In the cloud computing storage market, EVault -- a wholly owned subsidiary of Seagate -- is taking aim at Symantec Backup Exec and other client-server data protection platforms. The EVault effort, led by EVault President Terry Cunningham, is loaded with irony.
After all, it was Cunningham who helped to build the Veritas Backup Exec business before Symantec acquired Veritas in 2004. During the glory days of client-server, Veritas helped to position Backup Exec as popular platform for Windows NT Server data and application protection. The Backup Exec team made the Windows NT bet before Microsoft gained critical mass on the server, so the move was a gamble at the time.
EVault's Cloud Strategy
Now Cunningham is gambling again, this time betting that the backup and data protection markets will increasingly shift to a hybrid cloud business model. It sounds like a safe bet, considering storage is one of the first services that small, midsize and large enterprises shift to the cloud. Already, EVault is handling 15,000 data recoveries per month -- many of which involve VARs and cloud-connected service provider relationships.
Still, EVault faces multiple questions -- including this two-part riddle:
- How can EVault hope to compete against mainstream clouds like the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)?
- How can EVault also try to push aside entrenched rivals like Symantec, which has evolved Backup Exec to have on-premises and cloud components?
EVault On the Road
Cunningham is addressing those questions, and others, during briefings in New York today. Cunningham met with Talkin' Cloud earlier today, and is briefing partners and customers now about the EVault cloud-connected recovery services.
The strategy involves:
- On-premises EVault appliances, which essentially collect and de-duplicate customer data from servers, PCs and notebooks.
- From there, the EVault appliances can forward the customers' backup data to a partner data center or directly to EVault's data centers -- nine of which are scattered across the globe.
The hybrid approach ensures data can be restored quickly from the local appliance. In the event of a complete office meltdown, the customer can still restore from EVault's cloud.
Crowded Cloud Backup and Recovery Market
The strategy is somewhat similar to a range of BDR (backup and disaster recovery) vendors that are competing in the MSP market. Many of those vendors offer on-premise storage appliances that are tied to the cloud. But here's the twist: Those BDR upstarts are often backed by venture capital, private equity or boot-strap funding.
Cunningham believes he has the market advantage because EVault is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seagate. "When it's the right time we'll IPO it," said Cunningham. "Seagate is looking at this as a long-term investment. I don't have a VC saying flip it in a year. I have a parent who says Win Big. Win the Storage Service market. There's opportunity here to create organic and inorganic growth."
Translation: EVault could be looking to make acquisitions.
Cloud-Connected Service Providers
The EVault strategy, Cunningham adds, will continue to be a "cloud-connected strategy... not a pure cloud strategy. It won't be pure cloud in our lifetime. I can't imagine shop floor control systems going to the cloud anytime soon. So you'll continue to see on-premises backups to local appliances. Those local appliances can talk to an MSP or a VAR. We consider those partners cloud-connected service providers. And those CCSPs can back up to our cloud."
Next up, EVault is preparing a service upgrade that will allow the company to target 80 percent of the addressable backup and recovery market, Cunningham claims. But details about that effort are hush-hush for now.
Already, Cunningham claims, EVault has 40 percent of the cloud backup and recovery market, though he concedes the figure is based on some EVault figures coupled with market size figures from Gartner and IDC. (Talkin' Cloud has not been able to independently verify the 40 percent figure).
EVault has a compelling story. But it's impossible to overlook all the market competition. Both Symantec (Backup Exec) and CA Technologies (ARCserve) have updated their backup software licensing terms to better support service providers. Also, both Symantec and CA have introduced cloud-enabled versions of their backup and recovery platforms.
And in an interesting twist: John Eldh, formerly VP of sales for Symantec.cloud, is shifting into the Symantec Channel Chief position. Talkin’ Cloud believes the move could trigger improved synergies between Symantec’s cloud services, managed services and traditional channel partner initiatives.
Meanwhile, in the SMB market a lengthy list of upstarts and rivals are gaining momentum with MSPs. I suspect about a dozen software and cloud companies now promote BDR (backup and disaster recovery) services to those MSPs. And the MSPs, in turn, are using BDR as a first step into the cloud market.
The competition certainly is intense. But Cunningham insists the market is moving in EVault's direction.