Quest Plans $55M Acquisition Of Data Protection Vendor BakBone

Systems management software developer Quest Software said Tuesday it plans to buy BakBone Software, a developer of data protection storage software, for about $55 million.

Quest, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based developer of software for managing applications, databases, Windows infrastructure and virtualized environments, will get a full range of data protection software from San Diego-based BakBone.

BakBone's products include software that offers real-time continuous data protection, deduplication, replication, backup and recovery in heterogeneous environments.

Once the deal closes early next year, BakBone will be the twenty-second acquisition for Quest since 1998.

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Quest currently offers data protection software, said Carl Eberling, general manager and vice president of the company's virtualization and monitoring business management group. However, its technology is aimed at protecting specific applications such as Active Directory, SharePoint, and SQL Server, as well as virtual environments via its vRanger offering.

However, Eberling said, Quest's customers are also looking for an easy-to-use data protection application that provides a complete solution beyond the point products Quest currently offers.

"If we wanted to, we could take the time to develop such an application," he said. "Or we could OEM it. Or we could look outside the company to take our $100 million business to the next level."

BakBone not only provides the data protection technology to meet Quest's customers' needs, it also was a good fit as an acquisition target, Eberling said. "It's a great company, but seemed to be underfunded," he said. "It's a relatively small player in a big player game, and its technology compares to companies like Symantec or CommVault."

Not everyone would agree that BakBone is bringing top-notch technology to Quest.

One long-term current BakBone solution provider, who declined to be identified, said his company has installed and pulled out BakBone software in several accounts because of problems with the technology.

That solution provider said his company partnered with BakBone for years, and still sells the technology. He said that BakBone's software traditionally has been a great fit for SMB customers, but over the years became an "over-promised" in terms of capabilities.

Eberling was not phased by the criticism, but instead invited that solution provider to give him a call. "That's a gentleman I hope to woo with our plans," he said.

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Quest consistently spends about 20 percent of its revenue on research and development, and plans to continue doing so after the BakBone acquisition closes. "It's in the DNA of our company," he said.

Quest did extensive due diligence before unveiling the proposed acquisition, and Eberling said BakBone will bring his company not only people who developed BakBone's technology, but who are passionate about it.

He is also aware that BakBone might have irked partners in the past with its sales strategy.

"I know [BakBone] at one time decided to go direct," he said. "That might have alienated some partners."

BakBone brings Quest about 600 partners, while Quest's current main backup product, vRanger, has about 2,400 partners. Eberling said Quest will be looking at how to bring the two channels and product lines together over the next 90 days.

"By the time the deal closes, we expect to have a great promise to meet with our roadmap," he said. "And when we make a promise, we keep it."