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NetBackup backup as a service now available on IBM Cloud

Veritas sells NetBackup as a service through the IBM Marketplace, following the industry trend of pushing as-a-service-type offerings. But not everyone thinks it's a good idea for enterprises.

Veritas NetBackup backup as a service has been made available through IBM Marketplace, extending the backup vendor's reach to IBM Cloud customers.

With cloud backup trending, backup vendors are either packaging their software into service offerings or pushing their existing backup-as-a-service (BaaS) products into public clouds.

There has been a recent industry push for BaaS, as shown by Actifio making a software-as-a-service version of its Sky software earlier this year, Cohesity and others selling BaaS on Google Cloud and now Veritas Backup-as-a-service appearing in the IBM Marketplace.

Depending on who you ask, this trend toward BaaS is either a logical extension of the data protection market or one to be approached with caution.

Christophe Bertrand, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said this makes sense, as more enterprises are adopting hybrid infrastructure. As workloads move to the cloud, backup vendors are offering cloud-based data protection in response.

"It's not surprising. It's a trend we've been seeing from many vendors for a number of years, essentially converting [the] traditional model to as-a-service," Bertrand said. "You have a landscape that's changed from when everything was on premises. And, typically, you'd sell your licenses or an appliance. Fast-forward to today, traditional vendors have had to evolve to provide a solution that is services-friendly."

However, Naveen Chhabra, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said just because critical applications are cloud-based doesn't mean data protection needs to be cloud-based, as well.

Chhabra argued many enterprises already have on-premises backup infrastructure, along with all the tools, licenses and staff to enable them to push their workloads to the public cloud in the first place.

screenshot of Veritas NetBackup
NetBackup as a service isn't new, but its availability on IBM Marketplace is.

He has two large concerns. First, a customer who adopts another backup product in the form of BaaS must ensure the two products can talk to each other and avoid overlaps or contradicting policies. Also, he said the proposed value of using a separate backup product for cloud-based applications is not actually as high as sticking to just one.

"While there are backup solutions available on the public cloud, customers also have another backup solution on-prem. How are these two going to talk to each other? How do you ensure that the backup policies are not conflicting?" Chhabra said. "Organizations need to ensure that their investment is not yet another application which is available, but may not be adding business value."

Chhabra said there is a false equivalence being made between cloud-based apps and cloud-based protection. He hasn't seen much customer demand for BaaS, and he noted organizations cannot simply switch off their existing backup product and jump to a new, cloud-based one. He said a transition can take three to five years, and it gets more painful if the two products don't talk to each other.

While there are backup solutions available on the public cloud, customers also have another backup solution on-prem. How are these two going to talk to each other? How do you ensure that the backup policies are not conflicting?
Naveen ChhabraSenior analyst at Forrester Research

"I haven't really seen customers asking for it," Chhabra said. "I have not heard any specific target market from these vendors. What that means is that these developments are not supported by strong business plans. That's my assessment of the situation."

Chhabra said the potential market for cloud-based backup would be remote offices or SMBs with low, single-digit employee head counts, where it's not economical to put backup infrastructure on premises.

"Those are the low-hanging fruit," he said, as he pointed out that both Veritas and IBM are big players in the large enterprise space.

Still, Veritas considers NetBackup as a service the way to go.

"We absolutely see that not only cloud services, but also offerings around disaster recovery and data as a whole, as-a-service, becoming more prominent," said Barbara Spicek, vice president of global channels and alliances at Veritas, based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Veritas and IBM have had a strategic partnership for 13 years. Offering backup as a service from NetBackup in IBM Marketplace is a natural expansion, said Phil Lewis, senior director of the global technical account manager team at Veritas.

"It's just a natural evolution of the partnership. We worked very closely over the last couple of years to align our solutions within the IBM Cloud," Lewis said. "This is just the next step to ensure that all customers looking for solutions on IBM Cloud are aware NetBackup is available, as well."

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