With all the kerfluffle, one might think that Data Domain is the only dedup appliance company out there.

They aren’t.

The big guys are admitting they don’t have a product
Bill Andrews, CEO of ExaGrid, weighed in with some pertinent comments today:

What does it mean to ExaGrid if EMC buys Data Domain?

First, it validates what we have been saying — that NTAP and EMC did not have a product for the mid market to small enterprise. If they had a competitive product why would they pay this much? They certainly don’t need the brand, customers, market or sales force. It proves they had a hole in their product lines.

ExaGrid is out there competing every day and we see what customers are doing at the street level.

– Wins against Data Domain over 70% of the time in head to head battles
– ExaGrid has over 350 customers
– In Q1 Data Domain brought on 218 new customers and ExaGrid brought on 51 . . . not bad considering their sales force is 4 times the size of our entire company
– ExaGrid has over 110 customer success stories on its web site where the company is named and the IT person is named and quoted
o This is more than all the de-dupe vendors combined . . .

Bill goes on to point out that there is a market for both backup software with dedup and for target appliances. The latter appeals to the SMB, who is just coming to grips with the growing requirements for e-discovery and the advantages of D2D backup.

The StorageMojo take
There’s little doubt that if the IPO market were stronger ExaGrid would have gone public and used the money to turbocharge their sales and marketing. Then they’d be commanding a billion dollar offer as well.

Bill’s point about the hole in EMC’s and NetApp’s product lines is well taken. Everybody talks about SMB, but unless you focus on them it is very hard to get it right. Enterprise margins and engineering challenges are just too appealing. SMB customers want a strong relationship and that takes time.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I just ripped Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon to my iPhone. Hence the post’s title. Update: I did some work for ExaGrid a couple of years ago. End update.