Backup and disaster recovery, which includes various types of partners, is an increasingly competitive marketplace, and it’s getting more and more difficult for players to differentiate and successfully market their products and services.
Recent acquisitions, such as Autotask buying Datto and InterVision buying Bluelock, are shifting the competitive landscape. And demand for data protection continues to escalate.
Pax8’s Jennifer Bodell
Analysts, members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and other industry experts shared their views with us on what it takes to succeed in backup and disaster recovery, whether you’re a vendor, MSP or reseller.
“A successful, cutting-edge backup and disaster-recovery (BDR) provider doesn’t change at its core, but is constantly adding new features and enhancements to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing landscape of IT,” said Jennifer Bodell, Pax8‘s vice president of channel, and editorial advisory board member. “IT interruptions from power outages, cyberattacks, hardware failure and natural disasters can grind business down to a halt. But by leveraging a successful disaster-recovery solution, you are helping your customers reduce costs of downtime and ensuring they will be back up and running within minutes. For example, it is a BDR best practice to back up onsite and replicate that data off-site to a secondary location. That is why it is so essential for BDR providers to offer a cloud solution.”
The 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh
From a service provider-technology delivery standpoint, success is active engagement in the customer’s backup and recovery needs,” said Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, and editorial advisory board member.
“This means having a full breadth of managed and professional services that start with needs assessment, to architecture and infrastructure development/optimization, proactive managed services in which the MSP is engaged in monitoring activity, troubleshooting problems and anticipating future needs,” he said. “On top of that, [there’s] providing ongoing professional services to optimize the engagement and balancing costs, conducting periodic audits, conducting periodic drills to practice recovery in the event of a disaster, and capacity planning for future needs.”
The key challenge in the market is that the leaders are gaining big market share, said Josh Lupresto, Telarus’ vice president of sales engineering.
Telarus’ Josh Lupresto
“DR is so critical; if the IT professional makes a bad selection, then has an outage and can’t recover, their job could be at risk,” he said. “In that case, even if a new technology comes out, it’s going to take significant time to gain market share because those customers are not willing to be the guinea pig in the equation.”
Phil Goodwin, IDC’s research director of cloud data management and protection, said the market likely will continue to grow and “we’re not yet in a consolidation phase.”
“A really important part of it is the on-boarding process for the provider,” he said. “It’s a lot of of the upfront effort that goes into a successful disaster recovery solution. And then the second part of that is having effective testing mechanisms once applications are hosted in the recovery site. Does the provider have things like a pre-flight check to make sure that all of the components are up to date and available for a disaster recovery test? And then actually to perhaps provide simulated testing so that the DR testing is non-impactful to the organization? And the third is an actual, full-blown disaster recovery test. Where you do failover — make sure that everything’s working that should and that if a disaster does strike, any kind of failover will be successful.”
Forrester’s Jay McBain
Based on feedback from analysts, editorial advisory board members, recent news reports and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service report, we’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 backup and disaster-recovery providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success.
Click through our gallery below to see who made it and why.
Follow senior contributing editor @EdwardGately on Twitter.
Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS)
Jay McBain, principal analyst of global channels at Forrester Research, and Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board member, cites Sungard AS
among the best and most successful backup and disaster recovery providers.
Goodwin said it's "one of the big ones."
In December, Sungard AS introduced its Act with Assurance
mobile app, building on its existing AssuranceCM business-continuity software to help businesses more efficiently manage and recover from an incident.Unitrends
McBain also ranks Unitrends
among the best and most successful providers. Gartner lists it as a visionary, saying it has a "strong road map to build upon its recovery-assurance mantra with respect to both proactive security features and configuration management sprawl, knowing that customer landscapes are always changing."
Unitrends DRaaS is an integrated component of the Unitrends Forever Cloud, which provides offsite compliance, long-term retention, and automated disaster recovery. It integrates directly with on-premises backup appliances for a one-stop solution across everything backup and continuity.
Bodell and McBain said Datto
is a successful provider, and Gartner includes it among its list of DRaaS visionaries, saying it's "cost-effective and has the most DRaaS customers and the most x86 servers supported of any provider in this Magic Quadrant."
Last fall, investment firm Vista Equity announced
the acquisition of Datto, and simultaneously the merger of Datto with Autotask, the IT business management company, which Vista acquired in 2014. The companies deliver their solutions via more that 13,000 MSP and IT service provider (ITSPs) partners who deliver services to more than a half-million SMBs in 125 countries.
Goodwin cited J2 Global
as a good example of a successful provider. Its KeepItSafe online backup secures data at rest or in transit with security encryption and remote data wiping for mobile devices.
"I call disaster recovery the classic triumpher of the people, process and technology," he said. "What many organizations and some disaster-recovery providers focus on is really the technology side ... but it's really much more than that. In addition to being able to host applications, you have to give consideration to what happens under certain conditions, in other words, the process ... for effectively moving those workloads from one location to another. And the third part is the people, and that's in many cases with respect to a disaster, the IT professionals may be just as impacted as the systems are, and as a result there needs to be contingency plans for people and their availability just as there needs to be contingency plans for technology and its availability."
is cited by both McBain and Goodwin as a successful provider. The company was named among data protection leaders by Grand View Research
"It is getting more difficult to differentiate because we estimate that there are about 2,000 organizations worldwide that provide a DRaaS option on the web and that number is increasing constantly," Goodwin said. "It's a very rapidly growing marketplace, but it is becoming increasingly competitive."
Goodwin said Microsoft Azure
Site Recovery is among the best and most successful services. Gartner lists it as a DRaaS visionary, saying the "availability of ASR in every major Azure site allows clients to protect data globally. Customer satisfaction surveys showed ASR was among the highest for this Magic Quadrant with respect to how often it was considered during the selection process."
Last month, Microsoft announced
plans to integrate its Azure Stack with Azure Government later this year, allowing U.S agencies to run Microsoft's cloud services, including backup and disaster recovery, on their own private infrastructure.Sky Data Vault
Lupresto said Sky Data Vault is a successful, yet lesser known, provider. It provides disaster-recovery offerings to the MSP, VAR, data-center and agent marketplaces.
The company says it was "born out of a convergence of the industry moving services to the cloud and a demand from our customers to achieve state-of-the-art disaster recovery solutions without the traditional capital expense and overhead associated with that service."
McBain said eFolder
is among the most successful providers. Axcient
is listed as a visionary by Gartner, saying it has its "own intellectual property, including DirectRestore for granular application recovery (such as Microsoft Exchange), which came to through an acquisition in 2014. Axcient also licenses the DirectRestore technology to other companies in the data protection market."
The two companies merged
last summer, with an emphasis on accelerating the development of Axcient’s Business Recovery Cloud (BRC) product, along with a strengthened account management team focusing on the base of MSPs.
Lupresto also cited PhoenixNap as a lesser known, yet successful DRaaS provider. The company is a global IT services provider with a focus on cybersecurity and compliance readiness, and whose IaaS solutions are delivered from strategic edge locations globally.
Last summer, PhoenixNap added DoubleTake replication to its portfolio of DRaaS solutions. DoubleTake allows PhoenixNap to provide its customers with a wider array of options to meet their disaster recovery and business continuity goals.
McBain lists Bluelock
, which was just acquired by InterVision
, among successful DRaaS providers, and Gartner calls it a visionary, adding that it has "positive customer-survey responses, including from those who have recently on-boarded, especially related to the degree of partnership and trust in the solution. And SLAs capture several aspects of the services — from availability to response times to recovery times."Bob Hollander
, InterVision’s senior vice president of marketing and business development, said with Bluelock being a “category leader and market-ready,” the acquisition will provide a “great” opportunity for his company’s partners.Carbonite
McBain said Carbonite
is among the most successful providers and Gartner lists it as a niche player, adding its portfolio "as a whole is in a state of transition. For example, although now targeting the midmarket for DRaaS, 75 percent of Carbonite's current customer base is small or lower-tier midmarket companies."
Last month, Carbonite closed its acquisition
of cloud backup service provider and longtime rival Mozy
from Dell Technologies
. The deal brings two of the first cloud backup providers under one umbrella, expands Carbonite’s endpoint base and gives it a solid foothold into the business and enterprise sectors Dell EMC plays in so well.
McBain cites IBM
as a top backup and disaster recovery provider, and Gartner lists it as a DRaaS leader, saying it has a "long-standing history in disaster recovery, which it continues to improve on with new capabilities and acquisitions. The recent Sanovi acquisition is the latest example."
IBM’s Resiliency Orchestration DRaaS
solution, with replication technology by Zerto, helps organizations recover all of their virtual and physical workloads, whether running on an IBM mainframe, IBM Power AIX, IBM System I, SUN Solaris or HP-UX system, and to ensure coordinated application recovery throughout.iland
Goodwin said iland
is a top provider and Gartner calls it a DRaaS leader, adding that it "has a sustainable approach with respect to product strategy
and feature enhancements for customers. It has expertise on staff with respect to both DevOps and compliance. The result is material that is both concise and easily consumable, but not constrained due to automation capabilities."
iland provides secure cloud backup with Veeam Cloud Connect and secure DRaaS with Veeam from its global secure VMware-based cloud platform. It achieved 300 percent year-over-year growth
with Veeam offerings in 2017.
McBain and Lupresto cited TierPoint among the prominent providers, and Gartner says it's a challenger, adding that it "utilizes a wide mix of technologies to deliver on customer requirements."
"To be successful and cutting-edge in the DR space, you have to be able to compete with the more traditional premise[s]-style backup appliances that customers are used to," Lupresto said. "You’ve also got to have a compelling value prop against the leaders. The most critical for DR is of course that it work as expected and that the customer is able to pull down their files as expected and in the time frame expected."
McBain also said Recovery Point
is among the best and most successful providers, and Gartner calls it a leader, saying it's "very strong with respect to compliance and security, and rather than carve out separate enclaves, it provides enhanced Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)-level protection to all customers. Meanwhile, existing customers touted employee expertise and degree of flexibility and collaboration."
Recovery Point's clients include commercial organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 to SMBs, as well as federal, state and local governments. It delivers a comprehensive suite of cloud, resiliency and disaster-recovery offerings for heterogeneous environments ranging from mainframe to desktops.
Bodell cited Veeam
as a successful provider. Earlier this year, the company unveiled Veeam Availability Orchestrator
, the newest addition to its Availability Platform, which allows enterprises to ensure business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) compliance. Veeam has more 53,000 reseller "ProPartners" and more than 282,000 customers globally.
McBain said pricing in the backup and disaster recovery market has become "ultracompetitive (in some mature markets fully commoditized) and partner/MSP margins are suffering as vendors realign programs and incentives. One consistent complaint about traditional outsourced DR models is that they are contractually too restrictive — lengthy, complex and inflexible. Vendors are quickly changing to be more flexible and customer-centric."
Goodwin said SolarWinds MSP
is among the most successful providers. SolarWinds Remote Monitoring & Management provides a hybrid cloud backup and disaster-recovery feature aimed at quickly restoring business continuity after a disaster.
Last November, SolarWinds MSP announced
that its Backup Documents had been fully integrated into SolarWinds RMM (both cloud and on-premises versions). It delivers the ability to manage backup and recovery for all business documents — designed to prevent downtime from natural disasters, hardware failures, accidental deletions, ransomware and user error.
Platte River Networks
Walsh said Platte River Networks
is a "personal favorite, but overexposed." The MSP endured a PR nightmare by being pulled into the middle of Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal
."We are finding that DR providers tier their solutions based on recovery time objective (RTP) and recovery point objective (RP)," Lupresto said. "This is more or less the more frequent and granular the backups, the more you’d expect to pay as a customer. While this is definitely fair, if not priced right, it can price DR out of the ballpark and customers will stay with the status quo. Effective to me is that it meets those criteria and is priced fair. Second, if we understand that the two primary backup methods could be prem-to-cloud and cloud-to-cloud, the more cloud providers a DR provider can recovery to and from, the more attractive of a solution they are and the more diverse customer set they appeal to."
McBain cited Evolve IP
as a successful provider, and Gartner lists it as a visionary, saying its "service offerings are well-articulated with respect to different DRaaS types and backup options."
Evolve IP’s disaster-recovery suite protects data and allows a business to recover its environment based on how it runs and the way its infrastructure is designed. Evolve IP provides cloud solutions to more than 1,500 enterprises across the globe and to more than 210,000 users.
Bodell and McBain also cited Infrascale
among the most successful providers, and Gartner lists it as a DRaaS leader, saying "current customers touted the ease of implementation, customer support and the excellent price point.""An effective BDR solution always starts with a successful backup solution," Bodell said. "Without it, data recovery does not exist. The No. 1 reason for data loss is human error, so being able to recover within minutes – not days or weeks – will define what is classified as effective BDR solution. When analyzing BDR vendors, you may notice that some solutions look to be more expensive upfront, but over the long term, it will save you time and money because of the effectiveness and performance. For the MSP interested in a BDR solution, I would advise them to stay educated about leading disaster-recovery solutions and listen to fellow MSPs in the IT channel about what they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing about BDR vendors."