Christian Maillard – Synerway CEO: New physical and virtual Appliances for multi-site organisations
April 2011 by Marc Jacob
Since its creation in 2002, Synerway has always stood out as an innovator in the data protection market. Synerway commercializes data backup Appliances which are consistently ahead of the game. The company today markets both physical and virtual Appliances particularly well adapted to multi-site organisations, for clients with between 50 GB to 15 TB of data to back up.
For Christian Maillard, Synerway CEO, the company’s success is firmly rooted in positive client testimonials. As an illustration of this, a major corporation is to deploy over 3,000 Synerway Appliances.
Global Security Mag: Christian Maillard, you are both CEO and Co-founder of Synerway, what makes Synerway stand out?
Christian Maillard: Synerway is a software editor specializing in data and systems protection. Our mission is to provide the simplest and most economical solution which allows company data to be fully protected and ensure rapid and coherent restoration.
We have developed a powerful range of different solutions placing us in a unique market position.
Back in 2002, we were the first company to bring the data backup Appliance to market. Others have copied the concept which confirms that we made the right choice from the outset.
With the ongoing support of the French institution, Oséo Innovation, we have never stopped innovating.
GS Mag: What are the main strengths of this innovative backup concept which has lead the competition to copy you?
Christian Maillard: We chose to develop a range of Appliances. How do we define an Appliance?
A data backup Appliance is a specialized solution which provides a service: data backup and restoration. The solution requires no additional hardware or software. Its objective is to save time and therefore money.
GS Mag: How does the Appliance handle service level requirements imposed by IT managers?
Christian Maillard: The pertinence of the Appliance is very much part of our value-added proposition; major benefits include:
straightforward installation and configuration,
much-reduced daily operating tasks,
automated data externalisation,
centralized administration and supervision
Whatever the client constraints, we strive to ensure the best resolution of this equation: reliable backups with the lowest possible loss of data in the event of an incident and the guarantee of the fastest possible restoration of missing data.
Our solutions adapt to the service levels (SLAs) required by our clients. Our aim is to offer the best possible ratios in terms of RPO* and RTO ** with the lowest possible TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
GS Mag: Why are your Appliances particularly well adapted to multi-site organisations?
Christian Maillard: For all sites with between 50 GB and 15 TB of data to protect, our range of Appliances adapts to client volumes.
Nonetheless, the logical business target for Synerway Appliances effectively corresponds to multi-site organisations. Infrastructures where remote sites do not have access to local IT skills, where rapid data restoration is required or where data consolidation must be performed on a central site.
GS Mag: How do your Appliances handle multi-site data?
Christian Maillard: In line with client backup policy, data is backed up locally then externalized to a central site.
This central site can be either a company Data Center or as part of a Cloud storage solution. Either way, the centralized administration and supervision of the Appliances is handled by tools specifically developed by Synerway.
GS Mag: Are other Data Centers also in your target range?
Christian Maillard: Synerway Appliances are perfectly suited to large SMEs and major corporations with numerous sites around the world.
In addition, they are also well suited to IT management organisations handling client infrastructures. These companies are keen to provide their customers with data backup solutions which guarantee rapid data restoration and which are easy to manage from a central location. Data is backed up locally on the client site then all or part of this data is externalized or replicated to the central site.
GS Mag: Today you are strengthening your product offer with a Virtual Appliance. Why is that?
Christian Maillard: Our new Synerway Virtual Appliances - SVA and SVA Pack strengthen our market positioning.
Synerway Virtual Appliances are complementary with the range of physical Appliances in particular for remote sites.
An organisation looking to install a local backup solution without the need to handle physical tapes and who wants to consolidate local backups in its Cloud benefits from the time-proven advantages of an Appliance compared to a standard solution.
The SVA is a Virtual Appliance with identical features to the physical Appliance which can be installed on these virtualized environment servers: VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix Xen.
The SVA Pack is a Virtual Appliance with identical features to the physical Appliance which is installed on a physical server. For this solution, we have integrated a virtualisation tool into the SVA, completely transparent for the user.
GS Mag: You mentioned Synerway’s dynamic and innovative approach and your Virtual Appliances would seem to illustrate this.
Deduplication is a much-touted buzzword of late. Do you intend to incorporate this approach into Synerway’s roadmap?
Christian Maillard: The main aim of deduplication is to reduce the amount of redundant data to reduce disk storage space and to lower the amount of data transiting on low bandwidth networks. This is vital for mass storage environments.
At a time when data storage growth has reached 30% per year, the deployment of deduplication would appear tempting.
We operate within the domain of data backup and restoration and our chosen course is not the same.
Powerful algorithms are used by deduplication engines, particularly to reduce the risk of losing data. These calculations are detrimental to data backup and restoration activities. This means deduplication is incompatible with continuous data protection technology (CDP) which is much sought after by IT managers and which is part of the Synerway solution.
The digital age business relies heavily on networks which increase the vulnerability of IT infrastructures frequently the target of outside attacks. Many companies want to encrypt their data at source before sending them over the network. In the case of deduplication, source-level encryption becomes pointless because encrypted data is always unique and therefore there is nothing left to deduplicate. Synerway always encrypts and compresses at source.
Synerway has always concentrated its R&D efforts on data restoration following an incident and this concern remains at the heart of our mission. This activity continues to be highly relevant today and our business gains underscore this fact.
This said, with the support of Oséo Innovation, our engineers are working on a major new programme which encompasses deduplication with a view to reinforcing our Cloud Computing data protection solution.
GS Mag: On a business front, how do you intend to pursue your indirect sales model?
Christian Maillard: With our new products, we are strengthening our indirect sales model by recruiting new partners with proven skills and market presence which enable us to respond to multi-site or remote site organisations, both at home and abroad.
We are looking to bring international partners on board who have administration and network skills and also information management capabilities whether this service is outsourced or in-house.
Lastly, we continue to recruit partners looking to sign industrial OEM-type agreements with Synerway.
GS Mag: In 2010 Synerway put out a number of client testimonials such as Méteo France and Inéo Engineering & Systems to quote the latest two examples. What does 2011 hold for you?
Christian Maillard: Yes, we place the utmost importance in our client testimonials because our clients are our best ambassadors. We will be announcing very soon a major new deployment in the hypermarket sector. It’s a scoop, watch this space!
* RPO – Recovery Point Objective – Maximum amount of data you are prepared to lose in the event of an incident (expressed as a duration)
** RTO – Recovery Time Objective – Time required for a full return to operational activity