How Clumio Looks to Disrupt the $10B Cloud Backup Market

As more enterprises embrace cloud-first as part of their digital transformations (DX), the reality is, much of the legacy tech infrastructure and solutions must evolve as well. SD-WAN, for example, has entered as the perfect companion to DX as it allows for flexible routing of packets based upon the rapidly changing needs of the organization.

Another technology evolving to meet the challenge of the all-cloud world is business continuity solutions.

This past November we broke the news that Clumio received $135 million for cloud data backup and recovery. Since then, TMCnet readers saw that the company attained VMware Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS Validation. In addition, they Achieved ‘Advanced Technology Partner’ Status in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network.

Clumio CEO, Poojan Kumar

The company has achieved $186 funding to date and is looking to disrupt the $10 billion market for backup and disaster recovery cloud services.

To learn more we held an exclusive interview with Clumio CEO, Poojan Kumar which we hope provides insight into the company’s goals and objectives – as well as if they are a fit for your organization’s needs.

You say you launched Clumio to build a data management platform in the cloud the right way. What changed in the market that required a new approach?

The shift from the data center to cloud and the rise of AWS, Azure and GCP.  The shift is making an entire industry of legacy backup products obsolete. You can’t take something designed for a data center, stuff it into the cloud and expect that it will be able to protect data that is dispersed across multiple accounts in multiple clouds and across hundreds of SaaS apps. The maturity of cloud services, in AWS for example, gives Clumio a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the scale, elasticity and economics of the public cloud. We are creating a service that works for modern applications, paying attention to the performance, cost, security and compliance details and delivering it in the SaaS-model that enterprises are clearly demanding.

How has your background at Nutanix, VMWare and Exadata help you with your efforts at Clumio?

Each of those experiences was about building distributed systems. We had to figure out ways to process large amounts of data, but we were always bound by the confines of the data center and the hardware within it. We learned a lot about where the bottlenecks and complexity challenges and now it’s really exciting to be able to solve for those things in a new way and in a highly scalable way leveraging the power of the public cloud.

What is the biggest driver of your growth? BCDR due to weather and related events or hackers and ransomware?

The biggest driver is the realization by enterprise customers that what worked for them in the data center isn’t going to work for them in the cloud. The last thing they want to do is drag all of the complexity of data center backup into the cloud. It’s already proven true for a lot of IT workloads where something was done on-prem with servers and software (email, data warehousing, IT service management) and it’s moving to cloud as SaaS (O365, Snowflake, ServiceNow). Backup is a great workload to move to the cloud because it involves getting a lot of data out of the data center and spending far less time on complex processes that are not core to the business. On the application side, backup can be an inhibitor to getting to cloud faster. Enterprises increasingly have SaaS-first strategies so doing backup as SaaS is a no-brainer and that is driving growth for Clumio. 

Enterprises are moving to the cloud and forgetting about the air gap they were so diligent about creating in the data center. But this is an opportunity for us too as it leads to a consultative relationship with our customers where we can work together to ensure data protection is done the right way in the public cloud.

What is the biggest pain you take away for customers?

Complexity and risk – they go hand in hand. The more complexity you have, the greater your risk profile. When you deliver backup as a service, all of the complexity of planning, capacity forecasting, over-provisioning in the anticipation of growth or just trying to deal with a depreciation cycle all go away. And risk goes down because Clumio is maniacally focused on security and compliance audits get way easier for our customers when they can easily demonstrate that data is backed up, air-gapped from the primary storage and can be recovered to multiple locations. Finally, one of the hardest things for the enterprise is just knowing where their data is, especially as it gets dispersed across multiple accounts, in multiple clouds and across many SaaS applications. We give that visibility back to the enterprise – one place for the CIO to look to see where everything is and know that the organization is appropriately protected and can meet compliance requirements.  

How do your customers calculate ROI?

Customers are most interested in hard cost savings from replacing either on-prem hardware systems and software used for backup or reduced costs realized when using a backup service in the cloud for long term retention in place of snapshots which are prohibitively expensive to retain in the cloud longer than a week or two. Soft cost savings typically include headcount re-allocated to more strategic projects, digital transformation efficiencies and reduced risk and exposure to the downside of security and compliance breakdowns. Most attractive in the SaaS model is that the enterprise just pays for what they consume – and that makes the ROI calculation much easier.

What is the biggest competitive threat to Clumio? 

The biggest threat is that enterprises are early in their cloud journeys and may haven’t yet experienced what happens when you haven’t fully thought through the data protection strategy. For example, we meet many customers that rely on snapshots for data protection. But, those snapshots are usually in the same cloud account as their primary data. So if a bad actor gets into the account, the data and the backups are compromised. In other words, enterprises are moving to the cloud and forgetting about the air gap they were so diligent about creating in the data center. But this is an opportunity for us too as it leads to a consultative relationship with our customers where we can work together to ensure data protection is done the right way in the public cloud.

How big can you grow?

IDC predicts that the data protection as a service market will reach $10B by 2022.  So we can grow big. 

You say you are building your company for the long-run, what does that mean to customers?

Obviously, for something like data protection where retention requirements can be seven years or more, customers want to know that we are playing the long game. And that’s the tremendous opportunity that Clumio has by building natively in the public cloud. We are going to be able to be much more flexible and adaptable than legacy products built for a data center. Our ability to protect multiple clouds and eventually run on multiple clouds gives customers that confidence that we will be able to stay with them for the whole of their cloud journey.  

How important are MSPs to your business?

Clumio and SaaS fit well with the objectives of the MSP. Like everyone, they are looking at what value they can best add in an all-cloud world and backup is, of course, a challenge. They see our service as something that they can easily integrate into their portfolio and we are increasingly engaged with them on opportunities.

What is next?

Clumio will continue to execute on its vision for a data management platform built natively in the public cloud. That means expanding to additional workloads beyond Vsphere, VMware on AWS and AWS EBS. We will soon announce the ability to backup a SaaS application and other AWS native services as we continue to execute against our vision to provide a globally consolidated data protection platform in the public cloud.

Why should customers work with Clumio instead of another company?

We launched Clumio to build a data management platform in the cloud the right way. Effective, economical and compliant data protection is a major cloud barrier and enterprises are going to struggle to get over it if they don’t approach the problem differently than they did in the data center. Unlike competitors who are limited by legacy architectures and a ‘lift and shift’ mindset, Clumio is the ‘born in the cloud’ SaaS alternative that scales on-demand, has predictable pricing and is simple to manage. We are redefining the enterprise backup experience for our customers.

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