WysDM Software

Backup report software startup SysDM changes name

September 6, 2005

3 Min Read
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Any business would like to be known for its wisdom. Starting Tuesday, one storage software company will be known as WysDM.

New York-based startup SysDM Inc., is changing its name to WysDM Software Inc. in hopes of creating better brand recognition. WysDM is the brand name of the backup monitoring and reporting software the company has shipped since 2003 (see SysDM Analyzes Backup Reports and SysDM Announces V2.1).

Its probably no surprise the company has had trouble getting recognized. It’s funded by its founders, with no venture capitalists to bang the drum for it. It sells software in a market still in its infancy. And, as their choice of company name indicates, the startup is run by engineers rather than marketing folks.

“I can assure you we won’t be stealthy from here on out,” CEO Alan Atkinson says. “We’ve been trying to build a company, product, and installed base before we started making a lot of noise.”

Atkinson was among a group of Goldman Sachs & Co.

IT vets who started SysDM in 2001. Atkinson was Goldman’s IT VP and founded its storage and capacity management group before leaving in 2000 to join StorageNetworks, the storage service provider that crashed in 2003 (see StorageNetworks Succumbs). “I got out before it hit the ground,” says Atkinson, who left in 2001 to start SysDM with three other former Goldman techies -- COO Tim Tokarsky, CTO Jim McDonald, and VP of product development Mark Lonsdale.The startup has grown to 30 employees, mostly engineers in its London development office. The number of financial backers has not grown.

“We’ve never gone to VCs,” Atkinson says. “I certainly won’t preclude ever doing a funding round, but we never saw a need for it. We closely manage our burn. You can guess that whenever we add headcount, there’s some revenue behind it.”

WysDM has revenue from 25 customers that have purchased its software. WysDM competes with Bocada Inc., Crosswalk Inc., Illuminator Software, ServerGraph Inc., and Tek-Tools Inc. in a product category the contenders call data protection management. Their software monitors backups and creates reports to help administrators determine if there were problems during backups, what caused the problems, and how they can be fixed.

According to analyst Arun Taneja of Taneja Group, the group of startups is trying to fix a failing among major backup vendors such as Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). The new players give far more detailed reports than the backup vendors, going as far as creating service-level agreement performance summaries, and analyzing traffic levels of the hardware used to create the backups.

“This space should have been owned by the backup vendors, but they left a gap in the market, and these other guys have filled it,” Taneja says. “Backup applications tell me there was a media error or a network error, but they don't tell me what caused it, or what to do about it. You have to have a PhD to figure out what happened, what backup didn’t work, where there were media errors, and how to fix it.”Taneja says WysDM and the others are chasing Bocada -- which claims 170 customers -- for market share so far, but he estimates that no more than 2 percent of companies doing backup are using these products yet. “The market is wide open."

He also says the challengers’ products are more similar than different, which makes name recognition crucial. Atkinson says SysDM changed its name to eliminate confusion between the name of the company and the name of the product.

“We wanted to brand around the WysDM name,” he says. Why did he pick two different names in the first place? “SysDM stood for system data mining. Then WysDM was a play on that. But we’re keeping the DM part because we’re about data mining.”

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, ByswCH

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