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Cloud backup trends: Datto buys Backupify, Asigra embraces AWS

Cloud backup vendors fight for top position: Datto acquires cloud-to-cloud backup, Asigra lets service providers host on AWS, and Acronis broadens partner base.

With more backups going to the cloud, backup vendors and service providers are expanding their services and options for protecting data.

Datto Inc., which sells backup and disaster recovery as a service, today acquired cloud-to-cloud backup startup Backupify Inc. Datto was the third vendor this week to make a move to broaden its data-protection-as-a-service features. Asigra Inc. said it will allow service providers who use its Cloud Backup software to host backups on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Acronis expanded its Backup as a Service with more data centers and the ability for partners to host backups using Acronis software.

Datto buys cloud-to-cloud pioneer

Datto's acquisition of Backupify comes six weeks after EMC acquired Backupify's main competitor, Spanning. Datto CEO Austin McChord said Backupify is a complementary fit because Datto does not have a product in that space and it sells to enterprises while Datto has been SMB-focused. Backupify protects data stored in Salesforce.com and Google Apps, with plans to add Microsoft Office 365 and Box.

"If you think about where the data is stored, that's changed over the last five years," McChord said. "There's a ton of data being stored as SaaS [software as a service] objects. We saw a unique opportunity to combine Backupify and Datto and protect data no matter where it lives."

Cloud-to-cloud backup protects data stored in SaaS applications so users can restore it if they accidentally delete files or a company loses data due to network or hardware failures. Backupify backs up data on Salesforce and Google Apps to AWS, and its customers restore from there if they lose files or records.

McChord said Datto will offer Backupify to its customers and support current Backupify customers, and eventually will combine it with Datto's other services. It will also host Backupify backups in Datto's 100 PB data center instead of AWS.

He said Backupify's 70 employees will join Datto, bringing its total headcount to around 420. Backupify CEO Rob May will run business development for Datto. May said becoming part of Datto should speed Backupify's development of new products.

"We considered trying to develop this technology on our own, but it made a lot more sense to merge Rob's team and their technology than to build it ourselves," McChord said.

Asigra points to AWS, prepares Office 365 backup

Asigra sells its Cloud Backup platform to service providers, who resell it as Backup as a Service subscriptions. Until now, Asigra's provider partners have hosted the backups in their own data centers or in co-location facilities. Asigra Executive Vice President Eran Farajun said many providers can save money by using AWS instead of buying or leasing their own hardware.

"It's a 'bring your own cloud' type of thing," Farajan said.

Farajan said Asigra asked its provider partners which public cloud they wanted the software vendor to support first, and AWS received the most requests, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google. He would not commit to a timeframe for supporting the other clouds.

He said hosting on AWS allows Asigra partners to work with Amazon instead of competing with it.

"There are some disconcerting discussions in the channel -- 'Holy Moly, how will we compete with Amazon?'" he said. "Smart partners are saying, 'I don't want to compete with Amazon, I want to partner with Amazon.'''

Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting, said the AWS option would probably appeal more to new service providers who don't already have their own hardware on site. Existing Asigra partners could switch over after the hardware in their data centers is fully amortized.

"This makes AWS a viable option for Asigra service providers to use inexpensive cloud servers to run their [BaaS] or [DRaaS]," Staimer said. "It lets a service provider sell and use someone else's technology and manage it all, and not be where the data is."

Farajan said Asigra will add cloud-to-cloud backup support for Microsoft Office 365 in early 2015, allowing customers to protect and recover data stored on the online service.

Asigra Cloud Backup for Microsoft Office 365 will let companies restore documents, spreadsheets, Exchange files, SharePoint workspaces and OneDrive repositories. Asigra will store Office 365 files in the same repository that it stores the customer's other data. Asigra already does cloud-to-cloud backup for Salesforce.com and Google Apps.

Asigra joins Backupify and EMC's Spanning in targeting early 2015 for their Office 365 backup products. Spanning is in beta with its Office 365 backup.

Will Acronis follow with AWS support?

Acronis built on its Backup as a Service, which launched in June, to protect servers, virtual machines and PCs in the cloud. The vendor has added data centers in Japan and Germany for customers who do not want to host their backups in the U.S., and allows service providers to host backups. Acronis said US Signal and Ingram Micro are selling backup as a service using Acronis.

John Zanni, vice president of cloud and hosting sales for Acronis, said the company may follow Asigra's move to allow backups to AWS and public clouds. "We've added the ability to point to storage that is not hosted by us," he said. "We've seen demand for using the public cloud. It's not possible today, but don't be surprised if there is an announcement soon. Our goal is to enable a backup service with our cloud, a service provider's cloud and any public cloud."

Next Steps

Backupify helps resort protect Google Apps

Asigra looks to reduce cloud backup software partner storage costs

Acronis expands its reach into cloud backup

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