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Former Commvault Vets Lead Startup Parablu's Goal to Disrupt SaaS Backup

Parablu has named Randy De Meno, longtime CTO for Commvault’s Microsoft platform offerings, as its chief strategy officer.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 7, 2022

7 Min Read
Cloud Backup
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Two former Commvault veterans are leading early-stage company Parablu, aiming to disrupt the crowded field of SaaS backup providers. Parablu on Thursday announced that 27-year Commvault alum Randy De Meno has joined the company as its chief strategy officer.

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Parablu’s Randy De Meno

De Meno, longtime VP and CTO for Commvault’s Microsoft platform offerings, joins former colleague Anand Prahlad, Parablu’s founder and CEO. Prahlad spent 16 years at Commvault, where he was senior VP of engineering and product development. After leaving Commvault in 2010, Prahlad shifted into the world of cybersecurity, serving as managing director of McAfee’s India Center.

Using his combined data protection and security background, Prahlad founded Parablu in 2015, focusing on providing secure backup and recovery. Parablu now holds patents that Prahlad believes will help take on established players. Among those Parablu is challenging include Commvault, Cohesity, Druva, Rubrik, Veeam and Veritas.

Parablu is zeroing in on Druva, which provides a SaaS backup offering that includes multilayer threat and ransomware protection. Because Druva is tied to Amazon’s AWS infrastructure, Prahlad believes aligning Parablu with Microsoft presents an opportunity. Both Prahlad and De Meno have strong relationships with Microsoft and technical background on the Microsoft stack.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in March.

De Meno was responsible for creating and fostering Commvault’s once unlikely partnership with Microsoft in the mid-1990s. The Microsoft partnership played a key role in Commvault’s success, leading to its IPO in 2006, De Meno recalled. Now he hopes to create a similar success story for Parablu.

“I plan to have similar type of strategic partnering with Microsoft that we had with Commvault,” he said. De Meno left Commvault last fall.

No one is better to expand Parablu’s Microsoft partnership than De Meno, according to Prahlad. De Meno and Prahlad worked closely together at Commvault.

“We were joined at the hip,” Prahlad said. “We built products together and we built relationships together. So when I heard Randy was available, I told him to come on over.”

Ransomware Detection and Mitigation

Prahlad and De Meno told Channel Futures how they believe the technology in its BluVault and BluSync offerings are unique. While most commercial and enterprise backup and recovery solutions now feature ransomware protection, Prahlad claims Parablu has an advanced approach.

For instance, Prahlad said it can restore to specific points in time. Parablu also has a learning engine trained with numerous ransomware samples. Using what Prahlad described as “smart triangulation” during an incremental backup, if it detects an increase in infected files, based on unusual activity, it will flag the potential ransomware.

Parablu also provides incident management, Prahlad added.

“We have ways to quarantine, or they can give us hashes of files and quarantine them from getting restored,” he said. “We have ways to quarantine devices so they don’t perform restores from them, even accidentally. It also can provide curated recoveries, that ensure only clean files are restored.”

Using OneDrive to Reduce Storage Costs

Parablu said it has a unique patented approach using Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Google Drive enabling a self-scaling model.

“We don’t make you storage from EMC or NetApp or anyone else, or even in the cloud, because we got this innovative way by which we can use the OneDrive and Google Drive allocations that your users already have,” Prahlad said.

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Parablu’s Anand Prahlad

Using what he calls a “smart connector,” Parablu takes the backup data streams from various endpoints and other sources.

“Rather than direct it to a storage target like most backup solutions do, we have a smart way of directing it right into a secure vault that we create inside every OneDrive account,” Prahlad said.

The one terabyte of storage included with each OneDrive account with M365 subscriptions should suffice for most organizations, he added. As organizations hire more people, most won’t need to buy extra storage because each employee gets OneDrive licenses, Prahlad emphasized.

“The storage is elastic; it grows and shrinks with user population,” he said. “And their data is all already …

… automatically protected in storage that they’ve been allocated. In a lot of cases over a three-to-five-year period, if you look at our total cost of ownership around backup, almost 70% of the cost is storage cost, which we and essentially eliminate that completely.”

De Meno said this is an important differentiator because it can use OneDrive and the M365 stack to create “a secure smart storage mechanism, which would be probably the lowest cost of entry for storage.” Because there are no egress costs when using OneDrive or Google Drive, that will also reduce cloud storage expenses, he added. Parablu also uses Azure Files as a storage target.

Expanding Channel Presence

For Microsoft partners, De Meno noted that Parablu will offer another option for them to meet their cloud consumption quotas. Besides plans to deepen its Microsoft partnership, De Meno emphasized that Parablu also supports AWS, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud.

Parablu will soon announce the hiring of a former channel exec from Druva, tasked with expanding the company’s channel ecosystem.

Biplab Chaudhuri, CEO of PTS Consulting Services, a Parablu partner, likes what he sees.

“When we moved to cloud services, we started getting a lot of small-to-midsize companies calling us just for Office 365 licenses, which come with one terabyte of OneDrive,” Chaudhuri said. “And typically, they’re saving their files and their Adobe Photoshop into OneDrive but not realizing the risk that it is not encrypted. That’s when we looked at the Parablu solution. It’s a very simple use case.”

Data Mining Potential

Besides its approach to backup and ransomware protection, De Meno said he sees other potential in BluVault and BluSync technology. For partners, that’s important, because backup and recovery is becoming a commodity, he said.

“It’s fairly simple to create a backup copy. But if you can index that data, and then let people do something with it in a secure, cyber protected way, that’s one of the next steps of evolution coming to our industry,” De Meno said. “Luckily, Anand and I took a leadership position in the industry many years ago, and now we’re going to take another stab at moving it along by giving customers more value in that data.”

While that includes endpoint data from Microsoft 365, De Meno said it will also encompass data from other sources that people constantly collect from various feeds.

“A lot of that data is just coming in, but isn’t being stored, and not necessarily being used as optimally as it could,” he said. “I know that is an area Microsoft would like to focus on with partners that can help deliver that — by using primarily Azure infrastructure to deliver those capabilities.”

Prahlad said he wants to leverage AI and machine learning to improve data classification.

“Using mechanisms like natural language processing and machine learning, we can start making better sense out of that data and start classifying how the data gets managed, based on policies, etc.,” Prahlad said.

Under the Radar

In the crowded space of data protection providers, Parablu, though around for some time, is still unknown to some. Parablu points to a long list of customers on its website including Finisar, Forward Air, Panasonic, Reva University in India, Royal Orchid Hotels, Sony Picture Networks, Starbucks and Tata AIG Insurance.

Parablu is starting to get some attention. In December, reviews and comparison site SourceForge awarded Parablu as Fall 2021 Top Performer. In February, Parablu launched a backup-as-a-service (BaaS) version of BluVault managed and hosted in Microsoft Azure. Parablu last month said it achieved ISO 27001:2013 certification, required for many public sector procurements.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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