Inside Carbonite’s IBM i Plans For EVault
March 22, 2017 Alex Woodie
It’s been a year since Carbonite acquired the EVault business from Seagate for $14 million, and not a lot has changed, save for the addition of IBM i support in the cloud backup agent. But according to Carbonite, there are big plans underway to bolster the EVault product line, and in particular its IBM i capabilities.
Carbonite continues to develop and sell the entire line of EVault products that it acquired in December 2015 from Seagate, according to Kashan Mohammad, Carbonite’s senior product manager in charge of EVault office solutions. (The home-based products, which account for the lion’s share of Carbonite’s customers and revenues, are handled separately.)
That includes backup and recovery and DR solutions sold as software, backup and recovery and DR solutions sold as services – either directly through Carbonite or through managed service provider (MSP) business partners – and the backup and recovery and DR appliances developed and sold by EVault.
“We do have the software model, and we still have appliances, so you can back up a local copy on an appliance and then upload it to the cloud,” Mohammed tells IT Jungle. “We also offer backup recovery as a service and IBM i is part of that service as well. There are partners who have their own data centers that they can back up to or replicate to our cloud.”
Carbonite recently issued an update to the IBM i-based agent, which is based on the so-called Evault Delta Pro technology, that drives the backups performed on Power Systems servers. This gets the company up-to-speed as far as IBM i is concerned, Mohammed says.
“After the EVault acquisition, we were not supporting IBM i version 7.3. We were behind,” he says. “So we worked on that and our new agent is now supporting IBM i 7.3. We’re in the process of certifying our new agent to include some backward compatibility, and then going forward we definitely have plans to improve it in the future.”
Chief among the enhancements slated for the product is a new GUI. While the EVault product (the company continues to use the same name) offers a green-screen 5250 user interface that experienced IBM i administrators will feel comfortable using, the plan calls for delivering a Web-based user interface that looks, feels, and operates like the EVault products for Windows, Linux, and other supported platforms.
“Currently, for the Windows, Linux, and virtual agents, you manage them all in a central location,” Mohammed says. “For IBM i and AIX, today we are not there. We want to add those to that platform so our customers have a central location from where they can manage all their systems, regardless of what platform they’re using. That’s one of the investments we’re planning to do sometime this year.
Carbonite built its reputation among consumers and home PC users for providing a backup and recovery experience that is very easy to use. Consumers expect to be able to use software today without reading an instruction manual or receiving any formal training. That’s the general direction Carbonite plans to take its IBM i and AIX products, according to Mohammed.
“We are coming from company that provides extremely easy-to-use products for home users who are not technical,” he says. “So it’s an excellent user experience. People love the product. It’s easy to use, easy to manage, and there’s hardly any learning curve. So now that Carbonite is moving into the SMB [small and midsize business] space, we’re slowly bringing that same ease-of-use and ease philosophy into other products.”
While it’s a small piece of the Carbonite portfolio, the IBM i product represents a strategic element in the company’s go-to-market plans.
“IBM i is definitely a strategic product for us,” Mohammed says. “It fits into our vision of providing a high quality backup solution to SMBs. A lot of credit unions are using our [IBM i] product, so it’s definitely something we’ve been working on, and in our short-term and long-term plans.”
Carbonite further fleshed out its business resiliency portfolio earlier this year when it acquired the Double-Take line of data replication and high availability products from Vision Solutions for $65 million. That deal unchained Vision, allowing the company to focus on the core IBM i-based HA and DR products that it retained.
For now, Carbonite is focusing on selling the Double-Take HA and data replication software to Windows and Linux shops, which represents a very large chunk of the overall SMB market. Carbonite already provides DR services for IBM i shops. Would it ever consider adding HA capabilities that enable customers to keep running during disasters?
“I can’t say much if we’re going to be doing HA [for IBM i] or not,” Mohammed says. “We haven’t planned that yet. We are looking into what improvements we can make, based on the new technology that we have acquired, into our existing products.”
With that said, Mohammed emphasized that HA is not the same as DR, and stressed the critical importance of having a DR strategy, even for companies that have implemented HA.
“Usually you need both,” he says. “You need HA so that your system doesn’t go down. But if there was a malware attack one or two hours ago, if you’re not doing proper business continuity using DR, you won’t be able to recover from that because your HA systems will already have replicated the malware. That’s why organization will deploy both HA and have disaster recovery in place.”
In any event, Carbonite sounds genuinely pleased to have an entree into enterprise accounts via the EVault IBM i products. “Just like the IBM i market itself, we see a very steady clientele,” Mohammed says. “It’s a strategic product. If you’re an organization that is deploying either IBM i or AIX, we provide a very good product for that.”
For more information on Carbonite’s EVault products, see https://www.evault.com/.