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Startup targets laptop backup

Druva Software is in the process of moving headquarters from India to the U.S. with designs on conquering the laptop backup world.

Druva last week released its inSync 4.0 backup software, which the vendor claims has application-aware data deduplication designed to work at the logical block or object level. Druva founder and CEO Jaspreet Singh compares it to EMC Avamar, but built specifically for laptops (EMC added laptop support for Avamar last year).

“We’re application aware, so we understand the file format,” Singh said. “We can actually go through APIs from Microsoft to understand the PST format, and dedupe at the message level or attachment level. We can dedupe across applications and at the source.”

inSync 4.0 also has a new embedded storage engine that supports 16 TB of deduped data per server and 200 parallel connections. The product is based on the NoSQL Berkeley Database (BDB) that Druva OEMs from Oracle. BDB uses a small storage library instead of SQL optimizer layer, according to Singh, making it easier to download and install. Its new WAN optimization engine will choose the best packet size to control the amount of bandwidth uses and reduce latency, Singh says.

“There’s a lot of software for backing up servers that was modified to work with PCs, and then modified to work with laptops,” Singh said. “None were made specifically for laptops. But data backup is much more tricky than PCs. A person is either working or has the laptops switched off, so there’s no ideal time to back up a laptop.”

Is there room for another backup software player, even if it does specialize in an underserved market like laptop data protection? Singh says a few large organizations are using inSync, and he’s negotiating OEM deals with two North American partners to achieve wider distribution and product recognition. “The two issues we face are branding and pricing,” he said, an admission that inSync’s price of $55 per laptop license ($65 with support) is not cheap.

Druva recently received $5 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, and Singh said the three-year-old company will work out of the Sequoia Menlo Park, Calif. office until it sets up a U.S. headquarters. “We’re moving management and key sales people to U.S.,” he said. “We will be more-or-less a U.S. company.”

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