Comtrade Software unveils HYCU built-for Nutanix backup solution

HYCU is the first backup and recovery solution specifically built for the Nutanix AHV hypervisor.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Boston-based Comtrade Software has announced HYCU, the first data protection solution specifically built for the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.

Comtrade is a long-established company, founded a quarter-century ago by ex-HP guys, but while they were active in the monitoring and data protection areas, for many of those years they were entirely services-focused.

“When I joined the company 10 years ago, Comtrade had grown to the point that we had 1000 software engineers, but we were entirely a services operation,” said Simon Taylor, Comtrade’s President. “I believed that we had to evolve from a services operation to be software-focused, and become more margin-rich.”

They began that journey by building a whole suite of monitoring tools that connected Citrix to Microsoft Operations Manager.

“Those tools were so popular that Citrix brought them from us in 2016 and put them in their Platinum offering,” Taylor said. “They then outsourced the business back to us! That made us cash-rich and put us on the map.”

After that, Comtrade focused on developing a backup and recovery product.

“We decided to focus on hyper-converged, because it was one of the hottest things,” Taylor said. “We wanted to focus on backing up one vendor, who was a leader, who has a vision, and who isn’t likely to be bought. That wound up being Nutanix, before their IPO. So we built HYCU – which stands for hyper-converged up-time – the first backup product that is purpose-built for Nutanix.”

Taylor emphasized that their more than two decades of experience building backup and their study of the hyper-converged market led Comtrade to conclude that such a purpose-built solution required a new paradigm shift around three concepts – applications, integration, and usability.

“We have a patent-pending product set for application awareness,” he said. “It’s a new way of looking inside virtual machines, with a built-in self-service recovery portal to allow a Nutanix admin or business user to recover their own applications.”

Taylor said that customer expectations of integration have changed significantly.

“Admins don’t want to just back up VMs any more,” he said. “They want to recover their application with a click of a button. Our tighter integration with Nutanix lets us deploy in three minutes or less and recover in under two minutes.”

Usability has been enhanced because HYCU has been built to look and feel like the Nutanix Prism UI.

Comtrade sells through the channel, a strategy they built out when doing the monitoring business for Citrix. They have about 100 partners worldwide, and use Ingram Micro for their distribution in the U.S. and Canada. They are also looking to leverage Nutanix’s own channel.

“There is quite a bit of overlap between that Citrix channel and Nutanix, because Nutanix started with VD,” Taylor stated. “The Citrix channel was one of the first to push out Nutanix solutions. Since then, as Nutanix has broadened out more, they have attracted more partners who are based around infrastructure rather than those with Citrix roots. We are looking to attract all these partners who are looking to transform their customers’ environments.”

Today, Comtrade has about 18 partners based in Canada, said Jason Gradel, Comtrade’s Sales Director USA West and Canada.

“Not all of them are completely onboarded – the product is only a week old!” he said. “However, the most intense conversations here at the Nutanix .NEXT event have been from channel partners and customers coming out of Canada. One Vancouver-based solution provider noted that while Nutanix has talked about their AHV hypervisor being a 23 per cent option in all their deals, in Canada, they are at 80 per cent AHV. Customers in Canada are really looking for things that fit.”

Comtrade is looking to recruit true value-added resellers who are committed to HCI and to Nutanix specifically, who want to sell Nutanix with a fully integrated backup and recovery.

“Many companies have started to understand that paying for a hypervisor doesn’t make sense, but not having a fully integrated backup solution for AHV makes it more difficult to make that switch,” Taylor said. “HYCU is very transformative in helping people migrate from pay-as-you-go hypervisors onto AHV.”

Terry Buchanan, Vice President Technology & General Manager at Toronto-based Nutanix partner Zycom Technology is very bullish on HYCU.

“Our architecture team is fully trained on it and ready to go, and customers are trialing it on multiple sites,” he said. “We partner with other DR vendors as well, but this is ideal specifically for the ecosystem around the Nutanix platform with the AHV hypervisor. HYCU addresses a very unique niche with AHV, which won’t be a niche for long. We are seeing the adoption of AHV around multiple verticals. The federal government [Shared Services Canada] is currently testing it, which is very sexy for us.”

Buchanan said while several of the DR vendors who work with Nutanix are enterprise-focused, Comtrade has an advantage for Zycom in being able to address a broader customer clientele.

“HYCU goes from SMB to the enterprise and they only develop software for AHV,” he said. “We have a lineup of clients who want to go with Nutanix, but who can’t afford enterprise DR solutions. HYCU lets us take Nutanix to them.”

HYCU is available now through Comtrade partners. Pricing starts at $USD 999/socket.