In my last blog post, we discussed Gartner backup.  We coined that term from several discussions with buyers.  What Gartner backup means is Gartner’s perspective on backup by exploring the Magic Quadrants for Backup and Recovery for Data Centers and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS.)  In this blog post, we’re going to discuss Gartner/Unitrends backup – the similarities and contrasts between the two company’s perspective on backup and DRaaS.  There’s also an emerging area of focus Gartner has called IT Resilience Orchestration (ITRO.) We touch upon that here but dedicate our next blog post to ITRO.

As I did in my last article, I’m providing three prior posts that shed light on Unitrends perspective.  In these posts, I discuss not just backup and continuity but the fundamental question of Unitrends purpose:

Reconciling Gartner Backup

Before diving into Gartner/Unitrends backup magic quadrant analysis, let’s recap reconciling Gartner backup from our last post.  We’ll do this through Gartner’s market definitions and strategic planning assumptions.  The three major differences we find are

  • The DRaaS magic quadrant calls out a focus on buyers with less than 1000 employees.  The traditional backup and recovery for data center magic quadrant list a focus on buyers with > 500 employees.
  • The DRaaS magic quadrant calls out a 200% growth in applications and a 300% growth in revenue.  The older backup and recovery for data center magic quadrant does not explicitly list market growth in its strategic assumptions, but this market typically grows at less than 10%.
  • The older backup and recovery for data center magic quadrant lists a set of opinions regarding customer usage of cloud most of which shows relatively weak growth; the DRaaS magic quadrant does not call out cloud usage since it is by nature 100% cloud.

Unitrends Backup and Continuity (Includes Disaster Recovery as a Service) Perspective

When we discuss Unitrends perspective on backup and continuity, it must be noted that we derive this from a variety of services (including Gartner of course.)  Thus there is a big overlap between perspectives of Gartner/Unitrends.

Beyond Gartner/Unitrends, we believe that in order to achieve our vision and execute our mission, we must drive something called “disruptive innovation.”

From the Harvard Business Review article “What is Disruptive Innovation?”

“Disruption” describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses. Specifically, as incumbents focus on improving their products and services for their most demanding (and usually most profitable) customers, they exceed the needs of some segments and ignore the needs of others. Entrants that prove disruptive begin by successfully targeting those overlooked segments, gaining a foothold by delivering more-suitable functionality—frequently at a lower price. Incumbents, chasing higher profitability in more-demanding segments, tend not to respond vigorously. Entrants then move upmarket, delivering the performance that incumbents’ mainstream customers require, while preserving the advantages that drove their early success. When mainstream customers start adopting the entrants’ offerings in volume, disruption has occurred.

We see this as a transition from an “old world” of backup to a “new world” of backup and continuity.

Old World

The old world is briefly characterized as

  • More vendors; more finger pointing, more management
  • More work setting up and constantly tuning
  • Limited continuity; little or no recovery assurance
  • Windows deployment malware susceptible
  • Fragmented and lower customer satisfaction; more worries

New World

The new world is very different than the old world.  It is built on a foundation of high technology, radical simplicity, and affordability.

  • One vendor; one throat to choke
  • Less work – rack, connect, and go
  • Local and cloud continuity with recovery assurance
  • More security; purpose-built hardened Linux
  • Unified and higher customer satisfaction; more confidence

A special note regarding local and cloud continuity with recovery assurance.  At the heart of this is Gartner’s IRTO (again, IT Resiliency Orchestration.)  We’ll discuss IRTO in more detail in a later post, but Gartner does a good job of defining ITRO as

ITRO automation solutions provide improved IT service availability, recovery and integrity through the automation of application workload failover and failback. They also provide improved data integrity and consistency between a primary production data center and a secondary recovery site, which may be an internally data center, a provider-managed data center or a virtual data center in a public cloud.

Reconciling Gartner/Unitrends Backup

So how do we reconcile our “new world” and the two Gartner backup magic quadrants?  Some argue that the traditional magic quadrant for backup and recovery for data centers is being supplanted by the more recent magic quadrant for DRaaS.  We don’t believe this is true.  Instead, we believe – and have seen in the market – that the most forward-looking enterprise-level data center IT professionals are beginning to work within the more traditional data center frameworks for backup and disaster recovery but are extending their capabilites with technologies such as those found in ITRO.  These IT professionals understand disruptive innovation and are seeking radically simpler and more affordable solutions than their legacy backup platforms.  In larger data centers, there’s an understanding that “all-in-one” means not that the entire data protection infrastructure will be forklifted overnight, but instead that vertically integrated “all-in-one” products will be able to significantly lower both their capex and opex spend immediately while providing a path toward greater flexiblity and adaptabilty in the agile data center.

That’s where we’re heading.  It’s not a future of “either/or” in terms of Gartner/Unitrends perspectives on backup magic quadrants.  Instead, it’s an “and” world where the best of both the data center and DRaaS come together to solve problems for large and small IT shops.

As always, would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions.