Doyenz does DR in the cloud for SMBs

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Start-up Doyenz is growing fast by exploiting a gap in the VMware market. Many small and medium businesses (SMBs) find it too expensive and time-consuming to set up remote disaster recovery (DR) for themselves – and this is exacerbated when the environment becomes virtualised.

Doyenz’s solution, called rCloud, does the snapshots and backups into in its own cloud, from which it provides DR-as-a-service (DRaaS). Indeed, it expects this week’s new release to place it as VMware vSphere’s number 1 cloud backup and DR provider (- probably not difficult since nobody else seems yet to be doing it).

Eric Webster, Doyenz’s chief revenue officer, explained to me why the company is targeting rCloud at SMBs with around 100-500 employees. Above this, many companies would be investing in high availability and continuous data protection (CDP), and below he said it was a case of “DIY DR” at best.

For this specific group, Doyenz had identified some “must have” or desirable criteria including: ease of deployment/use, 24/7 accessibility to the DR function, low IT capital and operational costs, but low tolerance for downtime let alone data loss. I think peace of mind should be added to this list.

First and foremost Doyenz provides its own cloud – with three data centres (two in the US, one in London) – and the service itself is offered through a web portal. This way, an SMB does not have to invest in its own DR infrastructure or high IT administration and, for instance, recovery will involve just a few clicks. Failover, in the event of system failure is to another system in the cloud.

A very important feature addressing the peace of mind issue is Doyenz’s virtual lab environment. This provides the ability to do virtual DR testing in the cloud. For instance, users can check out upgrades and migrations ahead of time, validate that a recovery process is sound, or test a newly patched line of business application. Ports can also be managed on a per application basis.

In its latest release, there is a new rCloud Agent for VMware vSphere; this can be configured to interface directly with vCenter and manage virtual machines (VMs). The agent ensures that, even when a VM is moved to a new physical host by vMotion, it will continue to be backed up without interruption; the agent also allows auto-updates to the software on the fly.  

A couple of weeks ago the company announced a partnership with Symantec, whereby Symantec now offers cloud DR for its widely installed Backup Exec storage backup software – through its  50,000 partner network; this is powered by Doyenz.

Webster acknowledged that Doyenz was now faced with rapid expansion despite relying also on its own network of channel partners. In March it opened a new sales office in Boston and now has about 80 empoyees; but it is still early days in Europe with only two persons in London (probably only rising slightly this year).  

To some extent Doyenz is following in the footsteps of Veeam whose rapid growth has come through offering SMBs local backup and recovery of their VMware environments, whereas rCloud runs independently of existing local backup systems. The Doyenz vSphere agent can co-exist with Veeam Backup and Replication (which is agentless), opening up its rCloud DR capability to existing Veeam users.  rCloud has also been integrated with ConnectWise, a leading professional services automation (PSA) solution.

So what of competition? Webster pointed out that, while DRaaS is conceptually straightforward, what goes on under the covers is complex; there also needs to be the underlying cloud infrastructure. Doyenz has been focused entirely on making this one function work slickly and effectively; if this continues, it should enable rCloud to stay ahead of others who would offer direct competition until it is well-entrenched.

I enquired about Hyper-V support. Webster indicated that it was not top of Doyenz’ roadmap, with Hyper-V take-up typically within businesses even below the target size. (What does this say about Hyper-V’s business penetration so far?)