Monday, April 05, 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.

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