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Quantum takes another shot at EMC Data Domain with DXi6800

Is the newest Quantum DXi backup appliance the one that will finally break EMC Data Domain's iron hold on the market?

Quantum Corp. this week launched a new midrange DXi data deduplication disk backup target that CEO Jon Gacek hopes will be the Data Domain killer Quantum has sought since it began selling its DXi platform in 2007.

Quantum lists performance numbers for the DXi6800 that surpass EMC's Data Domain midrange DD670, which has been on the market for two years. The Quantum DXi6800 scales to 156 TB, and Quantum claims it can transfer data at 16 TB per hour. That makes it around three times as fast as the Data Domain DD670 midrange system with DD Boost software, and Quantum offers the DXi6800 at a lower list price. The DXi6800 also uses 3 TB self-encrypting drives.

The DXi6800 also uses pay-as-you-go scalability that Quantum first introduced with its DXi4601 low-end system. Each shelf in a DXi6800 ships with 26 TB of usable capacity, and customers can license 13 TB or 26 TB. If they start with 13 TB, they can upgrade the license later to 26 TB.

The list price for the Quantum DXi6802 starts at $149,000 for 13 TB.

"We just crush EMC on performance," Gacek said. "And we've made it simpler to use. We have to have a better product than EMC, or else why would you buy from us? I'm happy to do a POC [proof of concept] anytime anybody wants to do one."

But Quantum has constantly improved its DXi line over the years without taking much of a bite from EMC's market share. According to IDC's latest backup appliance tracker, EMC had 67% of the backup appliance market in the third quarter of 2012. Quantum was fifth with 2.8% of the market and $18.4 million in revenue.

EMC also grew faster in the quarter, increasing 7% to Quantum's 5.2%, with third-place Symantec growing 94.4% with its new NetBackup appliances.

Quantum said during its Wednesday earnings report that it had 40.9% of revenue last quarter in disk and software, mostly from the DXi and StorNext archiving families. That was a bit down from the $42 million in the previous quarter, which was Quantum's best quarter for its disk and software products.

Quantum said it added 175 new disk customers during last quarter, the same amount of new midrange and enterprise tape customers, and Gacek claimed that DXi products had a 57% win rate in competitive deals.

"I don't think EMC is going to be able to keep a market share close to 70 percent," Gacek said. "Symantec has an improved product, so we compete with them, too."

Gacek also said data deduplication makes it easier to sway customers to switch products. "People retain data on disk between 30 days and 90 days now, so they can unplug the old box and plug in a new one because all the data has been transferred after 90 days," he said. "We can say, 'Try this, it's way faster and less money.'"

Analysts on Quantum's earnings call asked Gacek if the DXi6800 would lead to any OEM deals with storage partners. EMC sold Quantum's DXi dedupe software before buying Data Domain in 2009. Quantum has been looking for a way to replace that lost revenue. It does have an OEM deal with Fujitsu and has worked closely with NetApp -- the DXi6800 uses NetApp's E-Series storage, and NetApp resells StorNext software, but not DXi appliances.

Gacek said that there were several primary storage vendors that don't have a good disk backup product, but he will let them approach him rather than go looking for partners.

"The best thing we can do is drive a great result and have a great product," Gacek told after the earnings call. "If company X says, 'We want to kick the tires on the product,' we'll do that. If I knock on the door of everybody who doesn't have one of these products, the chance of success isn't high. In my experience, the best way to get OEM partners is to be successful in your branded products."

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