Backup War goes into Overtime

I know a lot of you think that the database backup wars are finished, and for a while there, so did I. But, Quest is making sure that it's alive and well. The war has been going on for a couple years now, and I'll briefly summarize the whole thing for you so you'll know a little about it. 1. Imceda Litespeed comes on the scene with backup compression and encryption. 2. Idera releases SQLSafe, a product that comp

I know a lot of you think that the database backup wars are finished, and for a while there, so did I. But, Quest is making sure that it's alive and well.

The war has been going on for a couple years now, and I'll briefly summarize the whole thing for you so you'll know a little about it.

1. Imceda Litespeed comes on the scene with backup compression and encryption.

2. Idera releases SQLSafe, a product that competes directly with Litespeed, and wages a very aggressive campaign against Imceda.

3. Red-gate buys MiniSQLBackup from Yeoh Ray Mond and turns it into SQL Backup.

OK, commentary so far. Litespeed had the entire market for a long time, then Idera came in and priced their tool much lower, so that forced Imceda to carve their niche in the higher end market and drastically lower their prices to compete with Idera in the mid-range and lower end markets. Unfortunately, Red-gate's appearance swept the low end market away from Idera, who frankly had a stronger hold on it than Imceda to begin with, so there's no loss there for Imceda. The problem was that even though Idera was a lot cheaper than Imceda, Reg-gate was significantly cheaper than everyone. This left Imceda with the higher market practically to themselves, while they were able to compete easily with Idera for the mid-range market. Idera really got the raw end because they didn't have a clear market. Red-gate squeezed them out of the low-end market effectively, while Imceda continually bashed them in the higher-end, and even some in the mid-range.

4. Walter Scott sells Imceda to Quest Software.

5. Everyone continues to add features and get small bugs worked out.

OK, more commentary...

Imceda selling to Quest was a very important move because it gave them a lot of breathing room for the price wars. They now had the backing of a much larger company with virtually limitless resources, which means they could lower their price to anything they needed to win any given contract. This way they could gain a stronger hold in the market and not have to worry about profits. It also meant that they were making almost nothing on very large sales.

6. Red-Gate releases an enterprise version of SQL Backup that contains a central repository.

That last one is the most important to our discussion today. It's because of this that Quest has been forced to re-work their pricing strategy.

Quest now has a multi-tiered pricing structure for Litespeed and it should really compete nicely with Red-Gate's low prices. What they've done is give you the ability to pay based on the size of your database. I'm having trouble getting specifics out of them, but I know the price can get very low.

The big question is, does this really put Quest in front of its competitors? It really depends on how you look at it. If you've got a fairly static environment, or at least very slow growth, then you could save a lot of money licensing this way. If you've got a very dynamic environment, you could spend more time upgrading licenses than actually doing DB work. In that case however, you'd probably just buy the high-end license to begin with.

Does Quest offer anything outside of features though? Well, for mixed shops the future is promising, but right now Quest has sat on the ball so long there's really no use counting on it. See, they've been promising Litespeed for Oracle, DB2, and MySQL for over a year now, but we still haven't seen anything. If Quest would step up, then there would be a huge advantage for mixed shops to choose Litespeed because they would have a cross-platform solution that would tie their entire environment together.

For now though, we wait.

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