Norton Online Backup ships with HP computers

Symantec announced today that Norton Online Backup software will be shipping with HP PCs and Laptops. Norton Online Backup is a cloud storage solution which can be used to backup your data on your PC.

Norton Online currently has about 32PB of consumer data and is growing by about 5PB/Qtr and is currently number one in online backup market. Also Norton online has about 8M users today growing 100% each year. With the HP announcement today all of these metrics will just increase even faster.

Consumers create over 70% of the worlds digital data with a 60% CAGR. Roughly about 2% of consumers use online backup services and ~25% of never backup at all. Norton Online Backup, EMC’s Mozy, Carbonite and others are attempting to entice these backup shy users to start backing up their data online and forgo onsite headaches of doing it yourself.

Apparently with Norton Online one can back up up to 5 machines and they can be located anywhere. So if you wanted to backup your kid’s pc at college and your parent’s pc at their retirement village you could do this with one Norton online license (as long as the total machine count < =5). Once backed up the data can be restored to any machine and takes just a few clicks. Backing up your pc is easy to setup and once done can be forgotten. Then whenever you are on the internet and the machine is not busy, the data just trickles out to the Norton Online backup service. The Norton Online Backup service is renewed yearly and cost is based on storage quantity backed up. How Symantec stores and records 32PB of user backup data is non-trivial but I am told it is all done using commodity hardware and commodity disk drives with nary a SAN in sight. They have multiple data centers, professionally managed, supporting Symantec developed/acquired cloud storage services. Apparently, Norton Online Backup is an outgrowth of Symantec's SwapDrive acquisition from last year. Symantec appears to be the leader in cloud storage applications and this would seem to be just the start of the services that Symantec will deploy via the cloud. Now if they only had something for the Mac... Technorati Profile

EMC Better At Acquisitions?

I was talking with an EMCer the other day about the Data Domain deal and he said that EMC does very well with acquisitions. Just about every EMC product line other than Symmetrix (and possibly Celerra, Invista, PowerPath and maybe others) came from an acquisition in EMC’s past.

The list goes something like this Clariion from Data General, Centerra from FilePool, Control Center from BMC, Networker from Legato, RainFinity, Avamar, Documentum, RSA all from companies of the same name. There are other examples as well but these should suffice for now. One almost starts to forget about all these separate companies that existed prior to EMC’s acquisitions. Over time EMC manages to succeed in advancing and integrating the various technologies and products into their portfolio.

On the other extreme is Sun. They have almost a perfect record of acquiring companies and burying the technology away. Often the technology does emerge after a gestation period in another Sun product somewhere else but just as often it just fades away never to be seen again.

Today’s companies have to do acquisitions well. They can no longer afford the luxury to acquire companies and then see their investment die away. Those days are long gone

What makes EMC so successful while others can do so poorly? One thing I have learned is that EMC leaves a new acquisition pretty much alone for 12 months or so. During that time presumably they are assessing the current management team for EMC cultural fit and determining the best way to sell, advance and integrate the acquired technology into the rest of EMC’s product and services portfolio.

The other thing I have noticed is that EMC’s most recentr acquisitions have retained at least portions of their original brand names. Networker, RainFinity, Documentum, and RSA are examples here.

I don’t know what it is about retaining a brand name but 1) it makes it harder to let it fade away because it’s so visible, 2) employees who have a personal interest in the brand fight to keep it alive and advancing, and 3) customer base and loyalty is retained better.

Just pieces of the puzzle but no doubt there is more to this than is visible externally.

How well NetApp will do as an Acquirer is another question. I know they have acquired Spinnaker, Alacritus, Decru, Topio, and Onaro over the past five years. Most of these products are still being sold. Rumors point to Spinnaker technology being merged into NetApp’s mainline product soon. All in all, I would have to say that although NetApp has retained the product names for most of these products Onaro’s SANScreen, Decru’s DataFort and others, they haven’t necessarily done a good job keeping the brandnames alive.

What NetApp will do with Data Domain however, is another matter entirely. First, the price being paid is much higher than any previous acquisitions. Second, the market share that Data Domain currently enjoys is much larger than any previous acquisition. Finally, it’s crucial to NetApp’s future revenue growth to do this one right. Given all that, I truly believe they will do a much better job with retaining Data Domain’s brand and product names, thereby keeping the product alive and well for the foreseeable future.

Rgds,
Ray

HDS High Availability Manager(HAM)

What does HAM look like to the open systems end user. We need to break this question up into two parts – one part for USP-V internal storage and the other part for external storage.

It appears that for internal storage first you need data replication services such as asynch or synchronous replication between the two USP-V storage subsystems. But here you still need some shared External storage used as a quorum disk. Then once all this is set up under HAM the two subsystems can automatically failover access to the replicated internal and shared external storage from one USP-V to the other.

For external storage it appears that this storage must be shared between the two USP-V systems and whenever the primary one fails the secondary one can take over (failover) data storage responsibilities for the failing USP-V frontend.

What does this do for data migration? Apparently, using automated failover with HAM one can migrate date between two different storage pools and then failover server access from one to the other non-disruptively.

Obviously all the servers accessing storage under HAM control would need to be able to access both USP-Vs in order for this to all work properly.

Continuous availability is a hard nut to crack. HDS seems to have taken a shot at doing this from a purely storage subsystem perspective. This might be very useful for data centers running heterogeneous server environments. Typically server clustering software is OS specific like MSCS. Symantec being the lone exception with VCS which supports multiple OSs. Such server clustering can handle storage outages but also depend on storage replication services to make this work.

Unclear to me which is preferable but when you add the non-disruptive data migration – it seems that HAM might make sense.

Data Domain bidding war

It’s unclear to me what EMC would want with Data Domain (DD) other than to lockup deduplication technology across the enterprise. EMC has Avamar for Source dedupe, has DL for target dedupe, has Celerra Dedupe and the only one’s missing are V-Max, Symm & Clariion dedupe.

My guess is that EMC sees Data Domain’s market share as the primary target. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure that once Data Domain is a part of EMC, EMC’s Disk Library (DL) offerings will move over to DD technology. Which probably leaves FalconStor/Quantum technology used in DL today as outsiders.

EMC’s $100M loan to Quantum last month probably was just insurance to keep a business partner afloat until something better came along or they could make it on their own. The DD deal would leave Quantum parntership supporting EMC with just Quantum’s tape offerings.

Quantum deduplication technology doesn’t have nearly the market share that DD has in the enterprise but they have won a number of OEM deals not the least of which is EMC and they were looking to expand. But if EMC buys DD, this OEM agreement will end soon.

I wonder if DD is worth $1.8B in cash what could Sepaton be worth. They seem to be the only pure play dedupe appliance left standing out there.

Not sure whether NetApp will up their bid but they always seem to enjoy competing with EMC. Also unclear how much of this bid is EMC wanting DD or EMC just wanting to hurt NetApp, either way DD stockholders win out in the end.

Data Domain and NetApp

Data Domain has been a longtime partner of NetApp’s, which is probably one reason that NetApp finally decided to make them an offer. Another reason why it’s right to do this now is that in today’s economy, NetApp could get the best price.

The final reason that NetApp and Data Domain should hook up is that there are not many other major storage vendors that don’t already have a dedicated deduplication appliance or two. If Sun were still around it might make sense for them to think about buying Data Domain but they are out of the picture until Oracle figures out what to do with their storage business. EMC has bought Avamar and invested significantly in Quantum. IBM has purchased Diligent, Symantec has PureDisk. HP already has a deduplication product. The only major vendor without dedupe today is HDS.

Data Domain had a lot going for them. They practically defined the target deduplication appliance market. Diligent (now with IBM), Quantum, Sepaton, and others notwithstanding, Data Domain had the largest market share out there and was continuing to experience rapid growth. The fact that Data Domain both supported NAS as well as VTL access modes coupled with their excellent market share made them a prime acquisition on many fronts.

NetApp, of course, has their own deduplication technology which has been very successful in supporting virtual server environments primary storage and was also used to support secondary storage. No doubt over time these two technologies could conceivably merge into one. But don’t hold your breath, some companies have way more than two distinct deduplication technologies which are used for their various products and NetApp may not feel its worthwhile to combine the two technologies in the near future given there two different markets.

All in all, consolidation is necessary evil today.

EMCWorld News

At EMC World this past week, all the news was about VMware, Cisco and EMC and how they are hooking up to address the needs of the new data center user.

VMware introduced vSphere which was their latest release of their software which contained significant tweaks to improve storage performance.

Cisco was not announcing much at the show other than to say that they support vSphere with their Nexus 1000v software switch.

EMC discussed their latest V-Max hardware and PowerPath/VMware, an up and coming release of NaviSphere for VM and some other plugins that allows the VMware admin to see EMC storage views (EMC viewer).

On another note, it seems that EMC is selling out all their SSDs they can and they recently introduced their next generation SSD drive with 400GB of storage