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EMC Shakes Up Enterprise Backup with New Software, Tighter Integration

EMC is reaching out to its installed base as well as its competitors' customers with a new release of its enterprise backup and recovery software product, NetWorker 8.0. The company already has 23,000 NetWorker customers but believes the new performance enhancements and tighter integration with its Avamar and Data Domain products represent a significant opportunity to both deepen and extend its customer base.

IDC analyst Robert Amatruda, research director, data protection and recovery, agrees that the improved integration with the company's Data Domain technology and Microsoft applications should help extend its commanding lead in the segment. Each one of the changes isn't revolutionary, but taken together they really enhance the relative offering in terms of their competitors, he says: "EMC has really taken this thing from 0 to 60 to 160, really enhancing this product."

EMC already owns the purpose-built backup appliance market, with 65.5% of the $2.4 billion spent on PBBA products in 2011, according to IDC. IBM and HP followed, with 15.3% and 4.1% revenue share, respectively. Revenue is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 19.4%, totaling nearly $5.9 billion by the close of 2016, so tighter integration among EMC's core backup products--Avamar, Data Domain and NetWorker--and appealing to a broader audience, are key, says Amatruda.

The tighter integration with Data Domain will be extremely advantageous for them, and is really critical, he says. EMC understands the notion of enterprise backup and recovery, and the enhancements really help the company in the marketplace. "There are other competitors, but EMC is really the dominant player right now," says Amatruda.

Acquired from Legato in 2003, NetWorker backup software supports all the major platforms, including Windows, Linux, Unix and Macintosh. Avamar, picked up in 2006, offers deduplication backup software and hardware, primarily for remote and branch offices and VMware infrastructure environments, as well as data centers with bandwidth constraints or backup window bottlenecks. Data Domain, acquired in 2009, is an inline appliance that dedupes backup traffic before writing the backup files to its disks. DD Boost, a software client that helps speed backups by moving parts of the deduplication process from the Data Domain appliance to back up servers, reportedly reduces server resource use anywhere from 20% to 40%.

EMC refreshed both its Data Domain and Avamar products in May at EMC World. The Data Domain DD990 deduplication system is more than six times faster and has three times more capacity than its nearest competitor, says EMC. Avamar 6.1 delivers three times the backup performance and 30 times the recovery performance of its nearest competitor in VMware environments, according to the company.

The latest release of NetWorker includes a new architecture that lowers server processing and delivers substantially more scalability; a Client Direct feature that enables NetWorker clients to back up directly from the application client to disk, improving performance by up to 50%; DD Boost integration with the NetWorker client for lower network traffic, integrated management with clone-controlled replication and automated configuration, monitoring and reporting capabilities; enhanced support for Microsoft SQL Server, including support for SQL Server 2012 and Granular Level Recovery for Exchange, SharePoint and Hyper-V; and a new multitenancy feature that delivers logical zoning of data, devices and users in shared backup environments.

EMC says deeper integration with Data Domain lowers network traffic by 90%. Also, DD Boost is an integral element of its strategy to provide consolidated infrastructure for customers to not only back up data, but archive it as well. Many of its Data Domain customers use tools from other vendors, so it represents a huge opportunity for growing its enterprise backup software business, says the company.