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Hello Blackbird

SNS Europe talks to Druva Co-founder and CEO, Jaspreet Singh about the company’s fresh approach to the data protection market, with particular focus on laptop backup  and what is thought to be the industry’s first App-Aware Deduplication engine.


Date: 1 Sep 2010

SNS: In today’s competitive storage networking landscape, how would you position Druva right now – in general terms?

JS: Druva provides simple and innovative data protection solutions for enterprises. The nature of corporate data has changed over the past decade from centralized and secure to diverse and dispersed. With data doubling every 18 months—and much of that data residing only on corporate laptops the need for a fresh approach to data protection for these ‘mobile workforces’ has never been more critical. 

Consider the following statistics:

  • 28% of all corporate data resides exclusively on its laptops
  • 17% of those laptops lose data that can’t be recovered
  • Only 35% of all enterprises have a laptop backup solution in place.

Druva meets the needs of this expanding market with innovative and simple-to-use solutions.

SNS: More specifically, how do you see Druva’s strategy fitting in a crowded backup/ dedupe landscape?

JS: Existing backup software solutions were initially designed for tapes and mainframes. Expensive and complex to use, they can’t scale down to meet the needs of smaller servers, virtual environments and mobile laptop users. 

Druva will deliver a product for each of these underserved and rapidly changing markets, ones that will adapt to the ever changing landscape of the IT datacenter.

Our first product—launched in 2008 was inSync, an on-premise laptop backup solution for enterprises. Designed exclusively for laptops, it uniquely combines app-aware deduplication and CDP, delivering the industry’s best RTO and RPO.

InSync also features a powerful built-in WAN Optimization engine called “Octopus”, which automatically adjusts the backup performance according to the available network (Ethernet / Wifi / VPN or 3G card).

Druva products are extraordinarily simple to install and manage. Druva inSync (laptop backup solution) is about 40 MB in size and takes just 20 minutes to setup (compared to a product such as Backup Exec which is 3GB in size and takes about 1-2 days to setup).

Druva inSync has been an instant success, with a wide range of major customers—including NASA, Emerson, Xerox, Slumberger, Capita, Metlife, Louis Vuitton, and Amway—standardizing on our solution.

SNS: And what advantages does Druva bring to the backup/dedupe space, bearing in mind the company’s background to date?

JS: Druva products are all based on ‘Blackbird’, the industry’s first “App-Aware Deduplication” engine. Named after the Lockheed stealth SR71 aircraft, the “Blackbird” engine is massively scalable and yet very light-weight.

App-aware deduplication uses application APIs to understand the on-disk structure of application data and deduplicates at logical block or object level.

This approach guarantees 100% data deduplication accuracy.

The storage engine supports app-aware dedupe, long-term archiving and instant search. Druva will soon be adding replication as well. All Druva products will use the same software core. InSync v4 has just been released with the  “Blackbird” engine.

SNS: And are there any ‘missing’ areas that the company plans to address to increase its presence in the backup/dedupe space and/or general storage networking market, moving forward?

JS: Our initial focus has been on the underserved ‘laptop backup market’, where we believe our innovative products will make us a major player in the years to come.  

Moving forward, there are more underserved areas like replication and disaster recovery, remote office backup, etc. which Druva will be targeting with its upcoming product offerings.

Customers currently perceive that solutions to these problems don’t exist or are very complex to implement.  We would like to dispel this myth.

SNS: Please could you provide a brief overview of the company’s business strategy/ objectives moving forward?

JS: Within the next 18 months, Druva plans to be a significant player in Laptop Backup. The Enterprise Laptop Backup market is about $250M annually, and we aim to capture at least 25-30% in the next 2 years. We also plan to establish ourselves in other areas of backup/dedupe. Announcements in these areas will be made very soon.

SNS: Specifically, how can Druva help customers address key pain points/ hot topics, such as:

  • Virtualisation
  • The Cloud
  • Convergence
  • Data Management
  • Tiering/Lifecycle management
  • Energy efficiency

Druva’s approach towards Global data deduplication saves energy, hence long term data retention and tearing. 

SNS: Is Druva ‘just’ another backup/dedupe company, or is it evolving into other technology areas that are key to the storage networking space?

JS: As mentioned above, Druva is initially focusing on key underserviced problem areas like laptop backups and sees massive opportunities there.  Our plan is to dominate this market by delivering products that shatter the myth that backup software has to be complex to implement and manage.  Once we accomplish this goal, we will turn our attention to other equally underserved parts of the enterprise.

SNS: What new products/ technologies have been announced recently by Druva, and what benefits to they bring to end users?

JS: We recently launched Blackbird, the industry’s first “App-Aware” data deduplication engine and will soon be making more technology announcements.

SNS: Please could you provide details of the technology that underpins Druva’s products – ie Sub-file Level De-dupe and Variable-Length Data Segments)

Both of the above-mentioned technologies are old and ineffective approaches for data deduplication.

Druva uses a much more advanced “application aware” deduplication, which breaks the data into “logical extents”. This is extremely useful when dealing with complex applications like Outlook PST files and MS exchange.

Both of these applications, write data in fixed block sizes but insert header, footer and some indexing information each block. This makes it difficult for a block/segment based deduplication algorithm to deduplicate data.

The App-Aware approach uses the application APIs to interpret the data just the way it was written and deduplicates it at the “object” level. For example, we understand all the 87 types of messages available in a PST file to deduplicate every message, attachment, and calendar invite with 100% accuracy.

SNS: And can we expect any more technology announcements this year?

JS: Yes, something completely game-changing can be expected by the end of this year. Can’t give more details.

SNS: The acquisition ‘season’ seems to be firmly upon us, can we expect to see Druva making any acquisitions – or will growth be organic?

JS: Yes, we are evaluating acquiring a small stealth-mode startup. We can’t give more details at this stage. This acquisition would be to acquire key talent and product expertise.

SNS: Geographically, has Druva any plans for expansion, or is its reach all that could be hoped for?

JS: Our existing offices in India, the US and UK have resulted in sales in over 28 countries.. We plan to expand our sales operations into southern Europe and southeast Asia in the near future.

SNS: Similarly, is Druva competing, and succeeding, in all the significant industry sectors, or are there areas that can be grown?

JS: Virtually every industry and vertical today has diversified and mobilized its IT operation, with laptops being the primary device.  As such, all of them are targets for the Druva solution.  We can provide case studies or success stories for you, depending on the market segment you’re interested in.

SNS: Can you provide details of the various alliances Druva has right now – and what each of these bring to the data centre market?

JS: We have an OEM contract with Microsoft and Oracle. We have also launched a managed cloud offering in Sweden. We can’t reveal more at this stage because of NDA clauses.

SNS: Could you provide brief details of a couple of recent customer successes that illustrate how Druva is helping end users in the ‘real’ world?!

JS: Capita has over 30,000 employees across the globe. With their data centre in Kent, they planned to centrally backup data user data over VPN/WAN. They purchased Veritas NetBackup but could not make it work for remote backups. They evaluated multiple players, and finally closed on Druva inSync to support their over 10,000 laptops. Xerox and Slumberger are also using the software for their multiple offices in EMEA to backup local and remote users.

SNS: Please provide details of Druva’s go to market strategy within EMEA, with special reference to the Channel.

JS: We are focused on building a strong channel presence in EMEA. We strongly believe that the product uniqueness, simplicity and excellent support infrastructure will help us gain early and broad success in the channels.

As with all relatively new and innovative solutions coming to market, the best way to see if a product does what we say it does is to tell your readers to try it for themselves. It’s fast and easy to download!


Tags: Deduplication, Cloud Storage, Data Centres

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