As I’ve struggled my way through this last week on jet lag, limited sleep and caffeine at Symantec’s Worldwide Sales and Marketing Conference, two things have struck me. The first is that Backup Exec has a special place in a lot of peoples’ hearts. Its roots can be traced back around 30 years and there is a very real passion – among the sales force and pre-sales groups in Symantec, within the channel partner community and among our customers too. We brought themed “Backup Exec Boot Camp” t-shirts and hats to the conference as prizes and throughout the week more and more employees and partners were wearing them – through their own choice. Supporters if you like, but certainly a very loyal following that’s prepared to shout about it from the rooftops. If you want to get one for yourself, look out for the regional Boot Camps we’re going to be running around EMEA in the coming weeks and months. Traveling around EMEA, I meet partners who have built their businesses around Backup Exec and customers who have been using it for years and who are genuinely pleased to meet “a Backup Exec guy” like me.
The second thing that struck me this week was that in spite of the breadth and depth of capabilities within Backup Exec there is also a real awareness gap around those capabilities. I see focused competitors going after the VMware space – there’s loads of stuff talking about them as one trick ponies; there’s more still trying to translate reality from marketing hype. I’m not going to dive into that right now, although Sean Regan wrote an enlightening blog http://bit.ly/kYxIQz that I’d recommend you read. We’re doing our own bit when it comes to virtualisation, backing up more VMWare hosts than anyone else in the market, through Backup Exec and also NetBackup. (IDC market data & Symantec unit bookings).
Here’s the thing though. You could argue all day about the number of companies running Backup Exec, but it’s a lot – well into seven figures. Many of those have already invested in the VMware Agent for Backup Exec in the three or so years that it’s been available, while others are running the Hyper-V Agent in the same sort of time. Hyper-V platform uptake seems to be picking up more and more as well. Despite this I still run into customers and partners who don’t realise these agents exist. There are others too. Backup Exec and De-Duplication, for instance. Symantec System Recovery – there’s another example of how Backup Exec goes so far beyond tape-based physical server backup and can solve real problems for real organisations.
My suspicion is that it’s the approach we take in talking about it all. I don’t just limit that to Symantec. It’s endemic in the industry. We tend to talk about technical stuff – we all do it. What does it do? How does it work? My phone lets me check my mail and make calls (most of the time). I don’t care how it does it; it solves my challenge of communicating with customers, colleagues, family and friends. So what problems does Backup Exec solve? It’s simple really – it makes life easier. Whatever the question, the answer is Backup Exec. If my business is building boats, Backup Exec helps me build more boats. It lets me spend less time doing backup and restore stuff, less money investing in hardware, less time worrying about the complex bits and more time and energy building boats. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Or is it about free t-shirts and technical stuff? And just to clarify, Symantec is #1 for VMware backup, t-shirt or not. http://bit.ly/lXcWi6