Our data protection analysis focuses on the ever-growing list of requirements of the modern data center and hybrid cloud. We look for those requirements that address the future, not the past, and classify them into major categories, adding categories as needed. The categories are then graphed to form the basis of our coverage reports.
Each time we talk with an enterprise, peer, evangelist, end user, or vendor, we expand and clarify our requirements list. We look at each data protection use case, tool, option, and mechanism during our conversations and either match it to an existing requirement or add a new one. Our categories are broad by nature, but our requirements are specific by design.
The goal of our research is to demonstrate the extent to which each vendor’s offerings address our requirements, as well as how they stack up against each other. Where there is little overlap in requirements coverage between two or more offerings, you may be able to use them together to form a comprehensive data protection scheme. Where they do overlap, your choice of tool will depend entirely on the specific needs outlined by your data protection policy. Our goal is to determine how each vendor’s offerings address the data protection needs of the secure and protected hybrid cloud.
Here is an example of one of our new coverage graphs, taken from our 2017-01 report for the three vendors mentioned in the legend.
Where Did We Get the Coverage Data?
We came up with the desired state by talking about requirements from end users, vendors, evangelists, colleagues, and other analysts. This is also why the list of requirements constantly grows. As we hear about new tools and products, we attempt to fit them into our existing requirements. If they do not fit, we add more as necessary. The goal is to have a comprehensive list of comparable data based on required functionality to compete in the market. We have also taken a forward-looking view of data protection and have included items specific to the secure and protected hybrid cloud.
What Do These Coverage Graphs Tell Us?
- The category of functionality in which a vendor’s products excel compared to the others.
- The direction products are taking. There are multiple axes: Which are the most important to the various vendors? Are they also important to the end users?
- The base functionality that all tools share. For example, tools that do replication have a distinctly different footprint than those that do backup. It allows us to find a vendor’s competitors.
- The most important categories tend to have the most requirements. We know from the above that Recovery is followed by Security, which is followed by Automation and Orchestration.
- How vendors’ coverage changes over time, as well as the focus of coverage as it changes over time.
- Where products excel.
Our coverage graphs contain much more information than a single number or a single dot on a graph. The goal is to show vendors’ strengths and the areas in which their products need improvement in the data protection space. There are so many products and differences between products that we use our coverage graphs to normalize the data to something comparable. New insights become apparent as we continue to add to our pool of data. Each view tells us more and more.
Review our first coverage report here: 2017-01 Data Protection Coverage Report.