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Feb 14 2016

HPE snatches up one of the last remaining small backup companies

There have been a number of small backup companies that were formed years ago to fill the data protection void that was created by virtualization. Over the years many of these companies have been snatched up by larger companies and now one of the last remaining small companies has been bought out. Trilead, the creators of a popular free tool, VM Explorer was recently purchased by Hewlett Packard  Enterprise for an undisclosed amount. Before I go into that let’s take a look at the original players in that SMB backup space and look at where they are at now.

  • Vizioncore vRanger – Founded in 2002 and one of the original big 3 SMB backup products for virtualization, they were acquired by Quest Software in 2008 and then by Dell in 2012.
  • PHD Virtual – Founded in 2005 and another of the original big 3 SMB backup products, they were acquired by Unitrends in 2013.
  • Veeam Backup & Replication – Founded in 2006 and the last member of the big 3 SMB backup products, Veeam was the most successful and has grown so large they rival the big players like Symantec.
  • AppAssure – Founded in 2006 and acquired by Dell in 2012.
  • vSphere Data Protection – VMware’s foray into data protection, started life as vSphere Data Recovery (VDR) in 2009 and was a pretty limited and basic solution. VMware killed it off and replaced it with vSphere Data Protection (VDP) in 2012, VDP is based on EMC Avamar technology to provide a more robust and mature solution then VDR.

And that leaves us with Trilead which was founded in 2007, their VM Explorer product allowed you to do VM file management as well as backup and recovery of VMs. Their product started out fairly basic but has evolved a bit over the years and is very affordable (Pro Edition $790/Enterprise Edition $1460). The licensing cost is per site for use with unlimited hosts and virtual machines. They also offer a limited free edition that has been very popular. Their latest version 6.0 release added automatic backup testing, cloud backup, a new web interface as well as support for Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0.

So why did HPE snatch them up when they already have a backup product in-house, Data Protector. That surprised me at first, but when I thought about it for a while it made sense. while Data Protector is a enterprise level, very robust and highly scalable backup product, it’s a bit too complex and costly for the low-end SMB market. So it seems like rather than trying to bring Data Protector down to the low end they opted to purchase a product that is already there.

As far as I know Trilead was one of the smallest players in the SMB backup space so I’m sure the move was more about getting the Trilead intellectual property than it is about getting their customer base. It will be interesting to see what HPE does with it, I imagine at some point they will roll it into the Data Protector family name. The product should definitely get a development boost which will be good for current customers but I rather doubt that they will keep the price as cheap as it is today. The official word from HPE is below:

Important!

As part of our strategic focus and investment in virtualization, HPE has acquired Trilead, a next-generation provider of VM backup software that supports both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Trilead provides HPE with a virtualized environment backup platform that is highly complementary with HPE’s Data Protector suite. HPE customers can expect the same level of service and support with the enhanced capabilities that Trilead’s technology brings to our portfolio.
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