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Nakivo adds multi-tenancy, dynamic licensing for VM backups

Nakivo adds features to its virtual machine backup application that make it easier to manage backups from multiple clients.

Virtual machine backup vendor Nakivo today made features such as multi-tenant backups and a new license distribution model generally available in its backup and replication application.

Nakivo Backup & Replication 3.9 features a new interface, the ability to isolate tenants, a self-service portal, and dynamic license allocation.

The new features have been in beta since last August. CEO Bruce Talley said Nakivo planned to release them in version 4, but pushed the cloud provider features out early in a separate release. He said Backup & Recovery 4 is scheduled for general availability around March.

Talley said Nakivo has around 1,500 customers and was profitable in 2013. He said about 30% of its customers are cloud providers, and he hopes to increase that number with the new release. Nakivo competes with Veeam Software and other virtual machine (VM) backup products, such as Dell vRanger and Unitrends' PHD Virtual.

Backup & Replication 3.9 allows customers to create isolated tenants inside of a deployment that can be managed from one dashboard, making it easier for service providers to manage backups from different tenants. The multi-tenant mode also includes a self-service portal that lets tenants manage their own backup jobs. Providers can set the portal to read-only or provide complete self-service.

The dynamic license allocation lets providers purchase a pool of licenses and move individual licenses among tenants at any time. Enterprises can also use this feature to manage licenses among business units.

"Customers tell us, 'Every time I put down another VM instance, I have to rent another VM license from VMware,'" Talley said. "We will let them distribute licenses from a single pool."

The new features are available in the Enterprise and Enterprise Cloud Provider versions of Backup & Replication. Both are priced at $599 per socket, with an extra $5 per VM per month for the cloud provider edition.

George Crump, president of analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said the new features make Nakivo a lucrative play for service providers. "This release puts them into a new market. They did more than change the licensing strategy. There are good multi-tenant features and a revamped interface to make it more usable for the provider and the actual user."

Cutter, a U.K.-based managed services firm, beta tested Nakivo Backup & Replication 3.9, and is considering using it to protect customers' data, according to Cutter Chief Solution Architect Kim Mount.

Mount said Cutter customers use a range of backup software products, including Veeam, vRanger and Symantec BackupExec. He said no customers use Nakivo now, but he expects that to change as the software matures. "We find the best tool for the specific customer requirements and go with it."

He finds the ability to restore individual files and the new multi-tenancy support helpful. Cutter does not have a need for multi-tenancy now, he said, but may add a cloud backup service that would require it.

"During the beta, I was able to construct a cloud-hosting provider-type layout that allowed me to experience the solution both from the provider and customer perspectives," Mount said. He said Nakivo's multi-tenancy "allows multiple separate entities to exist underneath a single backup infrastructure to allow cloud providers to carve up resources and share them with multiple organizations to maximize investment and density. This is all accessed from an effective Web- based management console."

Mount said he would like to see Nakivo add object-level recovery for applications as Veeam does now. "Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange and SQL Server are obvious candidates where the recovery of a single or small number of objects is preferred to that of restoring a whole system."

Talley said Exchange object recovery is due in Backup & Replication 4.0, along with block-level backup verification, which ensures backup data is identical to the source data.

Crump said Nakivo has "the basic blocking and tackling," and he expects them to add features such as instant recovery and changed block recovery to round out its application. "They don't have some of the nuanced things yet, but they probably will over time."

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