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Gartner magicians mumble, scrawl upstart's rune on disk pentacle

Actifio untimely ripped, apparently

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Duplicate file killer Actifio has been summoned by Gartner's sorcerers to appear in their magic quadrant of who's who in enterprise backup.

The storage upstart sits alongside fellow startups and new entrant Veeam and reliable old number-two external storage supplier warhorse NetApp.

Wait, NetApp? You'd think NetApp should be up in the leaders' box where we find CommVault top of the heap and EMC, IBM and Symantec all duking it out there instead. Instead it's a visionary, Gartner's wizards say: "Foundational to NetApp's data protection strategy is the ability to take numerous, space-efficient snapshots without incurring a performance penalty and thus adversely affecting users or applications."

But these aren't enough on their own, and NetApp "has a joint development activity that expands on CommVault's Simpana platform that is called SnapProtect, which is now NetApp's premier recovery solution", we're told. Also "NetApp has deep relationship with backup vendors such as Asigra, CommVault, IBM, Symantec and Syncsort to allow greater exploitation of NetApp snapshot and replication management via these backup products".

So NetApp isn't providing the upper layer of software, as it were. What about newcomer Actifio? Gartner's people sums it up like this:

Strengths

  • Actifio consolidates traditionally separate backup and DR processes into a single process and repository, with capabilities such as instant recovery and centralized global deduplication.
  • Customers have highly automated, simple GUI experiences, with configurations based on application SLAs for RPOs and RTOs, as well as multi-tenancy, self-service and role-based management functions.
  • Some customers have reported significant cost savings due to elimination of multiple competitive products and reduced storage acquisition.

Cautions

  • Gartner does not hack suppliers off by heading this section "Weaknesses."
  • Actifio is working to add more out-of-band capabilities, such as support of Unix platforms, Hyper-V, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), SAP and network-attached storage (NAS).
  • Actifio does not have a master catalog today; end-user recovery of individual files could be challenging as it requires a mount and search.
  • Actifio's tape-out capability is fairly new, leveraging open-source Amanda's catalog. Today, tape is not yet an option under its SLA policies.
Gartner EBU MQ

Gartner Enterprise Backup Magic Quadrant June 2013

Dell is a newcomer to this quadrant through its purchase of Quest Software, which was previously on the grid. Veeam is in there thanks to its good virtual server backup capabilities. For example, we're told, "it was the first virtual-machine backup solution that combined backup and replication and embeds deduplication".

What about the challengers' box? There's only HP in it, in splendid isolation, and only just, as it is a smidgin over the dividing line between challengers and niche players. The niche player box is jostling with players: CA, Asigra, Dell, EVault, Acronis, Syncsort and FalconStor.

Comparing this Gartner quadrant - which as you can see sets out who's talking the talk and walking the walk in the industry - with the DCIG virtualised server backup buyers guide could be an interesting exercise. ®

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