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  • Writer's pictureMatt Tyrer

Data Protection: Competitive News Makers (January 2024)

There's a lot going on in the data protection and cyber security markets - it can be hard to keep up with all the news. That's where The Competitive Corner's Newsletter comes in, to help curate and distill the most pertinent movers and shakers each month to make your job easier.

It's a new year and a lot of folks are on the move to new companies already this January 2024 with executives from Commvault changing badges. Other newsmakers this month include #Keepit, #Rubrik, #HYCU, #Superna, #Veritas, and #Backblaze. Below you'll find a breakdown of why these news items matter to you, links to the original articles, and related blogs for further research and insights.


January 2024 Competitive Headlines:

(click any headline to jump directly to the analysis)


Riccardo Di Blasio resigns as CRO of Commvault

Why it Matters?

Certainly some interesting news from Commvault - on the day they announce their upcoming Q3-FY24 earnings release and the month they post their "best quarter ever" the news also breaks that longtime CRO, Riccardo Di Blasio, is resigning from the company. Over the past 5-years, Commvault's performance has steadily improved thanks to many changes across their portfolio and GTM approaches so this comes as a bit of a surprise - and it certainly took Commvault by surprise as it was an unexpected departure. Riccardo moves on to NetApp as SVP of Sales for their largest region, North America. Commvault has yet to announce a successor.


Rubrik Security Cloud - Government achieves StateRAMP Certification

[Link to Original Article ]

Why it Matters?

Rubrik is one of the few backup solutions that have achieved StateRAMP certification (Druva is the other). For the sake of simplicity, StateRAMP is pretty similar to FedRAMP, but the program is focused on State/Local government entities vs. Federal. StateRAMP is not as strict and the process not as long, so I would expect to see more backup vendors targeting this certification.


Keepit Secures $40M in Refinancing from HSBC Innovation Banking to Boost Growth

Why it Matters?

Keepit is looking to free up some cash to invest back into their plans for expansion outside of the EU. This $40M in refinancing is intended to fuel their push in the North America where they established a presence earlier in 2023, but have yet to make significant headway (that we've seen). This latest $40M builds upon the additional $22M of debt refinancing back in 2022. These investments in growing their awareness in the market and pushing for bigger footholds outside their "home base" in Europe are a good strategy for Keepit - we'll see how well the customers and market respond.

Keepit is also OEM'd by Zerto to provide backup services for M365 and other SaaS applications.


Backblaze names David Ngo Chief Product Officer

Why it Matters?

For those keeping score, David Ngo was the former CTO for the Metallic SaaS backup solution (now part of the "Commvault Cloud"). He was also part of the original team that helped develop, build, market and launch Metallic back in 2019. Since launch he has been a driving force behind the Metallic product's ongoing development. With the elimination of Metallic as it's own brand and product back in CY23Q4, David decided to move on. Now we know where that move was -- Chief Product Officer at Backblaze.

Backblaze is most commonly known for their cloud storage platform, and is frequently used as a target for backup vendors like Veeam. However, they also have their own rudimentary SaaS backup solution (targeted at mainly SMB-Mid basic backup needs) which has been rapidly growing in adoption - contributing over 50% to their overall $100M ARR. With David's experience in SaaS it will be interesting to see where the Backblaze technology shifts in the coming quarters.


Veritas Application Mobility Service Takes Cloud Adoption Time from Months to Minutes

Why it Matters?

Leave it to Veritas to just make everything as confusing as took me about 3 reads of the article + some other research to sort out what they wanted to say here...

So, Veritas introduced their Application Mobility Service (AMS) back in October 2023 as a new feature of the ALTA Enterprise Resiliency solution (formerly Veritas Resiliency Platform or just VRP) enabling you to better automate the migration of on-prem workloads into the cloud. This feature was originally restricted to existing Veritas customers and potential Veritas InfoScale (another replication tool) customers. This announcement is simply the expansion of that AMS service to open the door to anyone to leverage the service and also new support for migration into Microsoft Azure. So now the service supports application migrations between on-prem, AWS, and Azure.

The AMS and VRP solutions are intended to provide an "easy button" for customers to move applications. Users select the application type, cloud provider, and then customize their settings for storage/compute/network resources and away they go. Migrations can be tested prior to full cutover. With there being a lot more fluidity regarding data and workloads moving between on-prem and the various clouds, this sort of service/functionality is seeing much more demand as customers seek for a more automated way to move their applications to where they need them to reside.

There's a free 60-day trial associated with this latest news.


Commvault achieves record Q3 but forecasts sequential downturn

Why it Matters?

Commvault released their financial results for FY24Q3 (ending Dec 31, 2023) and according to their PR it was one of the strongest quarters they've ever had. Now, they are attributing a lot of this success to the launch of the Commvault Cloud platform in Q3, which while the SHIFT event was well executed and received it really was more "marketecture" than actual technology. So, it will be interesting to see if this momentum carries into Q4. Commvault's continued success in it's transition to subscription licensing is evident in the substantial 31% YoY growth. The merger of Metallic under the larger Commvault umbrella wasn't just a rebrand either, it underscored many internal organizational/operational adjustments to eliminate overlap between various groups in sales, marketing, and development. These efficiencies are showcased in the impressive 21.5% operating margin figures. Guidance for Q4 was given at ~$210-214M with subscription making up at 50% of that figure, and full annual guidance was targeting ~$826-830M with a 15% YoY growth in ARR and maintaining ~25%+ growth in subscription's contribution to that total.

Summary of the numbers below:

  • Total Revenues: $216.8 million, an 11% increase year over year.

  • Subscription Revenue: $114.2 million, up 31% from the previous year.

  • Total ARR: Grew to $752 million, a 17% year-over-year increase.

  • Non-GAAP EBIT: $46.7 million, with an operating margin of 21.5%.

  • Free Cash Flow: $42.6 million, indicating robust cash generation.

  • Share Repurchases: $51.3 million worth of shares repurchased in Q3.

Despite posting their best quarter on record, the Commvault team is calling for a slightly lower revenue number in Q4 (sequentially QoQ) - though still growing year-over-year.


HYCU leverages Anthropic to revolutionize data protection through Generative AI technology

Why it Matters?

HYCU is adding GenAI into their R-Cloud "Build-your-own SaaS Backup" solution. The R-Cloud low code SDK platform is intended to help customers protect SaaS applications that do not have backup support from other vendors. So far, they have added support for over 60 different applications (still very short from their goal of over 100). The addition of Anthropic's Claude GenAI model is aimed at helping to expand that list by introducing AI-created code to build "connectors" for integration of R-Cloud with the various SaaS apps customers are looking to protect. The Claude model has been trained on HYCUs API sets and can apparently cut development time from weeks down to hours for building a new backup/restore connector.

This new AI model builds on HYCU's overall AI portfolio - they introduced R-Scout earlier this year as an AI-chatbot/assistant.


Qumulo and Superna partner to deliver real time ransomware protection

Why it Matters?

Superna and Qumulo have jointly launched the "Superna Data Security Edition" for Qumulo. Superna provides unique real-time ransomware detection capabilities as their technology resides directly on the data layer itself (vs. post-backup or ad hoc analysis). This enables Superna to very quickly detect suspicious activities and alert administrators. This new integration with Qumulo will give joint customers a new tool for defending against threats to their unstructured data.


Assured appoints Paul Dix as CFO to drive strategic growth

Why it Matters?

If the name Assured is unfamiliar to you, they are the "approved white glove" service provider for Rubrik. They build and sell white-box managed backup solutions built on the Rubrik Security Cloud (RSC) stack. They are (obviously) also Rubrik's MSP 2023 Partner of the Year and manage ~400 customer sites across 40 countries globally. That said, assured is still fairly small with estimated revenues <$10M and received a small undisclosed round of Venture funding in October 2023.

Now, they have hired a new CFO, Paul Dix, to spearhead growth - in particular within the United States (US HQ, but mainly UK based). Paul is also no stranger to the Rubrik ecosystem, in his previous role as CFO for Crisp they were acquired by Kroll in 2022. Kroll is the software IP underpinning Rubrik's granular recovery functionality within their core platform. So you can connect the dots a little here.


Commvault appoints Darren Thomson as Field Chief Technology Officer for EMEAI

Why it Matters?

While a little late to the game compared to Rubrik and Cohesity, Commvault is doubling down on their security focus via new functionality, a new Security Council, and creating new Field Security CTO roles to evangelize these. Darren Thomson joins Commvault from One Identity, and IAM company, and brings 30 years of security experience to the table. This role will cover EMEAI.


Written by Matt Tyrer. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

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