Druva Wants To Make Backup Tape History By Moving Server Backup To Cloud

Druva, which to this point has been known for data protection and backup in the cloud for PCs, laptops and mobile devices, announced a new server backup product today called Phoenix aimed at bringing this part of the backup and archival system out of the age of tapes and trucks and into the cloud.

In spite of the growing popularity of the cloud for device backup, much of the data center server backup remains on tape and this means managing the tapes, boxing them and having a truck pick them up, paying for offsite storage, then retrieving them should you need them for legal or other purposes and destroying them when required. As Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh pointed out, IT pros might be comfortable with this approach, but there has to be a more efficient and less costly way to backup the data center.

Interestingly, Singh said some customers have been asking for a server backup solution, but the company resisted up until now because they didn’t feel it was something they could do as efficiently as device backup, but that has changed with the release of Phoenix. With this product, it provides these services and surprisingly only charges for the first time the data is backed up. In other words, it doesn’t charge for any subsequent changes to the data.

What changed for Druva and allowed them to build on this model? Well, for one thing, they came up with what appears to be a nifty deduplication system that drastically reduces the size of the backup. Another factor that Druva is using Amazon Web Services and the price of storage is continually plunging. That means they can collect more data and store it for ever cheaper prices. They have Moore’s Law (or some version of it) working in their favor.

Of course, customer data continues to explode too and as we get more data from devices and sensors, this will only increase over time, but Singh believes this model can work and develop just as their core device backup products because of how they’ve designed it.

Druva is using the power of the cloud to mix the different kinds of backups that typically happen in a data center including hot, warm, cold as well as long-term archiving and providing a unified approach. You can do that in the cloud when you make the backup digital. It’s impossible when you are doing it serially on tape. What’s more, Druva is betting that they can help you retrieve the data faster if you need it.

Singh points out when you have to retrieve a tape from offsite storage, chances are we are not talking about something you need this minute, so even if in its digital equivalent it takes an hour or two to retrieve, because they are using cheaper longer-term  cloud storage, it’s still very likely going to be much faster than tape.

The product, which is available immediately, will start as a remote back office back up and then expand to the data center in the coming months. The challenge for Druva with this product will likely be pulling the tape from the cold steely fingers of stubborn IT pros used to a certain way of doing business, but just as companies and individuals have grown more comfortable having their primary device storage in the cloud, Druva is betting that IT pros will begin to get comfortable with this approach for server backup too –and the cost reduction should help them in this regard.