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EMC can make cloud-to-cloud backup an enterprise play

Cloud-to-cloud backup has been a niche market, but that may change with EMC’s recent acquisition of Spanning Cloud Apps.

Spanning was among three small cloud start-ups EMC acquired Oct. 28, the day it also laid out its hybrid cloud strategy. Spanning backs up customer data in Salesforce and Google Apps to Amazon’s public cloud, so that data can be retrieved if it is lost or deleted. Next up on Spanning’s roadmap is backup for Microsoft Office 365. Spanning for 365 is set for beta late this year and general availability in 2015. EMC refers to data in those software as a service (SaaS) apps as data born in the cloud.

EMC sold Spanning through its EMC Select reseller program for nearly a year before the acquisition, and little will change in Spanning’s products and strategy in the near future, according to Spanning CEO Jeff Erramouspe. All 51 Spanning employees have been offered positions with EMC. Erramouspe will report to Russ Stockdale, vice president of EMC’s Core Technologies Division. The Spanning team remains in Austin, Texas.

“We will continue to do business as Spanning for the foreseeable future,” Erramouspe said. “That’s what we like about this deal. EMC lets companies they bring on continue to be themselves.”

Erramouspe said only a small percentage of Spanning customers have come through EMC Select, EMC began generating a lot more sales as it got closer to the acquisition.

Spanning will also be sold by EMC’s Mozy cloud backup sales team. The first place you can expect to see technical integration is with Spanning management functions becoming visible inside EMC’s Data Protection Advisor software.

Spanning claims just more than 4,000 customers worldwide, mostly SMBs. EMC will look to expand to the enterprise, especially when Spanning’s backup for Office 365 becomes available. That product will appeal to companies who are using EMC backup products for Exchange and other Microsoft applications running on-premise, but may eventually move those apps to the Microsoft cloud.

In an interview with in April, EMC backup boss Guy Churchward identified cloud-to-cloud backup as an area the vendor would move into.

“EMC realized it had a hole around the cloud in the data protection space,” Erramouspe said. “Mozy provides you with the ability to protect on-premise data by moving it into the cloud, but they didn’t have anything to address workloads moving to the clouds. If customers who protect Exchange on-premise with Avamar, NetWorker and Data Domain move those workloads to the cloud, it puts that revenue at risk. Our plan to do 365 backup plugs that hole.”

Other cloud-to-cloud backup startups include Backupify, CloudAlly and syscloud.

“EMC’s acquisition of Spanning provides validation for what we’ve known all along, that the cloud-to-cloud backup market is on fire,” Backupify CEO Rob May maintained in an emailed statement. “As companies move massive amounts of critical data to the cloud, ensuring this data is safe and secure will remain a top priority. There’s a lot more growth and innovation in the cloud-to-cloud backup market to come.”

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