How Avamar's Jed Yueh Caught the Ultimate Fullback

Q&A:The young entrepreneur developed the right niche software-data deduplication and backup-at the right time, and now both Avamar and his new "ultimate fullback," EMC, have what they want.

Data deduplication, which eliminates redundant data throughout a storage network, is one of the hottest new technologies in the data storage industry.

The fact that data storage giant EMC did not have a deduplication strategy within its product line was a major hole-that is, until this month.

The company, based in Hopkinton, Mass., on Oct. 31 announced the acquisition of data deduplication provider Avamar, founded by young Harvard graduate Jedidiah Yueh seven years ago.

Avamar is the market leader in the deduplication space, with 15 of the Fortune 50 companies and 400 customers overall.

EMC is annexing Avamar, based in Irvine, Calif., in a cash transaction valued at about $165 million. The acquisition is expected to be completed this month.

Yueh and his entire team will stay on at EMC and do what they do best, but from now on, they will be supported by a huge sales and marketing machine to go with a major-league channel distribution mechanism.

eWEEK Senior Writer Chris Preimesberger spoke with Yueh, 32, at the time of the announcement in Orlando, Fla., and followed up with an email interview.

Do you have a general comment or opinion regarding the deal and the newly combined company?

Despite the digital, highly connected world we live in, most of today's enterprises protect information by storing data onto tapes, manually removing tapes from robotic libraries, and physically shipping or trucking tapes from site to site.

These manual processes often lead to data loss-exposing companies to litigation and issues with regulatory compliance.

We believe EMC's acquisition of our data deduplication technology can transform these archaic procedures, enabling automated, encrypted disaster recovery across existing wide area networks and accelerating the shift to disk as the de facto medium for data protection.

What brought Avamar and EMC together?

We met in the data center. Even as an emerging software vendor, Avamar made significant inroads into large enterprise accounts, places where EMC had an established footprint. In many cases, our software worked in partnership with EMC storage to drive return on investment for our customers. Naturally, our customers pointed out the benefits-and added market opportunity-of combining our software with EMC's name, stability and support.

/zimages/5/28571.gifDe-Duplication steals the show at Storage Networking World. Click here to read more.

It was also a marriage of true minds; EMC not only recognizes the potential sea change at hand, but it also has the might and moxie to make it happen.

Describe the key ingredients EMC brings to the table for Avamar's benefit.

EMC is the ultimate fullback-a company that can clear a wide path to market. Not only does EMC eliminate the risk of buying from a small company, it also provides the market presence, technology leadership, engineering and support resources, and the sales and marketing machine to accelerate the adoption of Avamar's software.

How is Avamar's IP going to affect the EMC product line in the short term? Long term?

Today, Avamar already integrates seamlessly with EMC's existing product lines. As a software solution, Avamar can use external disk storage arrays-including EMC Clariion and EMC Symmetrix.

In fact, by inverting the economics of disk versus tape backup, our software can significantly increase the addressable market for disk storage.

In addition, Avamar's software extends the reach of EMC NetWorker and EMC Centera from the data center out to remote sites and mobile systems.

Next Page: Avamars post-merger strategy.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...