Dell has acquired backup software company AppAssure, whose technology focuses on protecting virtual, physical and cloud infrastructures.

The AppAssure acquisition will beef up Dell's storage and software strategy. Specifically, the product will roll into Dell's portfolio of Storage Area Network and Network Attached Storage solutions, based on its Fluid Data architecture.

"AppAssure's speed and ease of use are great, and the continuous backup makes recovery go really smoothly," said Dave Buzzell, CIO of Sedona Group. "Our IT environment is constantly changing, and only AppAssure has been able to keep up with it. We estimate that we can keep three years of continuous backups just due to AppAssure's true global deduplication and compression technology. That's amazing."

Protecting Applications

Testimonials like that demonstrate why AppAssure recently reported 194 percent revenue growth year-over-year in 2011 and 19 consecutive quarters of growth. Inc. Magazine ranked AppAssure as the nation's fastest-growing backup and replication software company. The company was founded in 2006.

Here's how it works: AppAssure delivers application recovery from customers' servers to their data center and their cloud. AppAssure does more than just protect data -- it also protects entire applications. AppAssure delivers backup and recovery of virtual servers, including VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer, as well as physical servers.

Traditional products were originally designed around data protection requirements for physical servers, not for the virtual servers or the cloud infrastructures that are evolving rapidly today, noted David Hill, principal of the Mesabi Group. Hill said AppAssure entered the market at the right time with the right architecture to deal with physical, virtual and cloud data protection infrastructures.

"Few if any IT vendors can provide everything that the information infrastructure demands, but every key vendor wants to make sure that it has a strong storage and storage management story," Hill said. "Dell has obviously made invigorating its storage portfolio a major strategic focus for several years, and the acquisition of AppAssure is a reaffirmation of that strategy."

Turbocharging AppAssure

Data protection is a key part of any storage portfolio, Hill said, and Dell should find it valuable to have a data protection solution like AppAssure that plays in the ever growing virtual and cloud worlds in addition to the more traditional physical data centers. What's more, he said, AppAssure will help emphasize the increased importance of data protection beyond just traditional DAS and SAN storage.

AppAssure is focused on Microsoft-based solutions, including Windows Server, Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL Server. In addition to Microsoft's Hyper-V, it also supports VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer solutions, of course. These are all strong suits in Dell's x86-centric solution set, but AppAssure does not cover all the data protection waterfront on, say, the Unix/Linux side," Hill said.

"That is why Dell plans to maintain its ongoing partnership relationships with CommVault as well as Symantec software with which many of its customers have years of familiarity and loyalty. As with its other storage-related acquisitions, Dell can use its installed customer base and broad marketing channels to turbocharge AppAssure's sales even further."