SaaS Backup … Hunger Games style

There is a great scene in the first Hunger Games movie where the 24 combatants are just about to start fighting. In front of them are a small stash of weapons. Some of the combatants charge towards the weapons, knowing that if they get one, they will gain a huge advantage – but if they don’t, they will be prime targets for being immediately “defeated.” Other combatants choose to ignore the premade weapons and run for the forest, presuming that they will be able to forage and somehow make a weapon themselves.

That is what the SaaS-Backup market looks like. As workloads like email and file services continue to be migrated from on-premise servers to SaaS solutions like Office365 and GoogleApps, most legacy backup solutions can’t follow. And so, all of the legacy backup vendors are like those combatants – and many have been looking at the only two “weapons” for protecting SaaS:

One sword and one bow … named Backupify and Spanning.

A sword and a bow each have very different capabilities; and Backupify and Spanning approach backing up SaaS differently (as well as their go-to-market strategy). And in keeping with the Hunger Games analogy, two combatants ran into the frey:

Last month, EMC acquired Spanning … adding SaaS backup to its broad portfolio of datacenter centric solutions, deduplication technologies, archival products and BaaS offering from Mozy.

Today, Datto announced it is acquiring Backupify … adding SaaS backup to its appliance-plus-cloud portfolio that is truly a born-in-the-cloud hybrid architecture for BC/DR, as well as backups.

In much the same way that a sword and bow differ, and the Hunger Games contestants vary dramatically, so do EMC and Datto – with only two similarities:

  1. Each has a very clear, very passionate view of how they will dominate the data protection market through a portfolio approach that includes on-premise, hybrid and cloud-centric solutions (plural).
  2. Each now owns one of the only pre-fashioned weapons in the SaaS-backup Hunger Games.

And that is where this gets interesting. Ten years ago, one could have made the same Hunger Games type analogy about virtualization-centric backups, with Veeam, PHD and vRanger being the weapons of choice. Two were acquired and the one continues to dominate mindshare of VM recovery solutions. And like the virtualization-protection market, other players did eventually develop their own VM-centric protection capabilities, particularly after VMware started shipping APIs that let everyone back up VMs.

Similarly, Asigra just announced Office 365 protection today, as an extension of their broad protection capabilities.

Like the Hunger Games combatants, many (not all) who run into the woods will later discover that it is much harder to forage a weapon from tree branches than they thought … and some of those legacy backup solutions that are losing customers as the SaaS evolution continues will realize all-too-late that waiting for the SaaS providers to come up with standardized APIs for protecting SaaS products can’t come soon enough – and when the playing field does become more even, those that grabbed the weapons at the beginning of the battle may likely still have an advantage.

BOOM! Did someone hear a cannon?

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