CeBIT Acronis says that it is taking market share away from the established players like Symantec as server virtualisation changes prompt customers to re-evaluate backup and recovery products.
It's not that customers migrate backup data sets from, for example, BackupExec to Acronis. Instead the legacy backup software gets left behind as newer consolidated and virtualised servers get protected by software from players like Acronis.
We asked Laurent Dedenis, Acronis' world-wide sales and marketing president for a 90-second summing up of Acronis at CeBIT.
"We provide the full spectrum of protection from bare metal recovery through backup to disaster recovery (DR) targeting Windows and LInux for small and medium enterprises and larger ones with physical to physical (P to P), physical to virtual (P to V), V to V and V to P for Citrix, Hyper-V and VMware with one platform - Acronis Backup and Recovery 10, a single backup facility for on-site/ off-site and cloud protection."
Does VMware provide competition to Acronis?
VMware is selling software to backup via vCloud. There is also VMware backup. This product is in competition with Acronis, but VMware is just V to V and they don't do migration as Acronis does, from one V environment to another ie Citrix to/from VMware.
How does Acronis cope with initial cloud backup loads?
We do initial seeding via an Acronis-delivered hard disk drive (HDD). There is no other way of doing it, no other option. Ditto for large recovery. But times will change. We'll see multi-gigabyte uploads working in decent times.
Network bandwidth will become more available, and, yes, it will be expensive. In fact in Korea broadband speeds in some locations are already extremely high and can do upload and offload at amazing speeds.
Do customers change backup and DR suppliers or do they stay with them for life?
Acronis has been acquiring new customers for six years. So customers do change. Why? They change their own infrastructure. I.e. Servers go virtual. They consolidate 25 servers to 12 or 13 virtual servers and then reconsider all their software, and so become open to other suppliers, better solutions.
So they could abandon the existing BU/DR - or there could be a mix. But the percentage of virtualised servers is growing. Small and medium enterprise (SME) server virtualisation is increasing particularly over the next few years. There is a transition as virtualisation spreads into their environment and SME customers could end up with several BU/DR supplier/product environments.
Do customers actually migrate from one backup environment to another?
There is no automated tools for migration from one BU/DR environment to another. Existing unconsolidated legacy app/servers could stay with legacy BU/DR. Our customers are generally with us for life.
Why can't backup SW vendors import customers' backup data from competing leggy products, such as BackupExec? After all Microsoft developed Excel to import Lotus Notes spreadsheets. Why isn't this kind of attack marketing happening in backup?
It is probably forbidden. Backup formats are proprietary, like ours. It's also because Backup software has lots of extensions and APIs that are unique. The effort would be huge and simply hasn't been undertaken.
What is the revenue picture at Acronis?
We don't communicate revenue details. Our funding is by private investors and a few Venture Capitalists but it is not VC-dominated and there is no VC push for a crystallisation.
We are extremely international, with three regions; Europe, the USA, and Asia, with each representing significant revenues.
So what do we think? Acronis is extremely close-mouthed about its financial performance and simply won't talk publicly about its size and how that is changing over the years. A press release (in German) from a company that appointed an ex-Acronis CEO Walter Scott as its CEO, mentions Acronis earning $120m in 2008, a big jump from the $20m three years earlier.
Replacement Acronis CEO Jason Donahue confirmed that revenues at that time were "Well north of $100m". He said they had grown by 20 per cent from calendar 2007 to 2008, with the final 2008 quarter being the firm's highest-grossing quarter ever. ®
Privately-owned Acronis was founded 2001 by Serguei Beloussov, Max Tsypliaev, and Ilya Zubarev. It was officially incorporated in 2002 in San Francisco, but it its head quarters are in Boston, with the actual code written in Russia.
Acronis says it has no one large home market and has been international from day one, selling its products in 90 countries, from offices in 18 countries, and supporting fourteen languages. It says it is one of the few companies its size that can compete globally.
Acronis has an OEM channel with three categories. There are HDD OEMs like Netgear, Seagate, and Iomega. Seagate, for example, ships Acronis software with external hard drives.
A second and smaller category is PC manufacturers, and third is vertical market OEMs shipping Acronis software with medical devices, point-of-sale products and printers. Oce, recently bought by Canon, is one of the largest of these.