Vault Guys Target Remote Backup

They look to lock up market before new technology changes game

February 15, 2005

3 Min Read
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LiveVault Corp. today beefed up its backup and restore capabilities for remote offices (see LiveVault Adds Disk, Remote Backup). And in the process, the storage service provider (SSP) follows the lead of its main rival.

LiveVault InControl uses continuous data protection (CDP) software and a caching appliance called TurboRestore to speed local recovery of files by remote site from a centralized data center.

LiveVault isn't alone in targeting this market. Rival EVault Inc.s Continuum Server CDP appliance launched last October is also used for rapid restore of centrally stored files to remote sites (see EVault Intros Continuum Server).

It's a problem that looks big enough to support more than one solution. Gartner Inc.

principal analyst Adam Couture says a 2004 survey found that 80 percent of users polled were backing up their servers to onsite storage. “That’s a really bad practice,” Couture says. “Anything that destroys your server -- say a fire or a flood -- also destroys your backup.”

Backing up to the data center rather than to tape onsite would mitigate risks for remote sites. LiveVault CEO Bob Cramer says his larger customers have wanted to do that, but couldn’t find a solution that would restore data fast enough. “We were hearing from customers, ‘We have a lot of data at one site and a T1 connection. We can’t pump data fast enough over that bandwidth for recovery,’ ” Cramer says. “People want a one-to-two hour recovery time. We couldn’t address that market.”LiveVault InControl deploys CDP technology at the main office and TurboRestore at the remote office. CDP continually records data changes and stores only the changes instead of the entire database. Data is backed up to TurboRestore before it is sent to the data center, and data on the appliance is instantly available. InControl backups and restores can be managed from the data center without intervention in remote offices.

Pricing begins at $25,000 for LiveVault InControl and $119 per month for LiveVault InSync. Both are available today. InControl and TurboRestore are the only products LiveVault sells outside of its outsourced services. LiveVault is also making TurboRestore available as part of its LiveVault InSync backup and recovery service for SMBs.

By offering a product as well as a service, LiveVault follows another path EVault has already taken. EVault launched its InfoStage backup and recovery product in 2002 to go with its outsourced storage services (see EVault Jumps On Software). LiveVault will alter its go-to-market strategy by adding direct sales. Its services are sold through resellers. Again, EVault has a similar approach with sales coming directly and through resellers.

The model seems to have worked well for EVault, which claims more than 6,000 customers and a profitable business. Cramer says LiveVault is also purring along with 1,400 customers and he expects to be profitable later this year (see Online Backup Booming).

But EVault and LiveVault might eventually face as much competition from a new technology as from each other. Wide-area file services (WAFS) is an alternative method of handling data at remote sites. WAFS allows remote sites to access files from the data center as if they were local files. But the files are stored at the data center, so with WAFS, there is no data at the remote site to protect.“If WAFS becomes widely adopted, it could impact this category of services provider,” says Couture from Gartner.

The WAFS field includes Cisco, which acquired Actona for $82 million in June last year for the technology (see Cisco Acts on Actona and Cisco & EMC Close NAS Deal). Startups Constant Data Inc., DiskSites Inc., Riverbed Technology Inc., Signiant Corp., and Tacit Networks Inc. also offer WAFS.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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