Anyone who has saved over a document, presentation or another file by accident can appreciate the role of backup copies. They’re a necessary evil: they’re also one big reason corporate storage and data archiving budgets quickly spiral out of control.
Boston-based Actifio’s alternative to disaster recovery services or bloated backup storage arrays (called “copy data management”) virtualizes those files, so they’re easier to track and don’t take up as much space. Its argument has inspired more than $208 million in venture backing at a valuation of $1.1 billion, which makes the software company one of the closely watched enterprise storage unicorns.
That promise has won over companies like Cardinal Health, CenturyLink, and Sun Gard. When I caught up last week with founder Ash Ashutosh, he told me more than half of Actifio’s customers (65%) are considering his software as part of strategic cloud computing investments.
Indeed, bookings for the company doubled to $90 million in 2014 (a figure Ashutosh will share with attendees of its summit on cloud migration strategy this week). As of Jan. 31, Actifio was managing more than 12 exabytes of customer data. (The common way of explaining this volume, as of 2009, used to be that it would take 5 exabytes to store every word every spoken.) Actifio’s latest service launched last week can restore both data and entire applications.
What’s holding businesses back from redesigning their backup and business continuity strategies? “They need to unlearn the way they’ve been doing things, which made a whole lot of sense for vendors, but not for their customers,” Ashutosh said. “Still, that’s a big behavioral change.”