection: an open, universal backup schema and infinite scalability.

“People are not happy with what’s out there now,” Safaii said.

Vendors such as Asigra, Storware, Cohesity and Storidge have products that can perform agentless backups for Kubernetes.

Data protection vendors had been getting into container backup before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to switch focus to endpoint and remote backup. Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, said there’s been movement on containers, both increased company adoption of containers and rising demand for protecting them, but nobody cares now because of COVID-19.

screenshot of TrilioVault for Kubernetesin OpenShift OperatorHub
TrilioVault for Kubernetes is OpenShift certified and can be installed from OperatorHub.

Staimer said before the pandemic, he would’ve seen this as Trilio going to market at the right time and addressing a market need just as momentum for it was picking up. Now, he’s not so sure. While he believes containers and container backup will see greater adoption in the future, everyone is more concerned about backing up their laptops right now.

“Containers have sort of taken a backseat for now,” Staimer said. “They would’ve been riding the beginning of the wave, but the wave’s been detoured.”

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, similarly said there was a bright future for containers. Containers are part of a trend toward agile development, and products that understand and protect container environments will be critical. Containers and Kubernetes will displace or replace some of the workloads virtualization and VMware do right now. However, Bertrand conceded that future may be delayed.

“It’s definitely a hot topic that’s been eclipsed right now,” Bertrand said.

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Clumio backup adds Microsoft 365 protection

Clumio backup is adding software-as-a-service application support, starting with protection for Microsoft 365.

The Clumio backup-as-a-service product’s first level of 365 support is Microsoft Exchange Online emails, with more to follow.

Microsoft’s 365 service protection responsibility is limited to the infrastructure level. In fact, Microsoft even lays out what’s needed for protection, said Chadd Kenney, vice president and chief technologist at Clumio.

“At the end of the day, it’s the customers’ responsibility for backing up that data,” Kenney said.

Cloud-based data such as Microsoft 365 emails face risks including data loss — for example, accidental and malicious deletions — and ransomware attacks. Security features in the Clumio backup include immutability and an “air gap,” Kenney said.

“SaaS is one of the most vulnerable areas,” he said, because users often don’t pay attention to what is protected.

For many organizations, 365 backup is still an afterthought, according to Archana Venkatraman, associate research director at IDC.

“Many consider Microsoft’s infrastructure-level security and retention capabilities are enough,” Venkatraman wrote in an email. “But backing up 365 is important for granular recovery, and meeting retention obligations for specific industries such as financial services, healthcare and the public sector.”

In addition, more enterprises are considering data protection to enable remote working in the current market conditions, as there are many extra endpoints vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks, Venkatraman said.

“Customers are looking for faster restores in case of ransomware attacks,” she wrote.

Clumio backup for Microsoft 365 — formerly Office 365 — offers recovery options from a single email to a full mailbox. Users can easily browse through particular folders and go back to a specific point in time, Kenney said.

The product has been in early access for about three weeks and officially launches May 6.

Screenshot of Clumio's backup for Microsoft 365
Clumio backup for Microsoft 365 follows the new vendor’s protection of VMware and AWS workloads.

Law firm chooses Clumio for VMware, 365 backup

Clumio, founded in 2017 and based in Santa Clara, Calif., launched its first services last year. It also offers backup for VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware vSphere and AWS native services. Customer demand led Clumio to choose Microsoft 365 for its next platform support.

“Email in particular was the biggest focus,” Kenney said.

CSK Legal, a law firm based in Miami with about a dozen locations in Florida, has used Clumio backup for VMware for about a year and just started using Clumio for 365.

SaaS is one of the most vulnerable areas.
Chadd KenneyVice president and chief technologist, Clumio

The firm is in the middle of a migration to fully using 365 for email. CIO Jason Thomas said he expects Clumio to ultimately protect 20 TB of email.

Thomas said the Clumio backup for 365 is straightforward, fast and similar to the product he’s been using for VMware protection. It even uses the same interface.

CSK Legal backs up about 100 VMware VMs with Clumio, and also has Rubrik for on-premises backups.

Thomas said he didn’t have any hang-ups with using a product so new to the market. He was familiar with Clumio CEO and co-founder Poojan Kumar, and said he was confident in Kumar’s knowledge and ability to launch companies. Kumar was also CEO and co-founder of PernixData, which Nutanix acquired in 2016.

Thomas also knew Clumio salespeople because they previously sold him other products, which have worked well. In addition, Thomas said he likes Clumio’s pricing model, the lack of ingress and egress charges, how much he can back up, the indexing and search capabilities, and the ability to restore.

“We’re a full VMware shop, so they support everything we need,” he said. “I have yet to see a solution that’s as slick as theirs.”

CSK Legal has a second data center for its disaster recovery site, but Thomas said in the future the firm could use the cloud and Clumio for DR.

Clumio’s competition and plans

Clumio enters a crowded market of backup for 365. Backup vendors that offer 365 support include Acronis, Arcserve, Carbonite, CloudAlly, Commvault, Druva and Veeam.

Kenney said Clumio backup stands out because it’s one platform that was born in the cloud, rather than some traditional vendors that started with an on-premises platform and later built another for cloud-based backup.

Enterprises need to evaluate ease of use, flexibility, scalability and integration features when investing in Microsoft 365 backup, according to IDC’s Venkatraman.

“A backup-as-a-service offering that is cloud-native and API-driven is complementary to an organization’s cloud migration and transformation journey,” Venkatraman wrote. 

With so many companies working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, Clumio is especially helpful now because there’s no need to go into a data center to install it, Kenney said. Customers can sign up with an email and password. The vendor claims it takes minutes to set up.

“It’s about as simple as setting up a LinkedIn account,” Kenney said.

Clumio backup for Microsoft 365 is priced per user, per month. The vendor said it will provide details when the product becomes generally available.

Clumio will add Microsoft 365 calendar backups in the next couple of months through a regular product update. It plans to add support for OneDrive in the third quarter and for SharePoint in the fourth quarter. Kenney said Clumio also plans backup for Microsoft Teams.

Salesforce, ServiceNow and Slack are among the other SaaS platforms on Clumio’s radar.

Clumio has 134 employees and closed a $135 million Series C funding round in November.

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Veeam’s Timashev discusses selling company, next steps

It’s the end of an era at Veeam Software.

Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov are stepping away from the backup, recovery and data management company they founded in 2006. Private equity firm Insight Partners said last week it would acquire Veeam in a transaction that valued Veeam at $5 billion. Timashev said it was his decision to step down from the board of directors and from his position of executive vice president of sales and marketing. He will remain in those roles until the sale closes, likely by the end of the first quarter. Baronov has left his CEO position and will relinquish his spot on the board.

Timashev held the CEO job from 2006 to 2016, and has been the most public face of Veeam. Timashev said he feels he’s leaving Veeam in good hands. For example, William Largent, who has served in various positions since the beginning of the company, returned to the role of CEO.

“At some point, the founders have to step down,” Timashev said in an interview.

He expressed confidence in Insight Partners as the new owner. The firm had invested $500 million in Veeam a year ago and first invested in the company in 2013.

Timashev seemed excited for the future of Veeam, which started in backup for virtual infrastructure and has since expanded to cover cloud and physical environments. It has grown in that time into a billion-dollar annual revenue company and claims 365,000 users and 70,000 partners.

Timashev said Veeam has conquered the VMware backup market and will next tackle the hybrid cloud in its “act two.” He specifically called out four targets in Veeam’s focus: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Google. The transition includes a move to subscription pricing.

Timashev, 53, this week discussed why the founders decided to sell the company, what the sale could mean for customers, and what he plans to do next.

What was behind the decision to sell the company now?

Veeam's Ratmir TimashevRatmir Timashev

Ratmir Timashev: We felt that it’s good timing for us to accelerate our growth globally, but also specifically in the U.S. Insight has been our strategic partner since 2013. But I’ve known Insight since 2001.

We believe right now the whole industry, as well as Veeam, is in a transition to what we call “act two.” For us, “act one” was dominating the highly virtualized, modern, on-premises data center, from the data management and backup point of view. And we’ve done a great job in the last 10 years.

The whole industry and also Veeam is going through a large transition to a hybrid cloud and pay-as-you-go subscription model. It’s a difficult transition, but we believe that we will be successful.

So, we thought that Insight, with the industry experience — and experience with different business models and software companies — would be a great partner to take us to this next level.

Will you still be involved in Veeam?

Timashev: I will be involved in the transition and then my role will be more on a consultant basis.

How long do you see the transition lasting?

Timashev: We don’t know — [at least] until the deal is closed, which is expected by the end of Q1. The transition might [end] sometime after that. But I will not be employed by Veeam when the transaction closes. 

What would you like to see during the transition period? What are some of your goals while you’re still employed with Veeam?

Timashev: We want to make sure that employees understand that not a lot of changes will occur. This acquisition is not about reducing the cost or shrinking the expenses. It’s about growth.

Sometimes when a private equity firm buys a company, in an industry or segment that is not growing, their goal is to reduce the costs. That’s not the case with Veeam because we are in a high growth area with a leading position. And we’re extremely well-positioned to capitalize on this expanding market for us.

We believe that we have a very strong executive management team.

Considering your relationship with Insight, could you have stayed on after the deal closed, as an executive?

Timashev: I could have, but that’s not our plan.

Why, since you’ve been there from the beginning, why is now the time that you want to step away?

Timashev: In general, I want to spend more time with my family and kids. I worked very hard in the last 20, 30 years building two companies. [To start Veeam, the two invested the money they made from selling their first company, Aelita Software, to Quest in 2004.]

Andrei is in a similar position — we are the same age. And we have kids and want to spend more time with family.

Since you’ve been with the company since the beginning, will it be hard to step away?

Timashev: It’s always hard, it’s like a baby. Friends of mine are asking how difficult it is. I asked them, ‘Is it difficult to sell your child for $5 billion?’

Is there anything that’s unfinished that you wish had been completed by now? Do you have any concerns that you hope get resolved in the near future?

Whoever wins this new market is going to dominate. Veeam won the VMware market. When a new market opens up, you only have two, three, four years to win that market.
Ratmir TimashevCo-founder, Veeam Software

Timashev: Not really — right now, we are going through a major transition, which represents some challenges, as well as opportunities. Whoever wins this new market is going to dominate. Veeam won the VMware market. It took us two or three years to win that market and then we basically rode the wave.

When a new market opens up, you only have two, three, four years to win that market. And there will always be three winners — number one, number two, number three, and then there will be a whole bunch of others.

We’re very well-positioned.

So you don’t have your third company in the works yet?

Timashev: We always have some ideas — always definitely to find another billion-dollar market opportunity. And I always say it takes three things to create a successful technology company — to be at the right time, at the right place, and create a brilliant product. And me and Andrei have done it twice now.

So, I’m sure that at some point after taking some time off, we might come up with a new idea.

What do you think the sale means for your customers? Have they expressed any concerns going forward following this news?

Timashev: No, they look very positively [on the sale], especially the U.S. customers. As part of this transaction, we are going to become 100% U.S.-shareholder owned. And with the executive management that is primarily U.S.-based, that news is very positive, especially for our U.S. customers. We have lots of large enterprise customers in the U.S., as well as federal customers, and they are taking this very positively.

What will it take to make your product the best for the hybrid cloud era?

Timashev: We have to follow our playbook. We have done it twice. Back in the ’90s, we won the hearts and minds of Windows administrators [with Aelita]. And then 10 years later in 2008, 2009, we won the hearts and minds of VMware administrators. Now 10 years later, we just have to win the hearts and minds of AWS, Azure, Office 365 and Google users.

What does it take? First, the product has to be brilliant, simple, and we have to listen to our core customers. Our core customer used to be [running] VMware. Now it’s going to be a different buyer — AWS, Azure, Office 365, Google buyer. They have their own budget. Sometimes they belong to IT. Sometimes they belong to DevOps.

We have to offer them the simple, flexible and reliable product. That’s what Veeam is known for: simple, flexible and reliable.

Can you give more detail on what your consultant work for Veeam might entail?

Timashev: Just sitting down with [Insight Partners managing director] Mike Triplett, with Bill Largent on a regular basis, and advising them how to attack this new market, how to play the Veeam playbook to win the new markets of AWS, Azure, Office 365 and Google. Those are four big markets.

Will there be any big changes in terms of Veeam offices? What will happen to the headquarters in Switzerland and the people who work there?

Timashev: No, no big changes. We will be looking at U.S. headquarters. We already have two very large offices in Columbus, Ohio, and in Atlanta, Georgia. We have probably around 400 people in each office. So probably one of those will become the U.S. headquarters.

Our office in Switzerland will continue to operate the way it is now. We are unique in the sense that we have always had our management team very distributed. We don’t really have a single office where everybody needs each other.

What do you see generally, for the future of the backup and recovery market and data protection?

Timashev: The market, if you look laterally, it’s backup and recovery, [but it’s also] data management. We believe that there are other components to data management in addition to backup and recovery — [for example] replication, cloud mobility, governance and compliance, analytics.

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Vendors detail cloud-based backup past, present, future

It’s safe to say cloud-based backup has gone mainstream.

In the last five years, cloud backup grew from something that organizations often greeted with skepticism to a technology that’s at least a part of many businesses’ data protection plans.

Some of that evolution is a result of users getting more comfortable with the idea of backing up data in the cloud and the security there. Some of it is a result of vendors adding functionality such as security, backup of cloud-born software as a service (SaaS) data and other enhancements. Challenges remain, though.

In part one of this feature, several experts in cloud-based backup detailed how the market has developed and what businesses can expect in the years to come. In part two, executives from backup vendors, including cloud backup pioneers, discuss their impressions of the past, present and future of the technology.

How has cloud-based backup evolved in the last five years?

Eran Farajun, executive vice president, Asigra: [Cloud-based backup has] become a lot more mainstream as a service.

Headshot of Asigra's Eran FarajunEran Farajun

Because it’s become so popular, it’s become a target. So, it’s moved from becoming a defensive mechanism to it becoming an attack vector. It’s a way that people get attacked, which has then caused even more evolution in the last, I would say two or three years, where cloud backup now has to include security and safety elements. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to recover confidently with it.

Hal Lonas, CTO, Carbonite: We have seen a rise in the popularity of cloud, especially over the past five years as it becomes a more scalable and economical solution for businesses — particularly SMBs that are expanding rapidly. It has also been highly embraced by the service provider and solution market.

Public cloud has also come a long way, especially among highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance. We’re seeing these organizations turn to the cloud more frequently than before, as it provides an easier and more cost-effective way to meet their recovery time objective and recovery point objective requirements.

Danny Allan, CTO, Veeam: The first perspective of customers was, ‘I’ll just take my backups and [move them] to the cloud,’ and there wasn’t really thought given to what that meant.

We’ve become a lot more efficient about the data movement, both in and out, and secondly, there are now options that didn’t exist in the past. If you need to recover data in the cloud, you can, or you can recover back on premises. And if you are recovering it back on premises, you can do that efficiently.

Headshot of Arcserve's Oussama El-HilaliOussama El-Hilali

Oussama El-Hilali, CTO, Arcserve: [There has been] tremendous evolution both in quantity and quality of the cloud backup. We’ve seen a number of vendors emerge to provide backup to the cloud. We’ve seen the size of the backups grow. We’ve seen the number of people who are interested in going to cloud backup grow as well.

I think one of the fundamental things in data protection has been creating the distance between the primary and secondary data, in case of disaster.

Where are we in the story of cloud-based backup? Is it at the height of its popularity?

Farajun: I don’t think it’s at the height. It’s still growing fairly quickly as an overall service. So, it’s not flat; it’s still growing in double-digit figures year over year.

And I think what lends to its popularity is future evolution. It’ll get more secure. It has to be more secure.

There will be new types of workloads that get included as part of your backup service. For example, backing up machines today is fairly common. Backing up containers is not as common today, but it will be in three to five years.

The cloud market is mature and is fast becoming the infrastructure of choice for many companies, whether at the SMB or enterprise level.
Hal LonasCTO, Carbonite

I think cloud backup for SaaS applications [will grow]. A lot of cloud backup services and vendors support Office 365, Salesforce and G Suite, but as more and more end customers adopt more software as a service, the data itself also has to be protected. So, you’ll see more cloud backup functionality and capabilities protect a broader set of SaaS applications beyond just the big ones.

Lonas: The cloud market is mature and is fast becoming the infrastructure of choice for many companies, whether at the SMB or enterprise level. This can be proven with the popularity of Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google along with other cloud providers.

Right now, many still equate cloud with security and while cloud solves some problems, it is not a complete cure. Rather, we will see more cloud-oriented security solutions protecting cloud assets and their specific issues in the upcoming years.

One of the biggest pain points with cloud adoption today is migrating data to these infrastructures. The good news is that there are a number of tools available now to alleviate the traditional issues related to data loss, hours of downtime and diverted key resources.

Allan: We’re not at the height of its popularity. We’re in early stages of customers sending their data into the cloud. It’s been growing exponentially. I know cloud has been around for 10 years, but it’s only really in the last year that customers are actually sending backup data into the cloud. I would attribute that to intelligent cloud backup — using intelligence to know how to do it and how to leverage it efficiently. 

El-Hilali: It’s a good step, but we’re not at the peak, or anywhere close to the peak.

The reason being is that if you look at the cloud providers, whether it’s public cloud like AWS or companies like us, the features are still evolving. And the refinement is still ongoing.

What do you expect in the cloud backup market in the next five years?

Farajun: I think there will be more consolidation. I think that more of the old-school vendors, the big broad vendors, will continue to add more cloud backup service capability as part of their offerings portfolio. They’ll either acquire companies that do it or they will stand up services that do it themselves. There will be more acquisitions by bigger MSPs that buy smaller MSPs because they deliver cloud backup services and they have the expertise.

I think you’ll see an increase of channel partners bringing [cloud-based backup] back in-house and actually being the service provider instead of just being a broker. And that will happen because it adds more value to their business.

And I think you’ll see unfortunately ransomware attacking more and more backup software, whether it’s delivered as a service or on premises, just because it’s so damaging.

Lonas: Looking ahead, we will see cloud backup and data protection continue to gain popularity, especially as businesses implement cyber-resiliency plans.

More organizations now trust the cloud to be available, secure and meet their business needs. We will continue to see Moore’s Law drive down network and storage costs so that businesses can continue to reduce their on-premises footprint. Some of this change is technical, and some is cultural, as most of us trust the cloud in our personal lives more than businesses do; and we expect to see this trend continue to shift for businesses in the future.

Allan: I think there’s going to be a whole emergence of machine learning-based companies that exist only in the cloud, and all they need is access to your data. In the past, what was the problem with machine learning and artificial intelligence on premises? You had to install it on premises to get access to that data or you needed to pick up petabytes of data and get it to that company. If it’s already there, you can imagine a marketplace emerging that will give you value-added services on top of this data.

El-Hilali: I think the potential for DRaaS will continue to grow and I say that because the availability of the data, the spontaneity of recovery, is becoming more of a need than a good-to-have.

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For Sale – Western Digital 4TB 2.5″ External Passport Hard Drive

Western Digital 4TB 2.5″ External Passport Hard Drive
Black in colour, used for only backup movies.

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