Curtis Preston over at Backup Central had a really interesting blog post yesterday: Are purpose-built VMware backup apps a good idea?  The thrust of this is that he notes that he gets asked what he thinks of virtualization-only players such as vRanger, PHD Virtual, VMPro versus the VADP-based agent for VMware of the enterprise backup Netbackup, Tivoli, CommVault, Backup Exec, and other more traditional products.

Curtis basically isn’t enamored with the virtualization-only products and notes that he believes that “any decent backup product should have all” of a set of features he calls out:

  • Heterogeneity (support for more than one platform): Curtis notes that few shops are 100% virtualized.
  • Central management (support for more than one backup server): This is required as the size of the overall IT infrastructure increases.
  • Copies (ability to create multiple copies of backup): Curtis calls out that it’s inexcusable to have to buy a third-party product to do this.
  • Config backup (metadata): An automatic method to back up the history and configuration information associated with backups.
  • Tape support (D2D2T or Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape): Curtis notes that this is important for retention and that requiring a third-party product just doesn’t cut it.

Remember when Chris Matthews during the Obama campaign back in 2008 said “I felt this thrill going up my leg” during a speech? I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest when I read what Curtis wrote. Because he just described Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ – something we began work on over a year ago and released just last week.

And what I loved – just absolutely loved – was when Curtis noted:

What’s worse, when these [VMware backup applications] shortcomings are pointed out, some of their representatives look at you like “why would you want that?”

Wow does that resonate! It’s like an army of folks with hammers believing that the entire world is a nail – just unbelievable. I don’t know what the opposite of “customer-obsessed” is – maybe “what I got is what you should want-obsessed” – but I hear and see this all the time.

Think Curtis Preston, or Unitrends, is alone in this thinking? Check out this video from Steve Duplessie of ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group.) From my perspective, he’s describing the same entire market phenomenon from a high-level perspective that Curtis is illustrating in this post.