I grew up on a farm when I was younger. My mother’s family contains many farmers. This has afforded me some interesting opportunities. One of these was watching a calf being born. Just hours after birth, the calf can stand on its own. It’s a magical experience that shows you how something so small can grow and change in such a short time. And I got to experience something similar on Thursday afternoon at Tech Field Day 5.
Druva is a new company that officially launched at TFD5. Now, they weren’t a “brand new” company with a lot of dreams and talk. Much like the calf above, they’ve found their legs and are standing on their own now. They have taken an interesting approach to backup technology and used it to address a segment of the market which I honestly hadn’t thought of before. And, I really like their name. “Druva” is the name for Polaris, the North Star in Hindu mythology. For centuries, people have depended on the North Star to guide them. Yet it is a simple resource that is always there and available when needed. These were the guidelines that helped Druva develop their offering.
Druva is attacking the endpoint backup market. They believe that the hardest devices in your environment to keep safe are not the servers and SANs, but the user laptops and desktops and mobile devices. There is a large amount of data contained on these devices that is rarely backed up in most cases and can lead to severe downtime in the event of a theft or a technical problem of some kind. As well, more and more of this data is being squirreled away on iPads and iPhones, devices that are difficult to reliably backup from an enterprise admin perspective.
Druva is ready to prove what they say. Their server/client software download is a mere 40MB. In a world today where I can barely make 10-slide presentations smaller than that, Druva can protect my laptop from data loss in the event it gets thrown into the office lobster tank. After installing the program on a server, you can configure lots of different options to create and import user accounts that represent the target devices that need to be backed up. Once created, you send an email to the user to validate them and them download a client to their system to allow backups to begin. Druva deduplicates the data before it’s ever sent from the client system based on the fact that 80-90% of the data contained on corporate workstations is MS Office and MS Outlook. By knowing how to efficiently hash that data and deduplicate it, they can streamline the backup process allowing much less data to be sent over slow links and shorten the time the user is impacted by the backup window.
Druva’s live backup and restore demo was hampered not by Druva technical challenges but by connectivity issues. Their laptop was connected to a Cradlepoint personal hotspot device brought along by Stephen Foskett and with all the other devices using guest wireless and the Cradlepoint, the connection was saturated. It almost felt like being on dial-up again. I was impressed to see the amount of data being sent over the link, a scant 63MB. I don’t know how big the folder was originally, but if it was a standard document folder containing hundreds of MB of data, there was definitely proof the dedupe works.
We were able to perform a single file restore to one of Druva’s iPads they had brought along. So, once again Apple saves the day. All in all, I like this product and think it has some capabilites that are sorely missing from the backup solutions offered by some of their competitors. And just like good tech people, the whiz kids at Druva aren’t resting on their laurels. They were talking to us about branching out and finding new uses for this technology and new ways to think about backups for more than just endpoints. I can’t wait to see how the grow and change in the coming months and I wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.
A funny note about Druva. We were having issues before the presentation figuring out which Twitter account was their main one, @druva or @druvainc. We talked with Jaspreet and he told us that once upon a time, the name of the company was actually “Druvaa”. One of their customers remarked that if they were really in the business of data deduplication, why did they have two A’s in their name? So Druva deduped their own name. That’s dedication, folks.
Tech Field Day Disclaimer
Druva was a sponsor of Tech Field Day 5, and as such was partly responsible for my airfare and hotel accommodations. Druva did not ask for nor were they promised any consideration in this review. My opinions and analysis are my own.