Is this the End of the Backup Software Market?

A very interesting press release today, “EMC and VMware Partner to Deliver New VMware vSphere Data Protection, Powered by EMC Avamar Technology”, full release on their websites or (here). So what will happen when the leading virtualisation system tightly integrates the leading source based deduplication software?

My thinking goes like this:

–       most environments are virtualised moving rapidly to 100%

–       most people use VMware, analysts put their market share around 80%

–       most people are re-engineered their backup environments, IDC shows ‘backup-appliances as the fastest growing and now the majority of the market spend.

–       most people are designing complexity out of their environment.

So why would you not choose this as your backup method?

I love my analogies and to show my age I’ll use the humble car-radio! When I was young it was only the very high end vehicles that had a factory installed radio. Your stereo choice was more important than road worthiness and many weekend was spend cutting holes in the back to fit oversized speakers! Yet today you up-size the system as an option, however no vehicle is sold with the sounds of silence, and the ‘car radio’ market, is somewhat a niche for the enthusiast or the duff duff lover!

Will this trend of re-engineering backup continue, I have to believe it as there are so many reasons why the ‘old’ tape based regime is dying fast:

–       Virtualisation breaks the old method!  The usual story of the single NIC card replacing 20, as you virtualise, now you try move the same data through that one bottleneck and meet your backup window!

–       Compliance reasons – using deduplication to bring all the data into one place and under centralised control!

–       Service level reasons, you finally realise that the purpose of backup is restore and when you need data you should have it right there, right now!

–       And maybe to quote my Data Domain colleagues, Tape Sucks –its just too complicated and too unreliable and too costly and too people intensive!!

So I’m pretty convinced that this is a disruptive move in the market, well done someone. Now all I am wondering is if some of the EMC Avamar team have gone to the North West and having a similar conversation there… wouldn’t that be cool!!

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3 responses to “Is this the End of the Backup Software Market?

  1. Using your analogy, why wasn’t EMC’s Clustering solution the world-wide winner? After all it used to be part of VMware.

    Why isn’t Microsoft’s backup product all conquering.. after all it is built into the OS, and they have more than 80% of the market.

    Please explain to me how de-dupe helps restoration speed, especially Avamar… as it doesn’t really help Restore of large amounts of data. De-dupe is good for backup, but Avamar sends back compressed data, that it has to reassemble before it sends it. If it is using BOOST, then again, good for backup… doesn’t do much for Restore… unless you are talking single files, then not much different.

    What’s the price of this technology? What’s the price to make it usable in a NetWorker environment? Is it still cheaper to stay with your old backup software than to move?

    As for tape, well, it still has its place in the world. Maybe less and less so as a backup target, but still for long term storage (Power and air conditioning to keep disks spinning) and whilst countries have exhorbitant data costs (Australia I’m looking at you!) backup data replication between sites is still expensive and not necessarily well integrated.

    Mind you, it’s about time that EMC got VMware to take notice of the rest of EMC (Yeah I know independant company that happens to be 80% owned by EMC), as VMware have always had a cosey relationship with Symantec.

  2. I think it is worth pointing out that this announcement is significant because now any VMware customer of any size can leverage the power of deduplicated backup and recovery software – and the fact that VDP is based on Avamar means that you know it incorporates the most advanced technology, quality and reliability. There are many reasons that Avamar is unique and the market leader – one feature is that it integrates with VMware’s vStorage APIs and in particular leverages vSphere’s Change Block Tracking feature for both backup ‘and’ restore. This means that Avamar only needs to backup the changed blocks, which it then deduplicates, and stores as a ‘virtual’ full backup. Same goes for recovery, only changed blocks need to be restored, so effectively Avamar can recover data 30x faster then traditional backup. So while there are many benefits to virtualising infrastructure and applications, the ability to dramatically reduce backup and recovery times is crtitical.

    Another significant part of the announcement is that in addition to VMware vSphere Data Protection, VMware will continue to foster innovation in the backup for virtual environments supporting a broad partner community. VMware plans to continue investment in the vSphere Storage APIs for Data Protection to enable seamless integration of third-party backup and recovery with the VMware vSphere platform.

    So at the end of the day, customers will always have choice when it comes to VMware, just like they do when it comes to Microsoft to use the other example in the thread, so it is up to the vendors to continue to innovate in order to tightly integrate and leverage the capabilities built into the VMware platform (and other virtual environments and lets not forget the physical world as well) as well as providing the most capable set of features that solve the issues facing customers today as well as tomorrow.

    As far as tape being dead, very sick or just pining (ok now I am showing my age by quoting Monty Python), yes tape is still being used, but more so for longer term retention, in effect archiving, for a number of organisations.

  3. So, it’s where EMC has got a majority owned company to use one of its own products to deliver a new tool. Do I think it is important? Yes, but do I think it is a game changer or the end of the backup market? No.

    After all, all that has happened here is that Avamar is now bundled in with VMware products. They use exactly teh same API’s as all of the other vendors and, pretty much, deliver the same functionality as all the other vendors. As we all know, the enterprise level of the backup market is saturated, with Symantec NetBackup dominating, and TSM and NetWorker roughly about equal for 2nd place. When you get into teh SME market, again, Symantec dominate with their BackupExec product, which has a relatively smooth migration path to NetBackup. In Both cases you can use their PureDisk technology and Symantec were there with the functionality you speak of first.

    So, where would the game changer be? The only place I can see that would be on TCO. Now, admittedly, EMC has now got a leg up because Avamar is now built in, you have had some of the admin taken away. However, as we’ve seen with NetWorker, what will be the lag between the version of Avamar that goes with ESX and the released version of Avamar?

    Then there is the license cost of Avamar in this environment. How is it charged?

    Lastly, what is the cost of the destination device? Is it an Avamar DataStore or a DD? What is the cost of that destination device? Also, what about granular recovery of apps inside VM’s – such as SQL?

    Is it really a game changer? Yet to be convinced.
    Is it something the competition should take note of? I think so.
    is it something that will make clients come rushing to EMC? Well it depends on that TCO – is it worth the pain of changing your backup solution for this when your encumbant probably has the same functionality
    Is it a great marketing coup for EMC – you bet!

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