A New Chapter

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.


HP acquires 3Par: Now what?

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:


Why HP will prevail over Dell in the 3Par bidding war

The Twittersphere and storage industry are abuzz with the ongoing bidding for 3Par.  HP and Dell are aggressively pursuing the company and have a vested interest in 3Par technology. I believe that HP is more motivated to acquire 3Par and will prevail.

Both Dell and HP believe that a 3Par acquisition will generate additional business value, and they both must realize that the losing party will be placed in a difficult situation.  I believe that HP has more to gain by acquiring 3Par and more to lose by failing to do so.  Here is my assessment of the gains and losses by each bidder:

Backup Deduplication Restore Virtual Tape

DeltaStor Deduplication

I track numerous sites focused on data protection and storage and am always interested in what other industry participants are discussing.  The blogroll on this site includes links to some informative and interesting blogs.  However, as with anything else on the web, everyone brings their view of the world which inevitably influences their perspective.

This brings me to my next point; I recently ran across a blog post where an EMC guy bad mouths SEPATON’s DeltaStor technology which is used in HP’s VLS platform.  The obvious conclusion is “This is an EMC guy so what do you expect?” which is true.  However, I think it deserves a brief response and wanted to respond to his his major point.  To summarize, he is commenting on the fact that DeltaStor requires an understanding of each supported backup application and data type and that this makes testing difficult.  Here is an excerpt:

Given that there are at least 5 or 6 common backup applications, each with at least 2 or 3 currently supported versions, and probably 10 or 15 applications, each with at least 2 or 3 currently supported version, the number of combinations approaches a million pretty rapidly

This is a tremendous overstatement.  HP’s (and SEPATON’s) implementation of DeltaStor is targeted at the enterprise.  If you look at enterprise datacenters there is actually a very small number of backup applications in use.  You will typically see NetBackup, TSM and much less frequently Legato; this narrows the scope of testing substantially.

This is not the case in small environments where you see many more applications such as BackupExec, ARCserve and others which is why HP is selling a backup application agnostic product for these environments.  (SEPATON is focused on the enterprise and so our solution is not targeted here.)

He then talks about how there are many different versions of supported backup applications and many different application modules.  This is true; however it is misleading.  The power of backup applications is their ability to maintain tape compatibility across versions.  This feature means that tape and file formats change infrequently.  In the case of NetBackup, it has not changed substantially since 4.5.  The result is that qualification requirements for a new application are typically minimal.  (Clearly, if the tape format radically changes, the process is more involved.)  The situation is similar with backup application modules.

The final question in his entry is:

do you want to buy into an architecture that severely limits what you can and cannot deduplicate? Or do you want an architecture that can deduplicate anything?

I would suggest an alternative question: do you want a generic deduplication solution that supports all applications reduces your performance by 90% (200 MB/sec vs 2200 MB/sec) and provides mediocre deduplication ratios or do you want an enterprise focused solution that provides the fastest performance, most scalability, most granular deduplication ratios and is optimized for your backup application??

You decide…

Oh as an afterthought, stay tuned to this blog if you are interested in more detail on the first part of my question above.