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New Catalogic CEO: Instant recovery is the new wave

Catalogic CEO Ed Walsh says we're in a third wave of data protection, which requires instant recovery rather than slow tape or expensive disk backups.

Nine months after spinning out of Syncsort, data protection startup Catalogic Software this week spun off its original CEO Flavio Santoni and brought in Ed Walsh as his replacement.

Walsh is known in the storage industry for building up startups and selling them off to storage giants. He has been CEO of backup data deduplication pioneer Avamar (sold to EMC), server virtualization management startup Virtual Iron (sold to Oracle) and primary data compression vendor StorWize (sold to IBM).

Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Catalogic has two products for enterprises and smaller companies. Data Protection Express (DPX) integrates Catalogic's backup software with NetApp snapshot technology. ECX Enterprise Catalog takes the extra steps of cataloging tiers of NetApp snapshots running in VMware environments, manages copies and helps customers quickly find and restore files inside snapshots. spoke with Walsh about this new job and the technologies Catalogic brings to the changing backup landscape.

What brings you to Catalogic?

Ed Walsh: I love to build and grow companies, especially with disruptive technology. In this case, we have the benefit of a startup but with a legitimate business, legitimate revenue and a legitimate customer base.

Catalogic has only been independent nine months and there already is a CEO change. Was the original plan to find another CEO quickly, or is this a change in direction?

Walsh: I wouldn't call it a change in direction. In a way, this was planned from the start. Flavio was part of recruiting me.

What excites you about Catalogic's technology?

Walsh: The market for data protection is ripe for renewal, just like it was a decade ago when Avamar and Data Domain came along. What happened then was a second wave of backup designed around disk. It was better than the first wave of server backup, better than tape, but the cost of that [disk backup] got real expensive. It was disk recovery instead of tape recovery, but it still required a recovery. People built a completely redundant environment -- you backup locally, put disk in front of tape, replicate disk for recovery. It's very expensive and complex.

What will replace that?

Walsh: Now you expect everything up and running all the time. There's no backup window, no recovery window, you need to be instantly recovered. This is wave three. Everything you do needs to be instant. That's what we bring. With snapshots, you don't need disk redundancy or a replicated [deduplication] pool for the sole purpose of making tape look faster. There's a need in the world today for a different SLA for recovery. Customers don't expect to have backup or recovery windows. You don't recover. You mount a recovery and you're up and running.

How far along are we in this wave?

Walsh: I'm talking about what we're shipping today. I'm not talking about a grandiose vision, although we have one. What I'm talking about solves a big problem today. Our first use case is copy services for backup but there are others -- test/dev, analytics, disaster recovery.

Is that just a fancy description for cataloging snapshots? Isn't that what your software does today?

Walsh: We provide the management catalog, not for our own snapshots but other snapshots. We add visibility, insight and control of recovery for different purposes. We help recover data, but we also provide other copy data services.

Copy data services is a term Actifio started. Do you consider your technology similar to theirs?

Walsh: Activio is in that category. We're going about it in a slightly different way. We're not directly competitive. They go about it one way, we go about it another way. There are two separate use cases.

You're tied into NetApp arrays today. Will you expand support to other array vendors?

Walsh: We show you how to back up into a disk platform. We use NetApp in a unique way. You'll see us take the same infrastructure and use it in different ways. We also do the same thing with VMware. The combination of NetApp and VMware is great for us. You will see us go across other disk platforms and hypervisors.

We enable efficient snapshots, mountable snapshots. NetApp has all that stuff natively, but we use that creatively. All of our recoveries are instantly mounted and you're up and running. That's the disruption that I saw in this company.

Where does the cloud fit into your strategy?

Walsh: We have cloud options with both of our platforms. We show you what you have in VMware private, hybrid or public clouds. We give you space on NetApp and do copy services across private clouds, hybrid clouds or public clouds. We have service providers providing direct backup as cloud services with our software.

Next Steps

Syncsort data protection becomes Catalogic

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