Arcserve left headless as CEO Mike Crest splits for pastures greener

New boss, whoever they are, has big ol' boots to fill

Analysis Arcserve CEO Mike Crest has abruptly left the three-year-old CA Technologies spinout, leaving board chairman Dave Hansen holding the reins while the search for a new chief exec starts.

Arcserve wants us to know Crest left on his own terms and is pursuing another growth opportunity, similar to when he led Arcserve's split from CA Technologies in 2014 and helped grow it into the successful data protection organisation it is today. He officially leaves on September 8.

Hansen described Crest as "a tremendous asset in laying the foundation for our robust future, and we understand his decision to pursue another growth opportunity".

Crest said: "It has been an enormous privilege to have led Arcserve during an important period of transformation, essentially growing from a startup into a major player in the backup and recovery market. The company is founded on the principles of empowering businesses through the best backup and availability technology, and it will undoubtedly enjoy continued success."

All sweetness and light then? We think not. Crest's sudden departure leaves Arcserve headless and with weakened momentum.

This long-term CA executive took Arcserve into private equity-owned independence and set about growing the business, based on its flagship Unified Data Protection (UDP) hybrid on-premises/public cloud system suite. Some highlights have been:

  • Sales in 2016:
    • UDP 7000 seeing 4,900 per cent sales increase year-over-year
    • 61 per cent increase in UDP product sales
    • 41 per cent increase in general overall new sales
    • Increased its share of the data centre backup and recovery market 28.3 per cent year-on-year, compared to general industry growth of 5.5 per cent
  • Sales in 2017:
    • Arcserve grew at 15 per cent year-over-year, more than double the pace of the market
    • Flagship Arcserve UDP suite up 28 per cent year-over-year
    • 68 per cent of Arcserve sales were from net new customers
  • Buying email archiving startup FastArchiver in April 2017
  • Buying cloud disaster recovery/backup-as-a-service supplier Zetta in July 2017

+Comment

It appears Arcserve growth in 2017 slowed compared to 2016. That isn't surprising as the data protection market is mature and dominated by big beasts such as Dell EMC, Veeam and Veritas, along with Commvault, Acronis and many others. The opportunities to disrupt the market lie in treating the protected data as a resource for other data management activities such as copy data management and feeding data to secondary storage applications for test and dev, analytics, archiving, and so on – witness Rubrik and others.

Meanwhile, the dominant data protection suppliers are generally fast reactors and leave few significant product gaps for competitors to fill. Arcserve has found one and is looking to provide affordable data protection as a service, but we can be sure others will follow it there.

This means Arcserve's opportunity for significant, outpace-the-market growth may be somewhat limited. Having shown what he can do to spark new life into a somnolent old canine with Arcserve, Crest will now, we suppose, be eager to see, and show, what he can do with an aggressive young puppy.

And Arcserve's incoming CEO, when found, will need to continue to pump anti-aging serum into Arcserve and show that this old dog can continue learning new tricks. ®


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