HDS bought Sepaton – now what?

Have you ever known two people that seemed to tell the same stories and have the same ideas, but just weren’t that in to each other? And then one day, BAM, they are besties.

Sepaton was (and is) a deduplication appliance vendor that has always marketed to “the largest of enterprises.” From Sepaton’s perspective, the deduplication market might be segmented into three categories:

  • Small deduplication vendors and software-based deduplication … for midsized companies.
  • Full product-line deduplication vendors, offering a variety of in-line deduplication, single-controller scale-up (but not always with scale-out) appliances from companies that typically produce a wide variety of other IT appliances and solution components … for midsized to large organizations.
  • Sepaton, offering enterprise deduplication efficiency and performance to truly enterprise-scale organizations, particularly when those organizations have outgrown the commodity approach to dedupe.

Aside from the actual technology differences between the various deduplication systems, the Sepaton approach is somewhat reminiscent of the different marketing philosophies between American cars that appear to be commonplace and some well-engineered, European beast that is positioned for the select few – justifiably so, or not.

To be fair, Sepaton’s technology really is markedly different in a few aspects that do lend it to enterprise environments, but their challenge until now has been gaining penetration into those enterprise accounts – and defending against the other deduplication vendors in those enterprise accounts whose solution portfolio typically includes production storage systems (not just deduplication secondary systems) and other key aspects of the overall IT infrastructure, often with higher relationships and more flexibility in pricing due to the broader portfolio … and that is where this gets interesting.

HDS tells a similar story around understanding and meeting the needs of truly large enterprises, so Sepaton story is congruent with what the HDS teams know how to talk.

HDS’s core DNA is a conservative approach to knitting together solution elements, while trying to help the customer see the bigger picture in IT – which should allow the Sepaton product lines to seamlessly be evangelized within a broader HDS data protection and agility story. I for one am eager to hear more about what that new broader story sounds like, with the Sepaton pieces integrated in.

Similarly, HDS serendipitously did not have its own deduplication solution already (unlike almost every other big storage/IT vendor that HDS competes with), so there should be very little overlap – and in fact, the primary data protection products (e.g. Symantec NetBackup) that HDS often offers its customers already work well with the Sepaton platform (due to OST support).

But most importantly, HDS has the broader enterprise gravitas that Sepaton alone could not achieve. HDS ought to be able to have similar C-level meetings to those of Sepaton’s (and HDS’s) competitors, and that means that more enterprises will be exposed to Sepaton and HDS will have a broader story to tell (win-win).

Put it all together:

  • Sepaton gets better enterprise reach and more enterprise sales folks that align with the Sepaton story.
  • HDS broadens its storage portfolio beyond primary storage with a complimentary secondary/deduplication solution that is aligned with its core story and customer base for incremental sales and broader customer penetration, due to a more complete story.

Congratulations to HDS and Sepaton on what looks like a good fit for both of them – now, let’s start talking about that cohesive data protection story!

[Tardiness disclaimer: The HDS-Sepaton announcement occurred while I was on vacation in August, but it was interesting enough that “late” seemed better than “silent”]

[Originally posted on ESG’s Technical Optimist.com]

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