NetApp and Engenio – Part 2 – A Hypothesis

March 14, 2011 – 10:03 am by Jay Livens

In my previous post, I discussed why I thought that NetApp’s acquisition of Engenio was a difficult one and why I question the value of the combined entity.  Simply put, there seems to be redundancy in the product line and it makes you wonder how a merged company creates substantial new value.  However, there is another angle that could help explain the move and can be simply explained in three letters – IBM.

NetApp has an existing relationship with IBM where IBM OEMs NetApp filers for their “N-Series” product line.  These products are virtually the same as what you can buy from NetApp directly.  However, the big difference is that they can be sold, quoted and supported by IBM.  IBM does have their own higher end NAS products called SONAS, but the N-series is still an important part of the IBM portfolio.  Clearly this relationship is an important one for both companies.

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NetApp and Engenio – A curious acquisition

March 9, 2011 – 11:40 pm by Jay Livens

It was with some surprise that I saw the announcement that NetApp was acquiring Engenio this afternoon.  There was a long ensuing discussion on Twitter on this topic and I have serious doubts about the added value of the combined entity.  Here is why.

LSI’s primary go-to-market model has always been through OEMs and so they needed to have solutions that were feature rich enough to create a compelling value.  Obviously, their disk arrays have the basic table stakes such as replication and snapshots, but Engenio was trying to do more.  They wanted to create a modular array that could be extended with advanced software functionality to provide a unified storage platform.  They acquired StoreAge with a goal of bringing storage virtualization into their controller and later OnStor to embed NAS functionality.  Thus the end goal was clear – create an advanced RAID controller that could compete with the industry leaders and leverage their OEMs to go to market.  Interestingly, this model is more similar to NetApp’s strategy then you might think. Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspectives on Quest Acquiring BakBone

November 9, 2010 – 8:59 pm by Jay Livens

About four months ago, I published a blog post discussing the future of dedicated VMware backup solutions.  The post ignited a bigger discussion and included additional blog entries from W. Curtis Preston, me, Jon Toigo, Virtual Tacit, Veeam and Quest software.  I strongly encourage readers to review the differing perspectives in each post.

I mention all of the above to provide context to Quest’s acquisition of BakBone.  For those who are unfamiliar, BakBone is a backup software provider that plays in the low end of the market.  They position their product, NetVault, as a full service backup application that includes traditional backup, CDP and deduplication.  They have had limited success in the US and Japan appears to be their strongest market.  Their technology was spun-off from AT&T labs.  (As an aside, CommVault was also a spin-off from AT&T Labs.  Those lab guys must have been doing some amazing backup stuff!)

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A New Chapter

November 5, 2010 – 10:27 am by Jay Livens

SEPATON has been a great place to work over the last six plus years.  It has been amazing watching the company grow from a small group of about 30 employees in a tiny office space to today’s environment with over 150 employees and large office and lab space.  (Ironically, our current space that once felt so expansive is beginning to feel tight!)  At the same time, the company has grown from only a few small installations to thousands worldwide and hundreds of petabytes protected.  It is truly an amazing story and I have been fortunate to play a small part in it.

SEPATON’s future continues to look bright with lots of cool new features under development.  I would love to tell you about them, but, well, I can’t and you will have to wait and see! 

The big news is that I will be starting next week at HP here in Massachusetts and helping them market their D2D, VLS and physical tape products.  It is an exciting job with great future potential and the partnership between HP and SEPATON on the VLS means that I will continue to collaborate with the SEPATON team. Read the rest of this entry »

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The criticality of RTO and RPO

October 7, 2010 – 2:22 pm by Jay Livens

Frequent readers of this blog know that I am obsessed with data protection in general and data restoration specifically.  Obviously these two elements are critical for today’s data-intensive businesses and there are a multitude of vendors providing solutions to address these challenges.  It can be difficult to assess the benefits of a given approach and the concepts of Recovery Time Objective(RTO) and Restore Point Objective(RPO) are useful metrics to consider when analyzing the benefits of different solutions.  In this blog entry, I will discuss these two measures and why they are relevant to your organization.

Recovery Time Objective

This is a critical metric for illustrating the risk of potential downtime.  SNIA defines the term as follows:

The maximum acceptable time period required to bring one or more applications and associated data back from an outage to a correct operational state

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Data Protection Reporting: A Survey

September 30, 2010 – 3:46 pm by Jay Livens

I had dinner last night with a company that makes backup reporting software.  They have great technology, and the discussion made me think about the reporting market.

As my readers know, I believe that data protection is critical.  Companies must ensure that backup and recovery operations are completed in a timely and effective manner or they are at risk for an outage.  The idea of reporting on the efficacy of backup and recovery operations is a critical component of understanding whether data is protected.  Clearly all backup applications embed some level of reporting to provide this information, but is it enough? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Recovery Matters: Two Case Studies

September 22, 2010 – 3:26 pm by Jay Livens

I started this blog over two years ago to focus on the criticality of data protection and specifically data recovery.  While technology continues to evolve, the importance of these two elements remains consistent.  Every company must have a recovery strategy to protect against data loss or corruption.  Some people may be inclined to de-emphasize backup and recovery based on the faulty assumption that today’s virtualized hardware and software is more reliable or flexible, but this is a mistake.  In the last month, we have seen two examples of why data recovery is critical, and both affected entities had large IT staffs and huge budgets.  Without an effective protection strategy, massive data loss would have been unavoidable in both cases.  The companies recovered the vast majority of their data but experienced an outage that was far longer and more damaging than either anticipated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Social media, corporate strategy & Dilbert

September 17, 2010 – 8:50 am by Jay Livens

I have been intrigued by the recent Dilbert comic strips highlighting social media.  The piece below was particularly amusing and got me thinking about social media and corporate strategy.  The comic shows the conflict  between social media adoption and corporate culture and portrays a situation that happens all too frequently.  Many companies desire to engage in social media, but when they recognize the commitment and ensuing open discussions back away. Read the rest of this entry »

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CDP data protection and VMware backup: A response

September 9, 2010 – 8:36 am by Jay Livens

W. Curtis Preston recently posted a blog entry in response to my earlier post entitled Will dedicated VMware protection solutions go the way of CDP. Curtis clearly had strong opinions on the issue and his thorough write-up is appreciated.  I think that there is a disconnect here and wanted to clarify my thoughts.

I agree with Curtis’s detailed analysis of CDP technology, but my point was simply that three years ago CDP was hot.  Regardless of whether, there were 5 or 5,000 customers, the technology was the talk of the industry.  At the time, new CDP vendors were frequently appearing and existing companies were trying to position their solutions as “CDP-like”.  The hype machine was in full motion and it spanned the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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HP acquires 3Par: Now what?

September 3, 2010 – 2:17 pm by Jay Livens

Last week, I blogged about the 3Par bidding war and how I thought that HP would prevail.  Yesterday, Dell refused to match HP’s latest offer and so unless something crazy happens, HP is now the proud owner of 3Par for the rock bottom price of $2.4B!  The price is more than double Dell’s initial bid of $1.15B and is more than EMC paid for Data Domain.  In order to justify these high bids, Dell and HP must have thought that 3Par could create strong business value.  Now that HP has prevailed and is on the hook for $2.4B, they must execute the transaction and show how 3Par can drive incremental revenue and profits.  Let’s look at some ways HP could leverage 3Par to meet these goals.

Revenue growth is a key metric that will be used to assess the success (or lack thereof) of the 3Par acquisition.  In order to accelerate top line growth, HP cannot just replace EVA and XP sales with 3Par; they must find new avenues for the technology.  Some options include: Read the rest of this entry »

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