This content is part of the Essential Guide: A look back at the 2014 data storage market
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Backup 2014: Acquisitions, spinoffs and cloud-to-cloud emerge

Backup 2014 included breakups as Symantec divorced itself, acquisition as EMC picked up cloud-to-cloud backup and additions as Hitachi Data Systems got into disk backup.

There are some indisputable truths in the world of backup these days: The impact of the cloud is inescapable, spinoffs and acquisitions are popular, and file sharing is unavoidable.

Those are among the noteworthy trends in backup 2014 we covered on in the past 12 months. Here's a closer look at each trend in a bit more detail.

Spinoffs: Symantec, smaller vendors go 'backup-only'

Symantec will no longer have a split personality after the security and storage software giant completes its breakup. Symantec said in October that it would split into two companies by the end of 2015 -- a decade after Symantec paid $13.5 billion for storage software vendor Veritas.

The security company will keep the Symantec name, with the backup and storage management products going into an information management company that has not yet been named. The news earned mostly positive reviews from experts, who said it made sense for their storage business to be separate from security. Symantec suffered from a lack of focus on both sides, contributing to the botched release of its Backup Exec 2012 SMB backup software application.

That wasn't the only backup software spinoff news of 2014. CA Technologies sold off its arcserve business, creating a new data protection company also known as arcserve. The spinoff will sell its Unified Data Protection to SMBs and small enterprises instead of the large enterprises that CA deals with. Also, the data protection company than spun out of Syncsort in 2013 was christened Catalogic Software in early 2014, and brought in industry veteran Ed Walsh as CEO.

Acquisitions: Hitachi, NetApp, EMC go shopping

Hitachi Data Systems moved into the backup appliance market when it acquired virtual tape library pioneer Sepaton. Sepaton has sold disk backup since 2004, and its name is "No Tapes" spelled backwards.

NetApp also moved into the disk appliance business with its $80 million acquisition of Riverbed Technology's SteelStore product line in another large 2014 deal.

Unitrends was particularly busy in 2014, with acquisitions of PHD Virtual and startup Yuruware for cloud backup. Infrascale picked up $16.3 million in funding and cloud backup appliance vendor Eversync in June.

Barracuda Networks continued its push into enterprise storage with the September acquisition of archiving vendor C2C Systems. Also that month, Axcient picked up DirectRestore for granular recovery in the cloud.

There was also a run on cloud-to-cloud backup vendors …

Cloud-to-cloud backup expands

The cloud-to-cloud backup world was a niche market dominated by startups until larger vendors acquired the two best-known cloud-to-cloud options within six weeks in late 2014.

EMC picked up Spanning in late October, and data protection service provider Datto acquired Backupify in December. Another acquisition in the cloud-to-cloud backup space occurred in June when eFolder acquired Sweden-based CloudFinder.

Cloud-to-cloud backup protects data that was created in cloud applications rather than on-premises apps. Spanning, Backupify and cloud backup software vendor Asigra are preparing to deliver cloud-to-cloud backup for Microsoft Office 365 in early 2015. All three currently protect data in and Google Apps.

Cloud backup makes strides

The developments in cloud backup extend beyond cloud-to-cloud.

Asigra, which was selling cloud backup software before anyone called it the cloud, took two steps that could reduce cost for its service provider partners. Asigra is offering a free download that runs on commodity hardware and replaces the need for expensive disk arrays as backup targets. Asigra's open source stack uses FreeBSD software and ZFS. Asigra also said it will allow its service provider partners to host backups on Amazon Web Services instead of on hardware in their own data centers. expanded its SaaS offering -- the Zetta DataProtect 4.5 -- by giving it the ability to back up complete Windows Server images to the cloud without requiring an appliance. Cloud backup pioneer Carbonite added an appliance option for the first time. The Carbonite Appliance HT10 appliance consists of 1 TB of local storage and Carbonite software and can move 500 GB into the Amazon cloud.

Endpoint backup and file sharing come together

Endpoint backup found its way into more backup products in 2014, sometimes for free and sometimes through file-sharing options.

Veeam Software and arcserve rolled out free endpoint backup options. Veeam Endpoint Backup Free protects data on laptops and desktops. It is the virtual backup specialist's first physical backup product, but is not for the enterprise.

Arcserve's free workstation backup also supports laptops and desktops and includes free deduplication for 30 days, but requires a paid license after that.

CommVault added file and folder sharing as part of a new Simpana for Endpoint Data Protection package, Code42 launched SharePlan file sync-and-share software as a complementary product to its CrashPlan endpoint backup, and Intronis added an ECHOshare file sync-and-share product that is integrated with its ECHOplatform data protection platform.

Next Steps

Cloud-to-cloud backup proves a worthy find to jeweler

The pluses and minuses of cloud backup

Dealing with the challenge of endpoint backup

Dig Deeper on Backup and recovery software

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It seems that most of the development in this area this year was on companies buying and selling each other, rather than in any technological developments. Have we come to an end in backup innovation?