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Start-Up’s Profile: Druva

De-dupe made in India by former Symantec/Veritas executives
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2010.04.29

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Company:
Druva Software Pvt. Ltd. (formerly Druvaa)

Headquarters:
Pune, India

Sales Offices:
New Delhi, India; Santa Clara, CA; San Sebastian, Spain
    
Born in:
October 2007

Funding:
Initial funding of $250,000 by IAN (Indian Angel Network) comprising angel investors Rajan Anandam, CEO Microsoft India, and Jerry Rao, CEO IDS India. First round of $5 million from Sequoia Capital and IAN.

Revenues:

  • 2009: $200,000 (FY ending on March 31)
  • 2010: $3 million

Profitable since May 2009.
 
Main Executives:
All of them come from Symantec/Veritas.

  • Ramani Kothandaraman, co-founder and CMD, had 13 years in management and delivery positions at companies including Symantec, Veritas, IBM, LogicaCMG and TCS. Prior to that, he was assistant director in the Cabinet Secretariat for five years and a Research Scientist with Department of Space for two years at the India's government.
  • Jaspreet Singh, co-founder and CEO, was previously with Veritas as part of the storage foundation group. He was also associated with Ensim.
  • Milind Borate, co-founder and CTO, worked at Veritas as technical director for SAN-FS and served on board of Veritas patent filter committee. He filed over 15 patent applications and co-authored Undocumented Windows NT in 1998.

Number of employees:  
48 (3 in USA, 3 in Europe and 42 in India including 32 in product development and engineering)
 
Technology:
inSync (laptop backup software) and Phoenix (remote-server backup software for Windows installed on a backup server) are Druva's patent-pending single-instance de-dupe technology acting on the data at the source before they are moved. An agent is installed on the client backuping only unique data to improve bandwidth and storage utilization.

In source-based de-dupe by Druva, the compression engine can either process de-duping in real time (i.e. as and when sent to target) or after being stored in the target storage. The former is called 'inline deduplication' by Druva.

Sub-file Level De-dupe: The duplicate removal algorithm can be applied on full file or sub-file levels. Full file level duplicates can be easily eliminated by calculating single checksum of the complete file data and comparing it against existing checksums of already backed up files. It’s simple and fast, but the extent of de-dupe is much smaller, as it does not address the problem of duplicate content found inside different files or data sets (e.g. emails). The sub-file level de-dupe technique breaks the file into smaller fixed or variable size blocks, and then uses standard hash based algorithm to find similar blocks.

Variable-Length Data Segments: Fixed-length block approach divides the files into fixed size length blocks and uses simple checksum (MD5/SHA, etc.) based approach to find duplicates. Although it’s possible to look for repeated blocks, the approach provides limited effectiveness.

druva_dedupe_540

Variable-length data segment technology divides the data stream into variable length data segments using a methodology that can find the same block boundaries in different locations and contexts. This allows the boundaries to 'float' within the data stream so that changes in one part of the dataset have little or no impact on the boundaries in other locations of the dataset.

The de-dupe ratio increases every time when passing the same complete data set through the de-dupe engine. "If compared against daily full backups, the ratios are close to 1:300. If compared against modern day incremental backups, our customer statistics show that, the results are between 1:4 to 1:50 for source based deduplication," said he company.

Roadmap:
inSync 4.0 in July 2010 and Phoenix 2.0 in September 2010

Distributors and OEMs:
Druva is negotiating with some potential OEMs still under non-disclosure terms and setting up its channel of partners and distributors worldwide but has not yet finished this process.

≠ of customers:
400 in 23 countries.

Main customers:
NASA, Capita, SyncSort, Indian-OIL, STILH, CANARA-HSBC, Emerson, Serco, and Amway

Applications:
Remote backup for laptops (inSync) and for servers (Phoenix).

Market
Especially mid-large size companies to protect information of their remote offices or their mobile workforce.

Competitors Include:
Atempo, EMC/Avamar, Iron Mountain, Symantec.

Our Comments

Druva is one of the few firms - like Symantec for the new versions of Backup Exec and NetBackup, or EMC with Avamar and Data Domain but with an appliance - to offer de-dupe at the source as well as when data are send to the target. And the announced reduction ratios are excellent: 1:4 to 1:50 for source-based de-duple and 1:300 for full daily backups.

This start-up demonstrates that USA don't have a monopoly in this new reduction killer storage technology, and Druva uses variable-length data segment that is rare and more efficient.

But the company will probably need at least one more financial round to succeed if it prefers not to be acquired rapidly. It's not enough to have compressed recently its company's name from Druvaa to Druva.
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