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EMC Eyeing New Markets in Backup Software

EMC is poised to make some improvements in its data protection offerings and carve into new markets with the help of some smaller data storage vendors, internetnews.com has learned.

The information systems vendor has inked agreements to resell back-up software from newcomer WysDM and continuous data protection gear from startup Mendocino as part of its plan to wall off customer data from intrusion, corruption and outages.

Reselling Mendocino's software will land EMC in the competitive mix with IBM and even Microsoft, both of whom have recently launched continuous data protection efforts.

A spokesperson for WysDM said EMC will resell WysDM for Backups, which offers more insight into the state of data than products from rival vendors. EMC will sell it as EMC Backup Advisor as part of its Legato backup software line.

An EMC spokesperson said products occasionally become generally available prior to public announcement.

"EMC Backup Advisor is OEMed from WysDM and is now available to customers as part of EMC's wide range of information management and protection offerings," the EMC spokesperson said, noting that Backup Advisor will be formally announced soon.

WysDM for Backups combines reporting data with business rules, such as service level agreements, regulatory requirements and chargeback policies. The goal of the product is to give IT administrators the smarts to manage their stored data and reduce exposure with reports and predictive analysis.

The spokesperson used a house fire analogy to describe how WysDM works compared to products from rivals like Bocada and Crosswalk.

"When the IT guy comes in, if a back-up failed it's nice to know the house burnt down, but what caused the fire?" the spokesperson said. "WysDM can tell you what happened, where it happened, and where to go fix it."

Founded by a group of storage and financial services domain experts, WysDM is part of an emerging market of backup software makers that sprinkle business intelligence in the mix. The New York-based startup capped off August by changing its name from SysDM to bear the mantle of its flagship product.

EMC is also reselling Mendocino's continuous data protection (CDP) software, though the EMC spokesperson refused to comment on the agreement.

"While we are not prepared to fully divulge our CDP plans and strategy, as [EMC President] Dave DeWalt said at the EMC Analyst Day, a significant portion of EMC's CDP offering will be driven through EMC technology," said the spokesperson.

Eric Burgener, Mendocino vice president of marketing, said he could not comment specifically on the matter until EMC publicly confirms the deal, but pointed to earlier reports on the deal.

"You can evaluate the validity of the info just based on the number of sources through which it is available," Burgener said.

CDP is a rapidly emerging area of data protection in which vendors promise customers they will save data without losing a single file, even in the face of outages from natural disasters, malicious attacks on computers or simple file corruption.

Burgener said Mendocino feels CDP is a space that is shaping up to be owned by larger vendors, such as EMC, IBM and HP, because smaller startups won't be able to lure the bigger fish the way a larger vendor would.

"Regardless of how interesting the technology is, companies are not going to want to buy something for mission-critical environments from a startup," Burgener said.

The executive said he expects startups in the CDP space will go out of business, get acquired or sign an OEM deal, which is the path Mendocino has chosen.

Burgener said that although products are available from Mendocino rivals like Revivio and XOsoft, customers "are hesitant to buy something from a startup that might go out of business in six months and can't provide worldwide support.

"That's what drove us to the OEM strategy from day one. We don't even have a direct sales capability and don't intend to build one. Our strategy all along has been to sign up multi-billion-dollar, trusted OEM suppliers in the enterprise storage arena," he said.

So, would such a deal with EMC be a good example of Mendocino's OEM strategy?

Burgener said it would be "a good validation that we're able to execute against that strategy."