Symantec Cloud Backup Downfall Has Competitors Circling

By Doug Barney December 09, 2013

After Symantec disclosed, rather than announced the end of life for its cloud backup service, competitors came out of the woodwork pitching alternatives and migration plans. This may seem like opportunism, but if you are a customer or partner set to lose the Symantec service, it looks far more like opportunity.

The initial impact is on partners who can only offer new contracts until January 6, though we’re not sure what service provider would sell a tool that is on borrowed time and who would buy it anyway. Existing customers, however, can serve out the terms of their agreements, which mean some can use the service till January 2015.

And despite the Backup sales shutdown looming in January, the Symantec Web site still shows it as a current and presumably viable service (we’ll try to check back on January 7!).

Whenever any service or app goes under or announces its end of life, customers recoil. Even more so when it is storage and disaster recovery we are talking about. And while customers have about a year to move to another provider, channel partners have to find a new offer by early next month. Talk about a New Year’s hangover.

Fortunately a bevy of cloud providers believe their offerings are just the antacid Symantec providers need.

Competitors Weigh In

Backup and DR provider Backup My Info!, otherwise known as BUMI, pitched the notion that Symantec Backup would stop as of this January 6th. That is only true for selling new contracts, so as far as a service provider is concerned, it really does cease to exist on that day.

But BUMI will live on. “BUMI’s Symantec Trade-Up program provides Backup customers with a complimentary backup and recovery consultation, a migration plan with best practices recommendations and two months of its BUMI There cloud backup service for free,” the company said.

The BUMI service, which proved itself during Hurricane Sandy by saving New York area clients, is powered by the well-regarded Asigra. “Cloud backup is an integral part of today’s business operations,” said Jennifer Walzer, CEO of BUMI. “In addition to receiving a highly scalable and secure cloud backup and recovery platform that leverages Asigra’s enterprise-class technology, Symantec Backup customers will appreciate our white-glove approach to customer service and support which differentiates BUMI from other solutions.”

Cloud backup provider Axcient is also offering itself as an alternative. For those partners wishing to migrate clients, Axcient is offering a migration specialist as well as:

  • “Free setup and implementation professional services package ($2,000 value)
    • Environment discovery
    • System design and best practices recommendation
    • Setup, deployment and testing assistance
    • Acceptance sign-off”

The company also believes its approach is far different from and superior to Symantec.

“Axcient is an entirely new type of cloud platform that mirrors not only a company's data, but also applications and entire IT infrastructure in the cloud. With Axcient, companies can eliminate data loss, keep critical applications up and running, and ensure employees are always productive for less than the cost of antiquated backup,” the company said.

KeepVault is making a pricing pitch, arguing that Symantec partners over two years will save some 37 percent by making the switch. Meanwhile, an “offer by enables Symantec Backup Exec.Cloud customers to apply the unused balance of their service – up to 6 months – to Zetta’s award-winning enterprise-grade cloud backup & DR service – free of charge – in addition to a 20 percent discount on an annual cloud backup contract,” the company said.

Carbonite also weighed in with this. “Current Backup customers who switch to Carbonite will receive the equivalent of their Backup subscription for free!”

And Asigra is pitching discounts. “Symantec Partners who join the Asigra Partner ecosystem before March 31, 2014 will receive a one-time special offer of 60 percent off list pricing,” the company said.

Symantec Backup Background

The fact that Symantec would stop selling its hosted backup and disaster recovery service, giving partners less than two months’ notice to make other arrangements to sell other backup services is almost unimaginable. And it puts a dark cloud over this whole area of storage, making customers and partners question the stability of cloud storage services.

This news follows that of Nirvanix which shut down with far less notice. Unlike Symantec, which is giving users a year, Nirvanix gave just weeks. Just like with Symantec, Nirvanix’ Web site after the shutdown decision acted like everything was normal. In fact, the company still called itself “the leading provider of enterprise-class cloud storage services. The company offers cloud storage solutions designed specifically for customers with expectations of extreme security, reliability and redundancy levels. Enterprise requirements are such that you can't have any scheduled or unscheduled downtime.”  

This belied the fact that customers had till the end of this past September to move their data. There was no formal announcement of the Nirvanix shutdown, as with Symantec who reached out instead to customers and partners directly with the news. In fact, the Symantec cloud backup forums make no mention of the shutdown, more than a week after it was disclosed. In what seems for the entire world a step backwards, Symantec is reportedly offering customers the option to move backup from the cloud back to the premises!

The Migration Problem

Moving gigabytes, terabytes and potentially petabytes could take an enormous amount of time when it has to move from one cloud to another, especially if moving across the public cloud. And if you are using the cloud for disaster recovery, you can be sure there’s loads of data. Fortunately for Symantec customers, time is on their side in this endeavor.

The Nirvanix Surprise

At first flush, Nirvanix seemed to be one of the larger more stable cloud storage players. It appeared to have a highly experienced executive staff, some 1,200 customers, and has raised $70 million -- including $25 million just last year.

For partners and vendors, we hope the Nirvanix and Symantec news won’t slow down the cloud backup market. According to MarketsandMarkets, the total cloud storage market is expected to reach $46.8 billion by 2018 with a CAGR of 40.2 percent. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

TechZone360 Editor at Large

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