Data availability an emerging channel play as backup evolves

Data availability was one of the main themes of the VeeamON Forum in London as the vendor highlighted where resellers should be looking for opportunities

Technology evolves and what was once the full stop on a solution gets overtaken by a combination of innovation and changing market forces putting pressure on those vendors that would like to be seen as leaders to continue developing their products.

The story of change is one that resonates with those operating in the backup world with things starting with saving and storing data securely, then adding replication as standard and now being able to deliver availability.

In a nutshell the concept of data availability is that backups are done on an almost continuous basis providing the user with the chance to access that information in real-time.

The technology to support the idea has been there for a while but has been lumped in with other areas in storage and it is now that the data availability segment is emerging as a product area in its own right.

The idea took centre stage at Veeam's customer and partner event in London where the vendor had Roy Illsley, principal analyst, infrastructure solutions at Ovum, on hand to explain just why the market segment should be of some interest to resellers.

He said that the market for data availability was in the region of $12bn, which included overlaps with various technologies including DR, storage and disaster recovery.

Customers were moving from backup and recovery to total data availability and there was an opportunity for the channel to talk to them about that process and provide assistance at the outset.

"Customers need a better map of managing that data. What they want is that data to be secure and available," he added "More customers are realising that their data is very valuable and has to be there. Not every organisation can afford to wait 15 minutes for the backup to restore."

"Lots of firms have not done that data mapping," he added that not all information would need to be available so firms would have to grade their data according to what could be backuped to tape and restored more slowly and what was needed in real-time.

"Understanding your data is going to be key, data is so important, but very few people do," said Illsley, who added that it was a clear opportunity for the channel to provide that help, particularly in verticals.

The data availability trend was reflecting what was happening elsewhere not only in the storage world, where flash has encouraged users to think about speed, but also in areas like business intelligence where real-time has become almost an obsession.

Ovum's research indicates that even with technologies that can accelerate data access and reduce latency there still needed to be some intelligence for users to take full advantage of those innovations.

Even though some of the public cloud providers have made storage very competitive there is still going to be price pressures and a need for users to be selective about how they look after their data.

"People think that Moore's Law states that every 18 months storage and compute become two times cheaper. The price is the same but they double so you can do more," said Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev.

Ovum's own research revealed that already price was a concern for customers, not the cost of storage as much as how much it would be to effectively manage the data.

The availability gap

According to Veeam's data centre availability report 2014 there are real efforts being made to improve the speed of access to data:

81% of enterprises are involved in modernising their data centres to improve 24/7 access and support an Always-On Business

90% of enterprises were looking to reduce downtime and guaranteeing access to data

The report found that enterprises suffer up to $10m in losses from downtime and data loss with their legacy backup software

The virtualisation storage specialist is encouraging its resellers to pick up the potential services business around data availability and Gilles Pommier, vice president channel, EMEA at Veeam, said that it was already talking to them about taking customers on a journey.

"It starts with backup, then replication and then availability. It's a journey and we have to help our partners with that journey," he said.

The vendor used its VeeamON Forum to reveal it has now gone past 30,000 partners globally, adding 1,800 just in the first quarter of this year, and in the UK had reached 2,200 resellers helped by its distributors Azlan, Arrow and Avnet.

The vendor also shared some of its Q1 UK numbers with the firm seeing a 19% year-on-year increase in bookings, a 10% increase in customers to hit the 10,737 mark and 31% net new partner growth.

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