Clumio clambers aboard SaaS backup bandwagon

Clumio, a data protection as a service startup, came out of stealth today. It is touting a cloud-native way of simplifying disaster recovery and contrasts this approach with on-premises rivals and their legacy baggage.

“It’s a huge market we are disrupting. This hasn’t been done before. It’s a hard problem to solve,” CEO Poojan Kumar told us in a telephone briefing.

Clumio was set up in 2017 and has raised $51m to date in two funding rounds. The company installed v1.0 product in the first customer sites in May 2019.

The founders are three veterans of PernixData, the developer of a hypervisor memory-based caching scheme, which Nutanix bought in August 2016. They are CEO Poojan Kumar, CTO Woon Ho Jung and engineering VP Kaustubh Patil.

Clumio co-founders. From left; Engineering VP Kaustubh Patil, CEO Poojan Kumar and
CTO Woon Ho Jung.

May the SaaS force be with you

The attraction of DPaaS, Clumio says, is based on the complexity of on-premises-based backup. These handle backup servers, software, and storage products along with replication and secondary backup storage for disaster recovery, and coverage of on-premises and public-cloud based servers. These can include bare metal, virtualized, hyperconverged and containerised servers.

Sweep it all way and run a single DPaaS service covering all the bases with central management and remove the need to provision, operate or manage your own hardware and software infrastructure.

Clumio said its service scales on demand, has predictable costs, is simpler to manage than the on-premises muddle and has policies set for security and compliance.

Cloud Data Fabric

Clumio is based on a Cloud Data Fabric hosted on Amazon S3 object storage, and backs up AWS and on-premises VMware virtual machines. No doubt it will extend coverage to Azure and Google, possibly Oracle too, and server environments beyond VMware, such as KVM.

Customers connect to clumio.com to activate the service. Payment is based on the number of protected virtual machines. Clumio says they can start backing up their first vSphere workload in less than 30 minutes. The customer deals with Clumio only.

An on-premises agent, running as a virtual appliance, selects, dedupes, compresses, and encrypts data before moving it up to AWS. The agent’s operation is controlled by an AWS-based scheduling policy. The Cloud Data Fabric holds the dedupe fingerprints and a data catalog in the AWS cloud. It also provides multi-tenant user and encryption key management.

Restoration is based on the customer running a Google-like search for backups, which looks at VM backup metadata. There is a calendar view and customers can select whole VMs or particular files, such as a financial spreadsheet, to restore.

Internally, Clumio uses just one tier of S3 storage. Shane Jackson told us: “We will add multiple tiers over time.”

Competition

Clumio sees scope for SaaS-ifying data protection (DPaaS), where it is initially focused, copy data management, analytics and log management.

Competitors such as Acronis, Cohesity, Rubrik and Veeam, are all based on on-premises software and aim to move into the cloud. Jackson said the true competition is the status quo, i.e. the current way of backing up data with on-premises software.

Blocks & Files asked Kumar if Clumio saw Druva, also based in AWS, as competition. He said: “It still fits in the previous (on-premises) category. The focus was endpoint protection. Druva is taking all that legacy and trying to pivot into this [the public cloud]”.

W. Curtis Preston, Druva’s Chief Technologist, said: “Clumio’s information is years old, and the product to which they refer is no longer available. Druva has been a cloud-native and DPaaS offering for several years. We protect datacenters running VMware, Hyper-V, Linux, Windows, SQL Server and Oracle; cloud workloads like AWS and VMC; SaaS offerings like Salesforce, Office 365, and G Suite – as well as protecting laptops and mobile devices. As to focus, most of our company’s growth in the last few years has come from datacentre, cloud, and SaaS workloads. We wish Clumio the best of luck in a space we pioneered.”

There are other cloud-based data protection suppliers, such as Carbonite. Our take is that Clumio will focus on enterprises more than the small and medium business market where Carbonite operates.

These PernixData veterans have form. That and a $51m war chest could enable Clumio to hit the ground running. Let’s see how far and how fast they go.

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