Comtrade Software has spun out its data protection technology targeting Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure environments into a new company, HYCU, and expanded its offering to include protecting data on non-Nutanix systems.
HYCU, which is both the name of the new company as well as the name of the data protection technology, on Wednesday also unveiled a couple of new executive hires aimed at expanding its channel business, said Simon Taylor, CEO of the Boston-based company.
HYCU, pronounced "haiku," is a data protection technology originally developed specifically for Nutanix environments, Taylor told CRN.
Comtrade Group, a 25-year-old company based in the Netherlands, started as an outsourced software firm developing data protection and data monitoring software sold by several other storage vendors, Taylor said. However, the company a few years ago sold the intellectual property of some monitoring technology it had developed for Citrix and Microsoft to Citrix, and decided it could also develop data protection products it could sell through its own channels.
The decision to build its own data protection offering came at about the time that Nutanix pioneered the hyper-converged infrastructure business, a move that Comtrade realized would shake up how businesses build data center infrastructure and prepare for the cloud, Taylor said.
"So we developed HYCU, the only purpose-built backup and recovery software for Nutanix environments," he said. "We now have sales to hundreds of customers in 20 countries, which we see as much a sign of Nutanix's impact on the market as our own skills."
Comtrade decided to spin out the HYCU business as a separate entity, although Comtrade retains a majority ownership, Taylor said. HYCU now has about 350 employees. Comtrade meanwhile remains focused on systems integration and outsourcing, he said.
The original version of HYCU was focused specifically on protecting data in Nutanix environments running that company's AHV hypervisor, said Subbiah Sundaram, vice president of products for the company.
With version 2, the company expanded HYCU to include VMware ESX hypervisor support, Sundaram told CRN. "Nutanix's AHV is doing well, but 60 percent of Nutanix's customer base is using ESX," he said. "Many customers have decided Nutanix is the long-term direction they want to go, but they don't want to necessarily change their hypervisor."
With version 3.0, unveiled Wednesday, HYCU now protects data that is running on all systems in the data center whether Nutanix-based or not, Sundaram said. The software is still sold via channel partners to businesses with Nutanix in their environments, but now lets partners give such customers a single data protection application for the entire data center, he said.
Also new with HYCU 3.0 is the ability to protect data in Nutanix's Acropolis File Services environments. "We're the first to provide scalable data protection for AFS," Sundaram said. "Other offerings don't scale easily."
HYCU 3.0 also includes Oracle database support, and for the first time comes service provider-ready, Sundaram said. "This makes it very attractive to service providers," he said. "We provide all the REST APIs to add the needed automation."
The most important part of the HYCU release is the fact that, with all the enhancements, it retains the look and feel and simplicity of Nutanix, Sundaram said.
"Customers can deploy the software in three minutes, learn it in four minutes, and start using it in five minutes," he said. "It's the perfect complement to Nutanix. It leverages the Nutanix platform. We take advantage of everything in the platform, and create a value unique to the Nutanix solution."
HYCU has a great data protection technology, and it's only getting better with version 3.0, said Terry Buchanan, vice president of technology and general manager at Zycom Technology, a Toronto-based solution provider and channel partner to both HYCU and Nutanix.
The new ability to protect data on both Nutanix and non-Nutanix systems is very important to Zycom's clients, Buchanan told CRN.
Zycom, as Nutanix's largest partner in Canada, has taken that vendor into multiple clients in multiple industries, but those clients never have a 100-percent Nutanix environment, he said.
"If HYCU runs on Nutanix and also backs up data on non-Nutanix equipment, that's a big advantage on the back end," he said. "This update will be of big interest to our clients."
The new Oracle support is also important, Buchanan said. "We have a lot of Oracle customers running on Nutanix," he said. "They're running all the Oracle apps. One customer alone has 26 Oracle use cases running on Nutanix."
The growth of Nutanix's share in the data center, and the growing popularity of its AHV hypervisor, means channel partners can expect more third-party technologies like HYCU to be written natively for Nutanix environments, Buchanan said.
"I don't bet on a lot of things, but I would bet a lot more software companies develop solutions for Nutanix like HYCU does," he said. "If you go back to when VMware took off like crazy, you saw a lot of people developing for the VMware platform. We're already seeing 25 percent of our customers moving to AHV, and seeing more customers approaching AHV."
Venugopal Pai, vice president of alliances and business development at San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix, told CRN that Comtrade early on worked closely with Nutanix to extend the simplicity of the Nutanix architecture to data protection.
While other vendors have adopted their technology to easily run with the Nutanix platform, HYCU was the only one written for the Nutanix platform from the start, Pai said. "We have a very broad ecosystem," he said. "But the clarity of starting fresh with Nutanix makes it easier to extend the Nutanix simplicity. And HYCU was the only one to start fresh with Nutanix."
HYCU on Wednesday also extended its executive team with two new seasoned sales and channel veterans, Taylor said.
The first is Scott Henderson, HYCU's new vice president of sales in the Americas. Henderson was until January the vice president of worldwide sales at Egnyte, and previously a vice president for North America enterprise and strategic accounts at SolarWinds.
"Henderson will really be able to drive all our Americas sales," Taylor said. "He's one of the most senior sales executives in the company and has a lot of experience in the channel."
HYCU also named Junelle Swan, formerly channel executive at Quest Software and Citrix, as its new vice president of channels. "Swan has really good relationships with the channel," Taylor said. "Channel partners tell us she brings value to the channel. And that's important to us because we're 100-percent channel."