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N2WS expands AWS backup service with OnTap and HANA targets

N2WS adds to its AWS backup capabilities in the latest 4.1 update with support for NetApp OnTap and SAP HANA workloads, along with a handful of new features.

N2W Software has added new capabilities of its flagship N2WS Backup and Recovery software with version 4.1, adding support for Amazon FSx for NetApp OnTap and SAP HANA, among other improvements.

The latest release also further enhances customers' ability to protect and back up Microsoft Azure workloads through the same console they use to protect their AWS workloads. New Azure capabilities include cross-region disaster recovery for Azure VMs and disks, as well as data protection policies for Azure SQL databases.

N2W Software, or N2WS, was acquired and quickly sold by Veeam Software several years ago reportedly due to U.S. government concerns, an N2WS customer. But the company's future remains bright, said Ezra Charm, vice president of marketing for N2WS.

"You're going to get knocked down and you have to bounce back," Charm said. "In the past few years, we've stayed focused on our mission. We don't need to get acquired. We don't need venture capital funding."

Corporate independence

N2WS was founded in 2012 as a backup and recovery vendor for AWS data. It released its first backup and recovery software product in 2013, selling it through the AWS marketplace. The company was acquired in 2018 by Veeam, which then turned around and sold it back to N2WS co-founders Ohad Kritz and Uri Wolloch in 2019.

Acquisition separations of this sort aren't uncommon, said Naveen Chhabra, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

"The tech industry is full of stories where the acquisition goes through with a much higher expectation of what the merged companies can actually do, but it doesn't turn out [that way]," Chhabra said.

Both Veeam and N2WS have pursued government customers in their own ways. Veeam has continued building out its Veeam Government Solutions product while N2WS recently attained the AWS Government Software Competency designation from the hyperscaler.

Veeam's attempted acquisition mirrors a similar move by Druva, which acquired CloudRanger in 2018 for its native AWS data protection technology, Chhabra said.

N2WS has a headcount of 65 employees worldwide and 3,000 customers since the separation, according to Charm. The company's software currently protects more than 40 PB of archives.

Backup without the SaaS

N2WS Backup and Recovery 4.1 adds support for immutability on backups stored in Amazon S3 and for management tools for Amazon Relational Database Service data backups.

Users can also protect and recover Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) entities and associated services, as well as the ability to clone VPC states to other AWS regions and accounts.

The addition of backups and recovery for Amazon FSx for NetApp OnTap complements other AWS file services already protected by N2WS, including Amazon FSx for Windows File Server and Amazon FSx for Lustre.

The software is sold through the AWS marketplace as a monthly subscription and priced based on the number of additional features and amount of storage under protection by the software. The basic level starts at $199 a month for 2 tebibytes (TiB) of storage.

N2WS has no current plans to sell its backup software as a managed SaaS product, Charm said. Instead, the company wants to avoid both customer lock-in and the inconvenience of service outages that may occur outside the customer's control.

The most direct competitor to the product, according to Charm, is Amazon's own AWS Backup service, which he said provides similar capabilities but lacks the automation and environment visibility provided by a third-party tool such as N2WS Backup and Recovery.

The ability to subscribe and unsubscribe from the service without significant vendor lock-in or the loss of access to the backups is also a feature in N2WS' favor, said Krista Macomber, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group.

"The more an organization [buys] into the cloud model, the more they're looking for that flexibility," she said. "There is the risk of repatriation. That tends to be a big problem in the data protection space [when a customer] is looking to change vendors."

Market future

Many backup companies provide a similar suite of products and services promising immutable backups, 30-second recovery times and other features, Chhabra said.

"It looks like the backup markets are happy doing what they're doing," he said. "The capabilities are not enhanced. They're the same."

The future of the market and what will eventually separate successful backup and recovery vendors from those that aren't will be determined by how the software helps an organization make decisions during a cyber attack.

Recently, vendors have been touting new AI tools to detect attacks before they occur by tracking changes in usage patterns or abnormal data transactions, but Chhabra said those capabilities need to go further. Tools that can help organizations make better decisions at the moment of attack, such as where and how to recover, are likely to become increasingly important and valuable to customers.

"There are so many decision moments that an organization needs to consider," Chhabra said. "How can those backup vendors help [during a ransomware attack]? Nobody has an answer, and that's worrisome."

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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