“Then you better start swimmin’, Or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin’” [Bob Dylan]
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” [Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr]
The Wall Street Journal reported that Dell is buying SonicWall for $1.2B. So what do backup and Quest have to do with this? Both SonicWall and Quest have relatively minor parts of their business that offer backup. Quest announced a few days ago that it wanted to do a management buyout with Insight Venture Partners (more on this here). Dell is buying SonicWall from Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm that took SonicWall private for $717M in 2010.
Beyond the obvious fact that buying and selling companies seems to be a good business , what does this mean for modern backup?
SonicWall has a small line of backup appliances called the CDP series. Back at the time of the acquisition of SonicWall by Thoma Bravo, the revenue from this unit was actually falling – from $12.2M in 2007 to $10.2M in 2008 to $8.6M in 2009. The SonicWall CDP series is more heterogeneous than AppAssure with a CDP architecture that in my experience limits the scalability of the appliance (note: I say my experience because I own a few SonicWall devices I purchased competitively) – and it’s not clear to me how you’d merge the two lines. While in theory tying together more heterogeneity into AppAssure would be a smart play, most inorganic data protection acquisitions fail to ever unite two platforms (the most famous example being Symantec’s Backup Exec and NetBackup.) And the near-CDP snapshot architecture of AppAssure has a good enough RPO (Recovery Point Objective) that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try to force fit a true CDP appoach into it.
The other group impacted by this is SonicWall resellers. Given the relatively small footprint and growth of the SonicWall CDP-series, that’s admittedly not a large group – but for those selling data protection it is going to mean that they need to rethink their offering.
Anyway, that’s my opinion – what do you think?