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Druva acquisition of sfApex 'completes' Salesforce protection

In acquiring sfApex, Druva gains key Salesforce data protection capabilities for its overall Cloud Platform. Competition includes mostly point products.

Druva made a major push in the Salesforce data protection market by acquiring sfApex, which specializes in backup, recovery and migration in the popular SaaS platform.

The Druva acquisition, announced during the cloud data protection vendor's DxP virtual conference on Tuesday, improves on what it had offered. Druva will fold sfApex into its Cloud Platform and SaaS applications portfolio.

Jaspreet SinghJaspreet Singh

"Putting the two together gives a complete end-to-end protection of Salesforce," Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh said. "It completes our product set for Salesforce backup."

Druva's acquisition highlights the growing trend of Salesforce protection, as the CRM provider ensures availability of the application, but it's up to the customers to make sure they protect that data.

Salesforce discontinued its Data Recovery service in July, which makes that data protection even more mission-critical, according to Steven Hill, senior analyst at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"Salesforce is by far the largest player in the customer relationship management market, and as such, there are a large number of business customers who are now deeply dependent on the platform for tracking and analyzing the complex interactions of sales, customer service and other factors that directly impact business success," Hill wrote in an email.

Salesforce protection part of 'major focus'

The Druva acquisition, which closed Oct. 30, enhances backup and recovery of Salesforce data, provides protection and governance support for Salesforce sandboxes, and enables more effective management of CRM data. The features within sfApex include automated testing and developer sandbox creation with seeded data in seconds but no impact to production, and the ability to mask data to remain compliant with privacy requirements.

Putting the two together gives a complete end-to-end protection of Salesforce.
Jaspreet SinghCEO, Druva

The Druva Cloud Platform also includes support for Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Slack.

"Protecting SaaS apps is a major focus for Druva," Singh said.

Salesforce protection can be challenging, though.

"Any backups must be fully compliant with Salesforce's application platform to ensure they can be cleanly restored in the event of a major failure," Hill wrote. "Salesforce is a pure cloud SaaS platform and there is no way to host the environment locally, so backup vendors must cooperate completely with Salesforce to ensure full compatibility."

A few hundred customers were using Druva for Salesforce protection. Singh said Druva had decent backup and recovery, but lagged several important capabilities, including support for sandbox management, which sfApex excels in.

The ability to use backup data to create sandboxed instances for test/dev is important, Hill said.

Kashyap PatelKashyap Patel

Founder Kashyap Patel said that sfApex formed around a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Salesforce environment. The company created several options for Salesforce administrators to restore data, and can exclude certain objects from being backed up and restored. It also offers data anonymization, which is helpful for restoring data into sandboxes.

"We knew that we had good tech," Patel said.

Singh said Druva was an sfApex customer. The Druva acquisition brings benefits to the sfApex technology, including additional security layers and more structure around backups, Patel said.

The sfApex team will continue to operate from its Houston, Texas, headquarters. Patel will be part of Druva's product management team, working on the strategy and execution of its Salesforce offering. The rest of the sfApex employees have joined Druva's research and development or marketing teams. The companies did not provide the number of sfApex employees, and did not release financial terms of the sale.

How Druva competes in the market

Druva, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is aiming to complete the technology integration by early next year. The company will retain sfApex customers, but the goal is to move them forward into Druva's holistic platform, Singh said.

While sfApex claims hundreds of customers, Druva has about 4,000.

Singh cited OwnBackup as likely the most dominant Salesforce data protection provider in the market. Patel listed Gearset, Grax, Odaseva and Spanning as other competitive vendors. However, Singh said much of the competition specializes in Salesforce protection, while Druva offers SaaS-based data protection across data centers, cloud applications and endpoints.

"We're trying to execute a platform strategy," Singh said.

Salesforce users need "the ability to back up and restore both customer data and configuration metadata to a fully functional status, and in a way that can be easily tested and verified on a regular basis," Hill wrote. "… There is a growing interest in the ability to utilize backup and/or exported Salesforce data for third-party analytics, visualizations and evolving compliance applications."

The Druva acquisition is only a starting point for its focus on Salesforce, Singh said. For example, Druva is planning work in the areas of privacy, compliance and archives.

"We are in the market to play big," Singh said.

The acquisition is Druva's third in three years. The vendor bought CloudRanger for AWS backup and disaster recovery in 2018 and CloudLanes for its file system and cloud storage gateway in 2019.

Singh said Druva has learned from those acquisitions, for example that the senior executive team must be completely aligned in the process.

The coronavirus pandemic made this Druva acquisition challenging because there were fewer in-person meetings this year. But the pandemic has led Druva to be more aggressive in the market, given that the cloud is surging in use.

"In general, from a cloud point of view," Singh said, "the pandemic has been a wake-up call for a lot of customers."

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