April 12, 2021

Model9 releases Cloud Data Manager 2.0

Model9, a growing cloud data management player for mainframe, just announced its 2.0 release of Model9 Cloud Data Manager (CDM).

The main key element is the ability to move data directly between the mainframe and the cloud plus:

The idea to avoid data format conversion or translation into tape-oriented ones, gaining time, complexity, storage space and resources. It means that these generated data could be used also for something else like analytics or other data processing solutions. For users who already adopted Model9 CDM 1.x, they will receive free of charge this capability called Cloud Data Sets.

At the same time, CDM can convert DB2 image copies into various formats such JSON, CSV, binary...

Uses can targets AWS and Azure infrequent-access storage class to reduce even more the cost. Some performance improvements and features like search were added to this major release.

It would interesting to bridge Model9 with Fujifilm Storage-Defined Tape (or Object Archive), StrongBox Data or Versity to continue to use tape via S3 API. It's a real debate as cloud and tape vendors clashed on TCO models.


April 7, 2021

Coldago Research has anticipated the new Cohesity valuation

Coldago Research, the analyst firm specialized in data management and data storage, has a practice for several years to publish its bi-annual Storage Unicorn report.

For a few editions Cohesity is a member of this club of course and last December report has established a valuation exactly aligned with the last announcement about its $3.7B valuation from the company.

Valuation is a special exercice and Coldago has developed a set of tools and methods to estimate valuation of private companies, this report is a reference for a few years chosen by many private equity and VC firms and also banks. Next report will be published in June 2021.


April 5, 2021

HYCU raised $87.5 million

HYCU, the growing SaaS backup vendor, delivers a major milestone with a round A of $87.5 million. It demonstrates a real trust in the company and in the footprint the firm has strongly built. Details of the deal are not public of course and we don't know the dilution and the valuation of the company for this round.

Launched in 2018 as Comtrade Software, extension of Comtrade and in the past Hermes SoftLab, HYCU confirms its strong expertise in data protection leveraging years of product developments and partnerships with other ISVs. HYCU has made a clear choice towards Nutanix at the beginning then VMware and various clouds. The company is seen now as a pure or true backup-as-a-service and clearly they lead the modern data protection (MDP) pack with a few other players coming from this next/new data protection generation. Its market presence is illustrated by 2,000+ customers.

Competitors watch closely their cloud strategy and product features as it weakens other players market footprints. Agile in its development, it is really a integrated service simple to activate and use, thanks to a clever scalable architecture coupled with an intuitive GUI. Protégé extends classic backup approach with DR and migration capabilities solving some demanding RPOs and RTOs. The ambition of Simon Taylor's team is intact and even more feasible with this round "to become the best backup-as-a-service offering on the market".

The MDP current state is the result of several waves associated with key vendors:
  1. legacy essentially with bare-metal and horizontal coverage, cross OS and large databases support represented by Veritas NetBackup, Dell Networker, IBM Spectrum Protect, Commvault or Atempo,
  2. VM with same players trying to fill the gap with new dedicated ones like Veeam,
  3. Cloud confirmation with Cohesity, Rubrik in addition to previous vendors,
  4. Container and Kubernetes with new comers like Kasten, Trilio or Velero,
  5. SaaS step with HYCU, Clumio.
At each level, a new need is introduced not already coverage natively by the established vendor. Remember that the legacy backup gorillas were really shaken by the Veeam simplicity and capabilities. The cloud was supported by extensions by many vendors but Cohesity and Rubrik made things dramatically simple, what previous vendors had difficulties to deliver. It presents the advantage to segregate production and protection locations coupled with the sharing and global access capabilities of the cloud. Its ubiquitous nature is a given. And once again it was the same story with container as established were disrupted by new comers. All this going super fast, Veeam made the decision to acquire Kasten to fill that gap and Veritas to partner with Trilio.

The SaaS category is essentially divided by 2 flavors, pure SaaS backup listed above but also by a second category of SaaS backup solutions dedicated to enterprise SaaS applications such Salesforce but also of course Office365. This segment is represented by OwnBackup, CloudAlly by Zix, CloudHQ, Spanning by Kaseya, Druva, Asigra. And the list is growing fast.

It invites to make a remark as Salesforce has chosen a few days ago to restart its own backup service stopped in July 2020. Is it following OVHcloud disaster? Is it also following the frequent remark about SaaS and IaaS data protection. IaaS has to be protected by the developer of the service that need to think, design, deploy... such service but for SaaS, users subscribe to a close, packaged high level service that must offer implicit or embedded data protection. Not providing this is a serious miss for a SaaS application and can be consider as a real drawback and create serious confusion in users mind. Don't forget CRM users are users, real end-users we mean... For Salesforce the story is a bit different as the position of the company can even invite them to do almost what they want as it won't really change users adoption. They can ignore the market, at least they can try. But we listen to a growing background noise about this SaaS/IaaS data protection.

In parallel to the MDP, note some movements from new players and established ones to add a secondary storage products in their portfolio. In the past, backup software vendors didn't sell they own device for the majority of them. NetBackup added an appliance line and we saw that wave confirmed with Cohesity, Rubrik and more recently Commvault with the Hedvig acquisition or Arcserve with StorageCraft. We continue to see dedicated scalable secondary storage such Quantum, Spectra Logic and we can also mentioned here Versity for mass capacity projects.

This new demand for advanced secondary storage is also illustrated with S3 storage with comprehensive data services such data reduction, encryption, redundancy techniques with erasure coding, of course replication, and air gap, vaulting capabilities to fit with ransomware protection requirements.

CDP launched almost 20 years ago is hot again as some applications RPO require such techniques. The ransomware threat invited again the tape as it is a passive device easily moved to a secure disconnected area. Also recent tape developments with capacity projection suggest a better tape adoption especially with the FujiFilm/IBM large tape demo a few months ago.

April 2, 2021

Model9 partners with AWS

Model9, an emerging leader in cloud data management for mainframe, is now listed on the AWS marketplace as an Advanced Technology Partner. At the same time the company received the Well-Architected Partner Program recognition illustrating the growing success of its cloud data manager. We detailed the Model9 solution a few days ago, take a look.


March 31, 2021

Atempo and Wasabi joined effort with a cloud backup solution

Atempo and Wasabi Technologies, two established and recognized data management and storage players, announced a partnership to offer a cloud backup service. The idea is to provide a backup service based on Atempo Tina coupled with Wasabi S3 storage.

This new solution officially launched the Wasabi support but Atempo already supports S3 for quite long time. On the other side, Wasabi already supports any application that can feed its S3 endpoint aligned with the AWS API.

Checking the Atempo partners page, it seems that some of them require an update. About this joint solution, details are not provided on how you subscribe to the service and when it will be available. Let's see, we hope to receive more info during the next IT Press Tour in June.


March 23, 2021

Model9 extends the mainframe to the cloud

Model9, a fast growing vendor for cloud management, develops an interesting solution for mainframe. The company was founded in 2016 in Israel by Gil Peleg and received so far $13.8 million from various VCs and Intel Capital in particular.

During the session with Model9 we had for the 39th IT Press Tour, we learned that mainframe continues to represent 80% of worldwide business exchanges with more than 30 billions transactions per day. Model9 understands the large opportunity and wishes to lead the mainframe cloud initiative and participate to convert users to the cloud.

Model9 Cloud Data Manager for Mainframe, released more than 3 years ago, runs on non-billable CPUs, called zIIp - IBM z Systems Integrated Information Processor - and acts as a gateway and connects the system to on-premises or cloud-based object storage like MinIO or AWS S3. This is again a good illustration that MinIO is everywhere.

Advantages and benefits are immediate with the reduction of costs, the modernization and cloud transformation of the mainframe environment, the data protection improvement and the associated HA/DR in a very easy transparent deployment and operations.

The company detailed two case studies with America First and France Gallop, the first leverages Cohesity and the second MinIO for 7 days of cache and then migrate to AWS Glacier for cold data. Both examples show a full hardware independence with no media, tape drives and library to manage and the absence of footprint in the data center.

To accelerate cloud storage adoption, the firm has started a partner program with public cloud providers and also Cloudian, Hitachi Vantara, Dell, NetApp, Cohesity and MinIO, many key players in the segment listed by Coldago Research in their last report. We even imagine IBM COS will be added, why it is not already the case like IBM cloud, DDN, Quantum and Spectra Logic should appear as well, at least we hope. We imagine it would interesting for users and Model9 to collaborate with Fujifilm for their Software-Defined Tape and StrongBox as they can do S3 to S3 to Tape.

We also found that IBM addresses similar needs with its own Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS, acting like a modern VTL but still with tape, in addition to the Model9 product it references on its website.

Model9 is definitely a solution to test and adopt for mainframe users if they wish to modernize their monolithic environment.


March 4, 2021

StorCentric updates Nexsan Assureon with a cloud edition

StorCentric, the storage conglomerate, updates Nexsan Assureon delivered this time as a cloud edition. I understand that the product is now deployable in the cloud, in a hybrid model but also on-premises as it is for 20 years coming from Evertrust. So it turns out that the only new feature is the cloud edition flavor as Assureon was already a very comprehensive and respected product.


March 3, 2021

The Virtual Israeli IT Press Tour will start March 22nd

The coming 39th IT Press Tour will be once again organized as a virtual edition for obvious Covid-19 reasons. Several Israeli companies also based in US chose to postpone their participation or to participate to an US edition.

The edition organized end of March and beginning of April will be the opportunity to meet:
I invite you to follow us on Twitter with #ITPT and @ITPressTour, my twitter handle @CDP_FST and journalists' respective handle. A compact tour but with good new coming.

February 15, 2021

Fujifilm iterates on Object Archive

Fujifilm, a key player in secondary storage, introduced Object Archive (OA) version 2 during the recent IT Press Tour. Object Archive is the name used in north America and elsewhere the product is promoted as Software-Defined Tape. This difference could explained some difficulties for prospects and partners to approach the solution as they need to learn this first.

Let's refresh our readers on Object Archive. In just a few words we can say that the product is an on-premises object storage solution exposing S3 connected to tape libraries to address long term archiving needs leveraging tape as a passive media.

OA operates as a gateway, cache, S3 and tape server and can be aligned with what VTL did in the past in the industry. VTL is dead or almost dead as it was a resistance to the wave of disk-based deduplication model for backup. VTL illustrated perfectly the shift needed for tape to archive and above all deep archive.

OA supports tape libraries equipped of LTO-7, LTO-8, IBM TS1160 and soon LTO-9.

As 1 copy of data is not enough even if tape is a reliable media, 2 copies are a minimum and are included in the Fujifilm OA subscription. We expect the tape server engine will offer RAIT or ECoT (Erasure Coding on Tape) to reduce tape consumption, increase efficiency and tolerates more errors. Of course it requires at least 3 tape drives.

The product also introduced a new tape format named Open Tape Format aka OTFormat to better support tape and align objects to the media.

By default, the air gap is obvious with such model as tape could be physically separated and never touched by a propagating ransomware.

This version 2 illustrates that the market adoption of OA requires strong partnerships especially for S3 to S3 to tape and Fujifilm picks leaders like Cloudian, Caringo or NetApp StorageGRID. These players represent strong vendors shown in the last Coldago Map 2020 for Object Storage. At the same time, the team recognize they also need to be compatible and integrated with horizontal data management and they pick Starfish and Tiger Technology. I'm surprised to not see Hammerspace, Komprise, Point Software and Systems, StrongBox Data, Data Dynamics, QStar or Versity. Especially StrongBox Data and QStar as they're listed on the Fujifilm Data Management Solutions for North America as you can see on this image below.

This is strange but I understand it's a work in progress at least we hope. These partnerships are key to penetrate the market as many of them are already deployed and OA must be validated with all of these.

OA targets vertical use cases essentially around deep archive and/or active archive. The company keeps the same pricing model introduced with version 1.

Fujifilm confirms that object storage occupies a major role today, especially its S3 access method, and tape as long term storage residence. We'll see how this solution will be adopted by the market.


February 12, 2021