April 13, 2020

Weebit will be ready soon

Weebit, an emerging persistent memory player, presented its strategy during a recent digital IT Press Tour due to Covid-19. The company is public traded on the Australian market (ASX:WBT) with a current market capitalization of $20M.

Weebit develops ReRAM memory technology and claims to be 1000x faster, 1000x more energy efficient with 100x higher endurance than Flash. Under development and soon in production with several pending patents, Weebit leverages standard materials and is based on SiOX (Silicon Oxide) to drastically reduce cost.

The company is led by senior executives with strong track record in the domain:
  • Coby Hanoch, CEO, was at Verisity, Cadence, Jasper, PacketLight
  • Amir Regev, CTO, spent time at Intel, SanDisk, Micron and Marvell,
  • Dr Yoav Nissan-Cohen, Executive Director with an impressive board of directors.
The team has signed a strategic partnership with CEA-LETI to co-produce memory chips.

The big claim is that ReRAM, Resistive RAM, will replace Flash as soon as mass production starts. First demonstration should be ready by end of 2020.

The business opportunity is big and among players in addition to Weebit we identify:
  • Samsung already started the production of its eMRAM (embedded Magnetoresistive RAM),
  • Everspin Technologogies promoting MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM) with example such Smart Modular nvNITRO Storage Accelerator,
  • Rambus acquired Unity Semiconductor in 2012 for $35M,
  • Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. partners with Panasonic,
  • Crossbar seems to shift its adventure with active presence in Asia,
The memory market is split in many segments as shown by the image below.

China represents a perfect land for Weebit and ReRAM. The Go-To-Market strategy relies on partnership and one of them is XTX Technology, a chinese Flash memory chips company, who plans to replace Flash. The second one is SiEn, also chinese company who expects to integrate ReRAM from Weebit into IoT devices and other products requiring non-volatile memory.

Next, AI with its huge volume and fast access time requirements would be also a perfect fit.

We'll monitor closely news from Weebit especially for the really first production of their ReRAM products.

April 1, 2020

HYCU now supports Azure

HYCU, the emerging leader in next-gen data protection, continues its transformation towards a global comprehensive data protection player this time with the addition of Azure support. Remember the company comes from a niche on-premises Nutanix backup vendor a few years ago and it is now shaking leaders' positions.

Following HYCU for GCP in 2018 and Protégé announcement made during the June 2019 IT Press Tour, HYCU continues to develop a new trajectory for the company. This time the expansion is with Azure and we find similar approach existing with GCP.

The team insists on three majors functions for enterprises: Data Protection, Data Migration and Disaster Recovery.

The product is very rich with now with strong classic capabilities from HYCU available on Azure and specific ones. Data are stored on Azure Blob and as Change Block Tracking is not available on Azure, the company has developed a technique that mounts a snapshot, navigates this mounted image and finds the block difference thanks to hashing of each 4kB block.

SaaS backup is hot and is here to stay and many players recognized the pattern. Some vendors come from classic zone like Actifio, Commvault, Druva, Veeam or Veritas, others appeared with the cloud boom like Cohesity or Rubrik and finally a few were founded as pure SaaS actors such Clumio in addition to references like Barracuda Networks.

The other paramount feature is the multi-cloud to stay cloud-agnostic for enterprises able to move and change providers at the speed of light. Of course, data has gravity but if data management tools copy file in various cloud at the same time, this independence is reached with a super fast switch over capability.

The other key point is the rapid adoption of SaaS applications by enterprises and the need to protect data. Some dedicated players have jumped into that segment like Kaseya/Spanning, Datto/Backupify, OwnBackup, CloudAlly, CloudHQ or SpinBackup and we expect some convergence of solution with "classic" generic SaaS backup vendors. Some already made the move such Acronis, Asigra, Cohesity, Commvault, Druva, Veeam or Veritas. This convergence is also driven by users as they wish to reduce the multiplication of such solutions so having one horizontal answer is key. Winners will be these players with horizontal solution and I have serious doubt over the long run for super vertical SaaS players.

For SaaS backup features, we consider fundamental these few items:
  • Native cloud service with marketplace presence and integrated billing,
  • Agentless for more transparency and agility,
  • Various Hypervisor support with vSphere being a must,
  • Backup images portability and mobility to ease multi-cloud,
  • Application aware with strong consistency,
  • Flexible RPO and RTO capabilities,
  • and Security with in-transit/at-rest encryption, IAM integration...
HYCU future will be interesting and this year especially. We anticipate some extension to AWS and the introduce of an analytics service, at least we hope, to contribute to the capacity planning, application SLAs and workloads management.

A few M&As should happen in the coming months as SaaS is so hot that some players must react quickly by adding new capabilities and applications support such Salesforce, Workday, NetSuite, ServiceNow, Office 365, G Suite or Box.

March 31, 2020

World Backup Day

World Backup Day LogoMarch 31st is the World Backup Day and I wish to remind everyone that protecting your data is one of the most important IT operations to consider even if you think that finally it doesn't do anything for your business. Think about the current situation.

So here are a key items I'd like to share without:

  1. Backup and data protection are about copying data and having redundant information. The more you have the more you'll be protect in principle when failure will occur.
  2. Understand the notion of RPO - Recovery Point Objective - and RTO - Recovery Time Objective -, the first is the time before the failure and is associated with the quantity of information you accept to loose. In fact, between the RPO and the failure, it is indeed that quantity of information. The RTO is how fast a business or just users will reuse applications to serve their activity.
  3. Based on that, you should consider for some activities a CDP - Continuous Data Protection - model where every new data is copy somewhere in addition to its production residence.
  4. External drives, shared secondary storage or cloud targets. Pick the one you prefer aligned with your goals.
  5. To facilitate recovery indexing is key so think about it when you select and put in place a backup solution.
  6. Same remark for versioning, try to keep several versions you will be able to pick.
  7. Things like encryption for confidentiality of your backup images and deduplication are interesting if your volume is quite important in order to reduce the secondary storage bill.
  8. Don't forget DR.
Happy World Backup Day. Don't forget to protect your data and yourself in our current critical moment.

March 30, 2020

OwnBackup continues to lead Salesforce data protection pack

OwnBackup, emerging leader in Salesforce data protection, delivered an interesting presentation during a new online session for the 34th IT Press Tour.

The company was incorporated in March 2012 and developed the product during 3 years. Originally, the product was initiated by Ariel Berkman during his last 3 years at Recover Information Technologies Ltd. he founded in 2006. Several key members of OwnBackup came from Intronis founded in 2003 and sold to Barracuda Networks for $60M in 2015. Sam Gutmann joined OwnBackup as CEO in 2015 where he met again Ori Yankelev, currently EVP Sales, and business has started at that moment. OwnBackup has raised a total of $49.8M with 5 VC rounds.

But the key question if why do we need to protect our Salesforce data? Each word here is important i.e protect, data, our and Salesforce. Yes you read right Salesforce doesn't do that and it's a a big surprise. It's also a surprise that users finally pick the CRM service thinking, for some of them, that they will be protected by the cloud provider and for others preferring the service even without a comprehensive protection. I mean that these users expose companies' data to a loss therefore impacting seriously the business of their company.

It's incredible that users accept this lack from a SaaS vendor. Being an IaaS is different but for a SaaS this is purely inadequate as users subscribe to a high-level service and not an infrastructure platform. The power and position of Salesforce are so high that they finally don't care, this is our understanding, and it doesn't impact their image and results. And don't think Salesforce never fails, I invite you to read an article I wrote on StorageNewsletter May 21, 2019 about a 15 hours downtime.

To summarize Salesforce data protection answers, here are the ridiculous four options:

But enterprises require more than that.

A backup solution for such business critical service requires some specific attributes like:
  • Strong RPO to avoid to lose data,
  • Short RTO to restart business rapidly,
  • Of course data integrity,
  • Security as a must,
  • Reliability as it is often the last copy so you have to trust the solution and the partner
  • and finally accessibility.
So it represents a real big opportunity for Salesforce partners such OwnBackup. Recognizing its limitations, Salesforce opens the door to partner to fix their drawbacks and even recommends external service.

OwnBackup develops probably the most advanced product today dedicated to Salesforce. It is coupled with an archiver, a replicator, a compare and comply companions. All these are CCPA and GDPR certified.

The backup product runs on AWS and Azure connected to Salesforce instances via APIs. Data are transferred encrypted via HTTPS or TLS 1.1/1.2 and stored encrypted with AES-256 as well. The service leverages the IAM OAuth 2.0 for better security.

Direction of the product targets RPO with the wish to limit the data exposure to a loss. In other words, able to put in production rapidly old data is useless. RPO is before the failure and RTO is after it. Let me give you 3 good examples of RPO and RTO:
  • Source code: you don't want to lose any code so you need a small RPO but you have plenty of time to restore it so RTO is flexible.
  • Static website: like a museum can tolerate an RPO of several weeks but a very short RTO. In other words as soon as you discover the failure.
  • business case: you don't want to lose a basket or a pending transaction and restore activity very very quickly. Here you rely on short RPO and RTO.
For Salesforce, we understand that the last example is the goal for users and backup providers. And the ultimate goal is a CDP - Continuous Data Protection - model with a constant copy of new data to a secondary space. The RPO is the second before the failure meaning that the loss is associates to data entered in the system between 2 seconds which is a big gain.

2020 will be interesting for this topic and we'll follow closely OwnBackup we expect the solution to also cover other key SaaS applications.

March 27, 2020

Rubrik just lost its VP EMEA

Rubrik, a leader of the new data protection generation, seems to start a dancing floor with employees.

Karl Driesen, former VP EMEA of Rubrik for 4 years, just joined Aviatrix Systems for the same position. Karl is back to the networking world where he did almost all his career, moving to storage was strange for everyone.

Aviatrix is a recent player started in 2014 with a total raised of $65.8M in 4 rounds and plays in software-defined cloud networking led by Steve Mullaney, who was the CEO of Nicira.

March 20, 2020

FalconStor applies containerization to archive

FalconStor Software, veteran of the storage virtualization wave, is still active on the market.

After several chaotic moments in its history, the company seems to be back with a clear strategy with more robust directions and ideas. The company presents itself now aa a data protection company which is a bit strange and limiting according to its track record and is based in Austin, TX, no longer on the east coast.

The company famous for 3 strong offerings - its VTL, CDP and NSS products - just launched StorSafe, a persistent data storage container for long-term data retention need.

The idea of StorSafe is to deliver the promise of cloud i.e align with the platform independence promise able to support data center, hybrid, public, private and multi-cloud environments.

The key element within StorSafe is the Virtual Storage Container aka VSC. It is designed to be portable and integrated with deployed backup and archive software, supporting tape emulation, deduplication, encryption, erasure coding, RAICs - RAID applied to clouds - meaning a Redundant Array of Independent Clouds, an other word for Concurrent or Parallel Multi-Clouds with containers sharded across cloud entities and of course support of any storage systems or S3 storage.

StorSafe is currently in beta and will be available in H2/2020.

March 18, 2020

Quantum closes ActiveScale acquisition from Western Digital

Quantum, a leader in secondary storage, just announced it has completed the acquisition of ActiveScale from Western Digital.

It is finally a return to the common sense as Quantum was an investor into Amplidata a long time ago. With the strategy to build a real systems and platforms division, Western Digital has acquired a few companies such Tegile and Amplidata to fulfill that trajectory.

But patatra, things were going bad as these products never really took off and back to reality WD management has decide to cut this activity. Tegile was recently swallowed by DDN to be one of their enterprise solutions and the ActiveSale lands at Quantum.

Globally it makes a lot of sense for Quantum but this product has real difficulties on the market and suffer from real negative reputation. We'll see what Quantum plan to do with it especially it has to be redesign and develop but not sure if the market will let Quantum doing so...

At Coldago, we published last November the Map 2019 for Object Storage and we listed both Western Digital and Quantum. We anticipate some positive move in 2020 with ActiveScale from Quantum.


March 11, 2020

Atempo partners with OVHcloud

AtempoAtempo, a long time player in data protection, continues its journey towards the cloud with a new partnership with the cloud giant OVHcloud.

The idea is to offer Atempo data backup and preservation solution around Tina, Miria and Lina and promotes a sovereign French cloud.

It's an example of the clear strategy to stay independent from US giant clouds and guarantee that data stay within the France perimeter.

Again, a very good initiative that continues to remind me what the french government has made with Numergy and Cloudwatt...

At the same time, OvHcloud picks Zerto for DR needs.

On the OVHcloud side, I'm still surprised that the cloud provider continues to promote Ceph for cloud storage essentially with a block and object storage. Swift is dead so why continue with that even if it's open source. And there is no file storage in the offering, CephFS is not mentioned....

March 5, 2020

34th IT Press Tour is back to Israel

The IT Press Tour, the leading IT event for WW IT press, has recently announced participating companies for the 34th edition scheduled from March 22nd to 25th in Israel.

Seven companies will be visited, some are new and other are familiar with the tour as they did multiple editions:
  • CTera Networks, leader in distributed file services for the enterprise,
  • Deep Instinct, reference in deep learning cybersecurity,
  • Infinidat, promoter of large scale consolidated enterprise storage,
  • Kaminario, innovator in fast composable storage infrastructure,
  • Lightbits Labs, ambassador of disaggregation of storage and compute vis NVMe/TCP,
  • OwnBackup, drive of the enterprise SaaS applications backup,
  • and Weebit, fast growing player in persistent memory.
Dense and unique week in perspective with several hot players in IT infrastructure, the tour will shake the market again. I invite you to follow us with @ITPressTour, #ITPT, various publications and reporters Twitter handles.

February 10, 2020

Igneous partners with Wasabi

Igneous, the emerging cloud data protection for NAS player, adds Wasabi as its new cloud provider partner. In addition to the large 3 cloud leaders, Igneous chooses to add an alternative player having a rapid growth with interesting positioning and pricing with no egress fees. For instance, Wasabi offers secured cloud storage at $5.99/TB/mo.