Virtual Server Backup – A Conversation with Lois Paul’s Don Jennings

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SMB Research is working with the Data Center Infrastructure Group’s Jerome Wendt to produce a Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide.

Talking to Jerome and other folks, it has become apparent that the virtual server backup area is rapidly growing and evolving, and there is a lot of resulting end-user interest (and confusion).

So DCIG and SMB Research are jumping into the breach, as it were, and working on a Buyer’s Guide that should be the best source yet of information on this market segment.

Our work on the research for this Guide continues, with publication planned for the mid-October timeframe.

 

SMB and DCIG are talking to these vendors about inclusion in the Buyer’s Guide:

Recently, we sat down (OK, in the virtual sense) with Lois Paul & PartnersDon Jennings (whose High Tech-focused column, Beyond the Hype, has also been added to my Google Reader), to talk about our work on virtual server backup software.

Lois Paul & Partners has granted me permission to reprint this column in the SMB Research Blog – but, hey, why take my word for it?  I highly recommend your paying a personal visit to Beyond the Hype.

Our conversation with Don Jennings which you can find on Lois Paul’s Beyond the Hype column here:

August 27, 2010

A Buyer’s Guide for Virtual Server Backup is Coming…
Buyer’s guide  As the Universe gets ready for VMworld in San Francisco next week, I had a chance to sit down (virtually) this week with Jerome Wendt, lead analyst & President at DCIG and Bob Eastman, managing director, Research at SMB Research, LLC to discuss their upcoming Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide.

Jerome, Bob, you both are well underway on your latest Buyer’s Guide, this time on virtual server backup software.   What are you hoping to accomplish with this Buyer’s Guide?

(Jerome) First and foremost, this DCIG Virtual Server Backup Software Buyer’s Guide is intended to survey the landscape, and to provide end-users with a clarifying look at the vendors that make up the virtual server backup software market.  This seems to be a rapidly growing, and under-covered area.  So DCIG and SMB Research believe that the Buyer’s Guide can provide a comprehensive view into the vendors that serve this segment and the features and functions that each vendor is offering.

End-users should find this Buyers Guide to be the best source available on the market for an in-depth comparative look at the features and functions of each virtual server backup software product to include which vendors have what products and what vendors’ features and functions best suit their needs.

We believe this will be the best source yet for analysis and research into this market plus virtual server backup software vendors should find this Buyer’s Guide to be an invaluable tool to help to differentiate their product, educate their prospects, and accelerate their sales cycles.

I am working closely with Miles Prescott and Bob Eastman from SMB Research, who are frankly doing much of the heavy lifting on this project, to produce a comprehensive, insightful, information-rich Buyer’s Guide.

How important will support for primary virtual server OS platforms be for this Buyer’s Guide?

(Bob) What we are hearing from end-users will define what will be “important” for this Buyer’s Guide. Support for virtual server OS platforms will be just one of many features and functions that we are looking at in our analysis.  Certainly, from an end-user standpoint, the backup software vendor’s support for “their” operating system is critical to them.  They may not care that a backup software vendor offers support for multiple other virtual OS’s although that certainly says something about the robustness of the vendor’s features and functions as a whole.

From your primary research, how many software options do you plan to look at for the Buyer’s Guide?

(Bob) We have not enumerated the number of different software options that we are looking at.  Suffice it to say that we have gone out of our way to ensure that this is a comprehensive view of the features and functions being offered for virtual server backup software.  If anything, we have erred on the high side in terms of querying some features and functions that we suspect may just be “me-too” features at this point.  We are putting a lot of work into the research side of this so that the end-result is a comprehensive view of the features and functions available in a single product.

For those interested in participating, what’s the best way to do that?

(Bob) We are very interested in hearing from any software vendor if they have a software solution offering for virtual server backup.  We have decided to focus on software-only solutions in this Buyer’s Guide with the intent to cover backup appliances in a separate forthcoming Buyer’s Guide.  However the dividing line here is not always as clear as one might think.

The best way to participate is to contact Jerome at either (402) 884-9594 or jerome.wendt@dciginc.com or myself or Miles Prescott at SMB Research at (781) 904-0408. It’s also worth checking with the marketing and sales folks in your company as they may have already been contacted by us.  The cutoff date to participate is September 8.

Do you plan on making recommendations on backup software packages as part of the Buyer’s Guide?

(Bob) Yes, we will be making recommendations which will include scoring and ranking all of the products in the guide. It would not be a full-fledged, certifiable guide unless we arrived at these conclusions as we consider that to be one of our obligations for end-users and vendors alike – to make some sense of what we are observing for features and functions offered by the vendors and to make some recommendations for end-users.

In some sense, you could think of this as the “Consumers Report™” of virtual server backup software.  So it is not just a case of looking to see who has the most features and functions. Rather, looking at the features and functions in total, and seeing how well each vendor supports and implements which features and functions that are important to end-users.

Although each end-user’s needs may be a bit different, we anticipate being able to make some very good recommendations about what features and functions, and what vendors, are most suitable for different types and levels of end-users.

There seem to be many ways to solve the VMware backup problem, a few of which are agent-based backup, image-based backup and serverless backup. Do you think we’ll see any surprises from the results of the research and vendor participation in the Buyer’s Guide?

(Bob) I’ve worked in the analyst industry for the past 13+ years while Jerome worked his way through the ranks as an end-user but both of us have learned to assume nothing and we are constantly surprised by what our research turns up.  So yes, I certainly do anticipate seeing some surprises.

(Jerome) This is an area where there seems to be a lot of change and evolution with how people are doing things, and it will just be interesting to see how the vendors are responding to this in their solution offerings.  We are asking the vendors to provide us with some information on their various backup technical approaches. So we anticipate being able to provide some insight on how the various approaches to backup are shaking out.

What other Buyer’s Guides can we expect to see in the future?

(Jerome) DCIG has already talked on its website about Buyer’s Guides for eDiscovery software, Midrange Array Replication Software, and Small Business Storage Arrays, so DCIG has these and others under way.  DCIG’s goal is to produce one of these a month by 2012 if not sooner.

Disclaimer:  Neither DCIG or SMB Research are clients of Lois Paul & Partners.  I’ve known Jerome for many years and we’ve shared numerous conversations over time about the storage industry.

Comments

  1. Don Jennings says:

    Bob – Thanks for the mention. It’s great to see you have so many companies involved in the Buyer’s Guide. I am sure it will be a successful endeavor and useful resource for the industry, and most importantly end uers evaluating options available. Keep up the great work!

    -Don J.

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