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Seagate Launches Hybrid Cloud Data Protection As It Readies Expanded Cloud Offerings

By - Source: Seagate

Seagate's acquisition of Xryatex is a good example of how strategic acquisitions can be a boon for companies on multiple fronts. It's natural to presume that Seagate would primarily leverage the Xyratex acquisition to expand into selling full systems. However, Xyratex enables capabilities beyond just selling storage systems as Seagate transforms into a systems and solution provider.

The established OEMs weren't entirely happy when Seagate purchased Xyratex and began selling its own storage appliances in 2014, largely because it positioned Seagate as their competitor. This is an awkward arrangement when they rely on Seagate for the most critical component of their own products, and now the established cloud vendors may also have a reason to be wary.

Seagate currently offers a full suite of backup and recovery services to its customers under the EVault name, which the company indicated it will be eliminating as time progresses. The same set of services will remain, and continue to expand, under the Hybrid Cloud Data Protection naming convention. The portfolio includes numerous avenues for Seagate to provide data protection services, such as through software that installs on existing infrastructure, plug and play appliances, cloud services, and a disaster recovery service. 

Seagate's new Backup and Recovery Private Cloud is ideal for scale-out infrastructure for Managed Service Providers (MSP) and large enterprises and focuses on providing speed and high-availability features. Storage starts at 62 TB, and the service offers virtually unlimited scaling. Seagate's cloud is another area that benefits from the Xyratex acquisition.

It is a sensible approach for Seagate to build out its own cloud infrastructure due to its vertical integration with many of the hardware components required to build a robust cloud datacenter. Tom's IT Pro recently spoke with David Flesh, the Vice President of Marketing, Cloud Systems and Solutions at Seagate Technology, for more insight.

We asked if Seagate's expanding cloud infrastructure could perhaps be the underpinnings of an expanded suite of capabilities that can challenge some of the established stalwarts of the cloud provider industry, such as AWS or Azure.

"The easy answer is yes, and we will have an announcement probably later in the summer. We have the makings of a storage cloud, when you look at the fundamentals of the infrastructure all of the pieces are in place," replied Flesh.

Seagate's ability to produce its own storage systems, and the incredible advantage of producing its own underlying storage products and appliances, leads to the logical assumption that it would provide the company an easy path to quickly expand cloud services while realizing significant cost efficiencies. We asked Flesh if he feels the vertical integration grants them an advantage in the cloud race.

"Yes, we definitely have an advantage. We are making that stack of capabilities, from the fundamental disks to the enclosures, the controllers, all the way up to the applications and the agents, so we have a significant investment in capabilities and IP," he said.

Seagate is also expanding the performance of its Backup and Recovery Software. The software can be deployed onto existing infrastructure, or delivered pre-installed on a Seagate appliance. Seagate designed the software to be simple, yet offer advanced services such as dedupe, compression and military-grade encryption.

The size of the storage vaults has grown from 100s of TB to an unlimited scale, and the company also boosted performance through a series of software optimizations. Datasets expand every day, but the backup window does not, so more speed is a crucial requirement to meet SLAs. Seagate designed the software to offer a 400 percent improvement in performance, or up to 6 TB of compressed data per hour (read) on a single module, by increasing the read speed and compression functionality.

Seagate also offers its Backup and Recovery Appliances and a new Data Management Service. This data management service helps customers inventory their storage infrastructure and analyze data usage, where the data is used and accessed frequency. This helps companies to prioritize their data and diagnose their tiering options.

Seagate indicated that its transition to a systems and solution provider is to help its customers minimize cost of infrastructure, meet time to market and agility goals, do more with less, and meet compliance requirements.

The hunt for new business is also opportunistic as the storage behemoth attempts to offset the slowly declining HDD market. It is obvious that constructing a cloud is allowing them to use the new platform as a springboard for moving into other new areas and capabilities, such as becoming a full-on cloud service provider. Having ingrained HDD manufacturing capability would be a fearsome capability for a cloud provider, and it could prove to be hard to beat for competing services.

We certainly expect more announcements from Seagate in this area soon. The new software and Backup and Recovery Private Cloud will be available in the U.S. and EMEA at the end of August.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's IT Pro, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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