Barracuda: It's like the IKEA of backup and security

But with less incipient barbarism brewing in the car park

Comment Barracuda, the backup, file copy and security supplier, has a laser-like focus on the mid-market and aims to offer Walmart pricing with Nordstrom quality and features (that's IKEA pricing with Heal's quality for UK readers). It's not a bleeding edge company, aiming instead to move into a market when best-of-breed products have already emerged for the enterprise, with small businesses having, in 'Cuda's view, inadequate all-in-one type offerings.

The 'Cuda strategy is to go the middle way, straight at the mid-market, integrating best-of-breed level products into a suite and offering all-in-one level pricing.

It has come from nowhere in the purpose-built backup appliance market to be the volume ship leader according to IDC, with its c6,300 units in 2014 beating Symantec (just over 3,000), Unitrends (just under 3,000), EMC (just under 2,000) and Dell (just over 1,000). Barracuda sells through partners with extensive advertising support. William Blair analyst Jason Ader mentions "airport advertising, targeted Web campaigns, radio advertising, and professional sports marketing."

He adds: "A focal point of the company is to have high conversion rates with a sales representative available at all times and able to quickly convert customers to a 30-day trial. Customers are 100 times more likely to convert if they are immediately helped with a solution when they are looking for one. About 51 per cent of new opportunities under $10,000 are converted within 24 hours, and the company generates over 935 transactions per day and 360 renewals per day based on this model."

Sounds thorough and we might call this a first-sell focus, Barracuda encouraging its partners to up-sell and cross-sell as well, turning customers into so-called Barracuda shops; ones with three or more Barracuda products.

The company can be seen as, originally, a backup supplier that has realised it has an effective channel through which it can pump complementary products to its mid-market customers, pleasing its partners who get more revenue.

The company is convinced there is an enduring move to the cloud in the mid-market, and aims to integrate, extend and develop its product set to work across and support physical, virtual, on-premises, hybrid and public cloud environments, and pump it out through said channel.

Product Developments were discussed at a US analysts' event in early May, and we heard about more at its Alpbach-based* EMEA Conference. They include:

  • CudaCopy which we think is its Copy file-sharing facility rebranded
  • CudaEye - a video surveillance system with cameras for capturing images and a cloud facility for storing them
  • CudaSign - an e-signature virtual appliance utility for signing invoices, etc, that's integrated with Salesforce, Office 365 and NetSuite
  • CudaDrive - a rebranded sync with the entire Copy account treated as a drive, and a beta planned for the summer
  • The acquired C2C archiving product extends into Barracuda Message Archiver (BMA) with direct-to-cloud archiving, Archive One and PST Enterprise

Barracuda Backup is going to get physical-to-virtual recovery facilities, with Windows 2008 apps recoverable to VMware or Hyper-V VMs. Local Control will enable data to stay in a geography where locality compliance is mandatory.

There will also be a facility to protect data from apps running in the cloud by backing it up in the cloud; think EMC Spanning-type functionality, with an offer along thee lines for MSPs.

Barracuda's other big activity focus is on security, and more features will come integrated with its firewall offering. Sanjay Ramnath, its senior director for security, talks of six threat vectors; email, web apps, remote access, web browsing, the mobile internet and network perimeter. Products will come to secure all these vectors and be offered as a federated suite - Total Threat Protection.

He said this is chapter 1 in Barracuda's security developments with chapters 2 (CWMD securing the changing attack surface) and 3 (CVC - new security deployment methods) following later.

It seems to El Reg that Barracuda aims to own the mid-market, denying it to small business product vendors and enterprise best-of-breed vendors equally. The latter will find it increasingly difficult to move their product sets down to this space.

To return to the PBBA market to illustrate this; Barracuda's appliance outsold the general deduping backup-to-disk market leader EMC unit-wise more than 3 to 1 in its mid-market. Can EMC recover that ground? Now imagine Barracuda successfully doing that in other product categories.

And all those happy Barracuda Backup customers are gonna get up-sold and cross-sold by 'Cuda's channel machine. Impressive, n'est ce-pas?

We think so, and we're seeing a one-product shop turn into a Walmart/IKEA kind of department store; a systematic varied product selling mechanism. ®

* We might call this Alpbach-up? (Okay, we won't.)

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