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Asigra offers resellers a new, and potentially profitable, twist on an old data protection problem.
Resellers searching for a way to stand out in the backup market may find an ally in Asigra Inc.
Asigra, based in Toronto, recently retooled its marketing strategy. The company had been selling its backup and recovery solutions to service providers, who, in turn, supported end customers. But the company earlier this summer launched a product targeting the enterprises themselves. Asigra is now cultivating a channel to reach the new prospects.
In the United States, Asigra has tapped Atlanta-based BluPointe DRS LLC as a distributor, which is training resellers on the solution. Thus far, about 32 resellers are in various stages of development regarding Asigra's backup offering, says Ron Roberts, president of BluPointe DRS.
The focus of this attention is Asigra Televaulting for Enterprises, which provides centralized backup administration of remote sites. The solution is ideally suited for geographically dispersed environments having three or more locations, says Eran Farajun, Asigra's executive vice president.
"That's a good profile for a customer who wants to be their own internal service provider," he notes. Asigra's disk-based backup solution consists of Asigra Televaulting DS-Client software, which is installed at the remote sites, and the centralized Asigra Televaulting DS-System server, which is housed in the customer's main data center.
DS-Client is installed on a Windows or Linux machine in each remote location. The software automates data backup on the local-area network and then reduces the amount of data to be transmitted offsite. The latter is accomplished through delta processing (identifying new and changed files), common file elimination and compression.
The data is then encrypted and transmitted via IP WAN connection to the DS-System server. The server consolidates the backup data it receives from the remote sites. The DS-System software operates on Solaris, Linux and Windows.
BluPointe's Roberts says Asigra lets resellers approach customers with a new business proposition. While "everybody on the block" is selling tape drives and storage devices, Asigra resellers can provide a solution that "will protect the enterprise and not just a LAN," Roberts explains.
List price for the Asirga solution is $56,000 for the first terabyte. Additional capacity costs $7,500 per terabyte. The company's channel partners receive product discounts based on commitment and revenue level, Farajun says.
But there's an additional revenue stream. "The Asigra software requires additional disk-storage hardware, which the reseller sells in a 'solution,' along with some integration, setup and Level 1 support if required," Farajun said. He adds that resellers also may purchase a software licensea la the service provider modelto deliver backup and restore as a utility service.
The idea for Asigra's channel foray actually came from its traditional service provider basehosting companies and disaster recovery firms, among others. The service providers started to uncover more situations in which enterprise customers wanted to purchase a software license rather than a service. At the time, Asigra prohibited service providers from reselling its backup solution.
Asigra, however, tweaked its licensing agreement to let service providers resell the product. Then the reseller light bulb turned on. "Why don't we set up a distribution channel and make [the product] available to more traditional channel partners?" Farajun says, recalling the inspiration.
Why not indeed? In addition to its U.S. distributor, the company has also recruited distributors in Germany and the United Kingdom to start the channel development process in Europe. The lure for resellers is the same regardless of geography: the ability to sell something a bit different in a crowded backup and recovery market.