HYCU spins off from Comtrade Software to spur growth, adds support for Nutanix AFS, non-Nutanix environments

Today, newly-minted HYCU is making a pair of announcements. First they are announcing their own existence, spinning out of Comtrade Software as a separate company, with Commtrade’s President, Simon Taylor, becoming HYCU’s CEO. Secondly, they are announcing a new round of product enhancements, including backup for Nutanix AFS [Acropolis File Solution], and expanded support for non-Nutanix ESX backups.

Comtrade had a long history as a services-focuses data protection company, when joined and refocused it around software a decade ago. They began by building a suite of monitoring tools that connected Citrix to Microsoft Operations Manager, that Taylor said moved them up the value chain, and which they eventually sold to Citrix in 2016. They then  began to focus on developing a backup and recovery product for Nutanix, a hot property, and launched it at last year’s Nutanix .NEXT event.

Spinning off highlights the HYCU brand and its association with Nutanix, which Taylor believes will stimulate growth.

“There is an element of future proofing in this,” Taylor said. “This is a company that needs to grow and needs to grow fast. Being HYCU will improve the way we are perceived by the marketplace. Nutanix is becoming a massive platform, and is driving us right along with it. Spinning off will allow for more market visibility, and drive the brand further. It makes a more ambitious growth strategy possible.”

HYCU will remain headquartered in Boston. Comtrade Group will be the primary shareholder in HYCU, and Comtrade Group’s CEO Alexis Lope-Bello will join HYCU’s Board of Advisors. However, 300 plus employees of the Comtrade Group’s 1800 plus will go to HYCU. Comtrade’s remaining business operations include distribution and system integration businesses in Europe, and an outsourcing business.

As it heads out on its own, HYCU is also beefing up its executive team with three new hires, all of whom occupy net-new positions. Scott Henderson becomes VP Americas.  Junelle Swan is now VP Channel. Paul Nashawaty fills the role of Chief Evangelist, Product Marketing

“These three new three new senior level hires will enable us to scale,” Taylor said. “Assembling an A class team will drive us forward.”

In addition to restructuring the company, the HYCU platform is also being strengthened.

“It will now allow Nutanix customers to manage not just Nutanix data, but all data in their data centre, Taylor said. “We are laser-focused on being the best Nutanix partner. We are so grateful for Nutanix being so wonderful to us, as one of their very few strategic partners.”

As Comtrade, HYCU started with Nutanix AHV, and then customers got them to add support for Nutanix ABS block services, Nutanix ESX, and then Nutanix Calm, which provides application orchestration and lifecycle management.

“Now we are adding two new key things,” said Subbiah Sundaram, Head of Data Protection at HYCU. “They are support for the Nutanix AFS file system, and support for non-Nutanix environments.

Sundaram said that even today only 30 per cent of Nutanix customers use Nutanic AHV.

“Now we can protect any VMware environment in the Nutanix data centre with HYCU,” he said. “One single software can manage both the Nutanix and non Nutanix, through a single pane of glass.”

“The unique piece here is non-Nutanix vSphere backup support, said Terry Buchanan, Vice President Technology, and General Manager at Toronto-headquartered HYCU partner Zycom. “Some of our clients are 100 per cent Nutanix, but others are still moving toward that. It helps from that perspective. The more options you have to design a solution for DR, the better off you will be.”

While AFS is very scale-out to allow a customer to start small and grow, scaled-out systems can be extremely large file system with millions of files.

“Customers have told us that it takes them four days to back up AFS,” Sundaram said. “With this, it takes an hour or two maximum Our deep integration with Nutanix lets us back up 90 per cent faster, and this also allows them to increase the backup frequency.”

“This one is huge,” Buchanan said. “It should play broadly across the board. For VDI customers, it allows us to offer an all-in-one solution. We can tell them ‘here’s your data recovery solution for the entire stack, and it’s integrated with Nutanix, so its easy to use.’ That will be a competitive advantage for us.”

The expanded application coverage adds backup for Oracle Database, and also now supports backup of High Availability configurations in SQL Server and Exchange.

“The Oracle support that’s coming out is another big one for us,” Buchanan said. “A lot of people underestimate how much Oracle there is out there. We have a lot of customers running Oracle on Nutanix today.”

“The ability to offer one protection strategy for the entire data centre will be a massive value-add,” Taylor said. “We tell Nutanix customers that they should consider migrating all of their workloads for Nutanix, but until they do, this will cover their entire data centre, so that it becomes a support vehicle for their transition to Nutanix.”

Support for service providers has also been expanded.

“Our original focus was on the enterprise, but we have added Active Directory for Self Service, and now have added per-VM licensing,” Sundaram said.

Most of the enhancements kick in right away, the exception being the non-Nutanix ESX backup. It goes into limited availability this quarter, and general availability in Q2.

“We decided to do the non-Nutanix backup in two phases, to give people more time,” Sundaram said. “It’s a major capability.”