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Backup Rivals Swarm to Capture Abandoned Symantec Backup Exec.cloud Accounts

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Cloud backup vendors aren’t missing an opportunity to capture the accounts being abandoned by Symantec with its shutdown of the Backup Exec.cloud service in January. Already, three companies have announced formal programs to migrate customers away from the doomed service. And even Symantec is providing guidance for orderly transitions.

On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, Symantec started informing partners and customers of its plans to shutter its cloud backup service in January. Solution providers were instructed to discontinue sales. Customers were told that they would receive support for up to a year, but no additional services would be added.

Immediately, Zetta.net announced a rescue program for affected Symantec customers, in which the cloud backup service provider would help solution providers and customers migrate to its cloud platform.

Since then, two more backup vendors – Axcient and Carbonite – have joined the rescue effort.

Axcient is offering Symantec customers dedicated support, discovery of data requiring backup, setup and deployment assistance and free service during the migration period. Axcient is positioning the migration from Symantec to its platform as an upgrade, saying users will get more features than Backup Exec.cloud’s simple file-level service.

“Backup Exec.cloud was a simple file storage service created to plug a hole in Symantec’s backup product line,” said Axcient CEO Justin Moore. “Although this announcement may come as a shock to many customers, it’s actually giving companies the opportunity to move beyond backup and migrate to a better solution with virtually zero downtime thanks to the Axcient migration program.”

Carbonite, which is continuing to evolve from a consumer to an enterprise cloud-based backup service, is offering Symantec customers “try before you buy” service offering. In its Symantec rescue program, Carbonite will allow customers discount use of its services for backup workstations and servers, paying only for what they use. Additionally, customers will get free service during the migration period.

And, like Axcient, Carbonite is using the Symantec withdrawal as a means for promoting its capabilities and features, such as support for both Mac and PC workstations. Symantec only supports Windows-based PCs. And Carbonite supports backup of server files and images, whereas Symantec only provided file-level backup.

Symantec, too, is not leaving partners and customers in a lurch. In a letter to partners announcing the shutdown of Backup Exec.cloud, Symantec pledged to provide solution providers with logistical and technical support to ensure customer data is not compromised or left unprotected during the transition period.

“Our team is committed to providing you with Technical Support throughout this process. Please see the end of this message for contact information,” Symantec wrote to partners.

While the precise number of partners and customers affected by the Symantec Backup Exec.cloud service is unknown, some speculate the tally could be several thousand accounts. The process for shutting down the service is, so far, structured and orderly.

The Symantec process is a far cry from the surprise shutdown of cloud storage vendor Nirvanix, which announced in last September it was going out of business and customers had two weeks to move their data. Nirvanix managed to give customers a month and, through the help of partners such as IBM, many of the accounts were successfully moved before the discontinuation date.

The Symantec decision to shutter Backup Exec.cloud comes after another disappointing quarter in which the company’s storage product sales fell 5 percent. Symantec is in the midst of restructuring under its Symantec 4.0 plan, in which it’s narrowing the number of products and focusing on integrated solutions. Other cloud services are unaffected by the Backup Exec.cloud shutdown, the company said.

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