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Thursday 5 November 2015

Pre-mortem for almost every cloud-hosted backup provider

I was talking to a vendor who wanted me to partner with them on their cloud-hosted backup solution. I looked at their pricing, and their offerings (managed storage in the cloud, DR servers in the cloud) and then compared what they could do with Amazon. Since only Google and Microsoft can compete with Amazon's scale (and then, only just), the vendor's offerings were way out of line with market rates now.

I suggested that they had three options:

  • They could make their product work nicely with Amazon cloud (i.e. backup to S3, manage the migration to and from Glacier). A variation would be to do this with Google Nearline Storage, which is probably a better solution, even if it doesn't have the same name recognition. They will lose a lot of revenue because there used to be margin in online storage -- but there isn't any more.
  • They could migrate their entire customer base to an open source option (Bacula or BareOS). Since their customer base is going to be cannibalised anyway, they might as well make some money from the consulting effort migrating the customer somewhere else. Open source backup can still compete against cloud offerings in a couple of different ways.
  • They could become roadkill.
Fortunately, they do have other sources of revenue, so hopefully they will be able to carry on. But for other specialist cloud-backup companies? I'm not sure that they many of them have a viable future.

Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HP DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector ( He works with HP and HP partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at

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