It Isn't About Data Backup, But About Recovery

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 17, 2015

Ganesh Kuppuswamy

While the overall Information Technology landscape is fast changing, one area which is relatively slow is enterprise backup and data protection. In fact, this has been a real pain for CIOs and IT managers for long. This is because of the increasingly complex storage environment, often making it difficult to access, retrieve and manage data, in addition to the complexities in data backup and recovery. In an open, candid conversation with CXOtoday, Ganesh Kuppuswamy, Director- Arcserve India & SAARC explains that backing up to tape at the primary site will virtually disappear slowly and will be replaced with unified data protection solutions. He believes flexible, scalable and all-in-one solution- Unified Data Protection solutions will begin to establish itself in the market.

What according to you are the emerging trends in terms of data protection space in APAC?

We have recently concluded a micro survey on data protection trends across APAC with an aim to assist IT managers and backup administrators to understand how their counterparts around the region are managing their data protection strategies. By identifying specific trends, we hope that IT managers and backup administrators will gain insight into technologies they may want to consider as part of their evolving data protection strategies.

The survey findings discovered that APAC is slightly slower to leverage some of the newer data protection technologies and practices that are being adopted in Europe and North America. Therefore there is a definite requirement for some of the older “backup” technologies to be supported into the future. The survey reveals that there is interest in understanding how new technologies and practices can complement, and in some instances replace existing infrastructure and practices.

The backup software market is becoming more fragmented than ever before with no one dominant player. It’s clear that the data protection market in APAC is in a state of transition driven by business requirements and new technologies. We are glad to see that change is already underway and to some point a tipping point has been reached. This is a perfect opportunity for Arcserve to disrupt the market with newer technologies and better solutions.

What’s driving the demand for unified data protection technology in India?

The main challenge of customers is that they have multiple servers, applications and multiple skill sets to manage the data and servers. Companies need one simple solution that can address data protection challenges in an increasingly complex environment.

Organizations are looking for tools that will deliver the assurance of data and system recovery no matter what the circumstances, with platform coverage that includes physical, virtual and cloud.  In addition, we see the emergence of appliances as one of the growing deployments options, often combined with cloud Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Businesses are now looking to simplify their deployments, a trend with multiple implications. Using specialized solutions to protect one application, or just hypervisors for example, should be a thing of the past. Products become features and many vendors have now more than caught up. Integration between virtualization and cloud features in broader solutions, making these niche solutions irrelevant. Unification of data protection under one roof, combined with ease of use and a broad set of capabilities is what we see taking hold. Additionally, having a comprehensive feature set combined with user-friendliness is key to empower not only the IT generalist, but also the data protection specialist. Again, an organizations size has almost become irrelevant when it comes to getting low RPOs and RTOs. Everyone needs it, but you can’t get there with a disjointed approach.

How specifically would you like to emphasize on cloud and virtualization. Moreover, how will you answer the security concerns regarding cloud?

With the explosion of virtualization and the growth of cloud deployments, IT infrastructures have deeply changed in the past few years. These changes have presented both challenges and opportunities to the data protection and disaster recovery practices. Missed RPOs and RTOs became the norm, combined with increased complexity. The adoption of virtualization in production environments mechanically created a data protection bottleneck: it became hard to keep up with all of the new virtual machines, the tools were not adapted and the volumes of data kept expanding. Not everyone was ready for cloud deployments yet because security issues, bandwidth considerations and data protection tool connectivity to public and private clouds were common problems.

The world has changed as technology vendors quickly adjusted. Today we see customers revisiting their data protection and recovery strategies by fully embracing and combining physical and virtual systems in their policies, using virtualization as a mechanism to recover data and systems faster, leveraging enterprise-like features such as replication, and more importantly deploying solutions that partially or fully leverage cloud “destinations” as part of a tiered recovery strategy.

India is predominantly a SMB market. Do you have any specific strategy to target this market?

For three years Arcserve was operating as an independent business unit inside CA with our own sales, marketing and support, product development team. It’s a logical move for us to become independent so we can focus on the SMB market.

As an independent company, Arcserve can now laser-focus on its key market targets and invest in marketing, channel development and accelerate its technology horizons. We plan to build on our new Arcserve Unified Data Protection (UDP) and ease of use, accelerate our roadmap to increase and create strong differentiation and invest in our market reach and market visibility

There are many data protection vendors in the market but the market is very fragmented. Our latest Data Protection Survey also proved this. Customers told us that they are confused with the number of solutions available and none of them provides a unified solution that addresses their key challenges.

Arcserve UDP is the first solution to combine industry-proven backup, replication, high availability and true global deduplication technologies with one unified console for virtual and physical environments. Designed with SMBs in mind, Arcserve UDP has all the enterprise-like features without the price tag and is very adaptable as business grows.

We are unique in that we combine a feature-rich, modern and unified data protection architecture with ease of use and deployment. No one else does that. We like to say that this is not about backup, but about recovery, and more specifically, assured recovery. We still see vendors rehashing the same old backup stories. Users are fatigued by the narrowness of the solutions they have to deal with every day. We’re changing that with UDP.

In addition, we have an active customer base of 45,000 end users in more than 50 countries, and we partner with over 7,500 distributors, resellers and service providers around the world. We are proud of how we interact with partners and customers and provide timely responses.

Who are your traditional competitors? How does Arcserve compete with older, more established companies in the market?

Most of the legacy backup and disaster recovery solutions providers are our traditional competitors. But with Arcserve UDP, we have changed the tricks of the game; today we are the only vendor who provides unified, simple and scalable backup and disaster recovery solutions.

Arcserve provides organizations with the assurance that they can recover their data and applications when needed. We evolved from a tape backup solution developed in 1990 to a comprehensive solution for virtual and physical environments, on premise or in the cloud, backed by unsurpassed support and expertise.  Arcserve UDP’s unified management capabilities and centralized reporting and deployment simplify data and system protection and recovery operations dramatically, when compared to point solutions. It thus improves the operational efficiency of data and system protection recovery.

What is Arcserve’s long term growth strategy and product roadmap?

India is a key growth market for Arcserve in Asia Pacific and we are going to invest sustainably in this market by increasing headcounts, recruiting more partners and growing our market credentials in the next 12 months. Since last year, we have been seeing a double digit growth and are likely to keep this growth rate going forward.

Our vision is to protect data from any source to any target, but with a keen focus on delivering added value in the process, such as assured recovery capabilities, but also in time, more services around analytics or legal hold for example.  In the shorter term, we are aggressively building our solution, with a focus on simplicity, feature depth and breadth and expanded platform support.