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Acronis buys nScaled to step into DRaaS

Backup vendor Acronis expands its data protection portfolio by acquiring disaster as a recovery service vendor nScaled.

Acronis today acquired nScaled Inc. to supplement its backup capabilities with Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

San Francisco-based nScaled provides a hybrid cloud infrastructure for the enterprise for backup and disaster recovery, while Acronis sells backup software and hosted Backup as a Service. Acronis will add its backup technology to nScaled's DRaaS.

The nScaled platform includes Admin Console software to manage replication schedules, retention policies and capacity consumption thresholds; initiate failback and failover; and monitor recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) adherence. The software either ships on a hardware appliance or as a virtual appliance that customers can install on their hardware.

The service allows nScaled customers to spin up a virtual copy of their infrastructure in the cloud. The virtual copy functions like a physical machine to recover the applications and the data. Customers can recover either locally or in the nScaled cloud, which is hosted at three data centers.

According to a Forrester research report on DRaaS published early this year, nScaled's DR testing is among its best features. Customers can activate up to three concurrent servers on demand with no additional cost.

Rene OIdenbeuving, Acronis' general manager of cloud business, said the company intends to make its backup software available on nScaled's infrastructure in the U.S. by the end of 2014. It will extend the service to Europe and Asia in early 2015. The Acronis AnyData Engine will replace the FalconStor software that nScaled has used for backup.

"As part of what nScaled does, they need to do backup and that piece is done by a third party," OIdenbeuving said. "They currently use FalconStor, but we will replace that software. The rest of the product stays the same."

Acronis seeks a more sophisticated DRaaS

The nScaled technology will give Acronis the ability to offer a more robust data protection service, OIdenbeuving said.

"Backup as a service is limited to small data sets," he said. "As data sets get larger and you want a full recovery, it would take a day to do the recovery. [DRaaS] is much faster. It's in a matter of an hour. Acronis has a lot of customers that have one to 10 machines. For that customer set, we want a more sophisticated product."

In cloud data centers based in Dallas, Ashburn, Virginia, and London, nScaled claims to manage petabytes of storage. Its 25 employees will join Acronis, which has about 650 employees. Oldenbeuving said nearly all of nScaled's revenue comes from the U.S.

Philbert Shih, an analyst with Toronto-based Structure Research, said it would take Acronis significant time to build the DR intellectual property it has acquired from nScaled.

"There are specific capabilities unique to the disaster recovery," Shih said. "The ability to replicate and failover to another location and spin up a new system requires some advanced IP. Acronis started as a storage and backup company and wants to build a multi-faceted backup and disaster recovery platform.

"Any acquisition has its challenges, but what Acronis has going for them is they have an established platform," he added. "They are just going to snap on the capabilities they want."

Next Steps

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How important is DR testing when you're looking for a DR service?