From its origins as a company that offered backup and data governance functionality, Druva has extended its scope and now plays in the data management space. This is interesting since it is a good example of a vendor moving beyond simply offering plumbing (the hardware and software that gets stuff stored) and moving to higher-value data management tools (all of the stuff that lets you do things with your storage or, in other words, the valuable stuff on top of what is increasingly becoming a commoditized offering.

This is particularly interesting since NetApp, one of the bigger of the legacy storage companies, has spent a few years talking this data management story. Recently, however, it seems that NetApp has decided that, for them, the most viable thing is a return to what they know well – selling hardware.

Anyway, Druva was pretty established in its traditional market but wanted more, and this is where its Data Management as a Service offering comes in. Like another storage-industry disruptor, Rubrik, Druva is differentiating itself from the traditional players – NetApp, EMC and the like. But unlike Rubrik, Druva is telling an “all software” story. Since Druva is built on top of Amazon Web Services, it doesn’t require any on-site hardware.

That lack of an on-premises focus means that Druva is well positioned to be telling a management story around SaaS applications – Office 365, Salesforce and Box are, obviously, not on-premises solutions and so there is a natural convergence with Druva’s cloud delivery model.

Druva is backing up (pun intended) last month’s announcement around native data management support for EC2 workloads (in addition to the on-premises, mobile devices and SaaS apps offerings they already had) with a single management panel that will cover all of these different offerings. The Druva Cloud Platform is something of a departure from legacy vendors who love to have a million different product offerings and are loathe to tie them all together in a single management panel for customers.

Druva is using the opportunity to claim the high ground here and, in particular, suggest that they are the first company to protect data across on-premises, mobile, SaaS, and IaaS/PaaS with a cloud-native offering.  The “cloud-native” part is an essential part of the story, as there are a lot of products that are calling themselves “cloud” that is simply running software in VMs. An easy way to look at it is that Druva suggests they’re like Office 365, while the competitors are hosted exchange – simply running software in a VM doth not a cloud make.

There are a bunch of benefits that this data management approach brings – tying together all those disparate systems and reconciling them with a common management layer is both a driver of efficiency, and a way to gain better visibility (and, hence, compliance and security) over that data. The exponential growth of the data that organizations are creating makes this problem even harder to solve. As Dave Packer, VP of product at Druva puts it:

Moving data to the cloud is not a panacea. If a company’s data management is a mess while it exists in-house, then exporting it to the cloud can introduce even more data management challenges, and the increased cost to fix these can offset any anticipated savings.

MyPOV

I like the positioning here – heck, I sat in an analyst briefing with NetApp telling the same story and liked it then. But whereas NetApp and other legacy vendors have a compelling reason to not truly deliver on this promise (like all those legacy revenue streams), Druva isn’t so encumbered and has the freedom to be a little edgier.

Even more interesting then their differentiation with the legacy players is their slightly veiled critique of Rubrik and its approach. Rubrik is, of course, the shining star in the list of new storage vendors and has raised a truckload of cash to boot. It will be interesting to watch how successful Druva is in differentiating itself from this high-caliber performer.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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