New SAAS Provider StrataScale Redefines 'On Demand'By Pedro Pereira | Print
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Newcomer StrataScale promises fast, flexible setups and configurations of hosted managed servers through an online portal. StrataScale's IronScale server management tool is targeted at SMBs.
Software on demand already has changed the way applications are sold and consumed, and now a new player is tweaking the model a little further.
The newcomer, StrataScale, is adding flexibility and speed to deployments and updates with its server management tool, IronScale, which administrators can control through a secure Web portal. StrataScale, a subsidiary of RagingWire Enterprise Solutions, says deployments and configuration changes through the portal are possible in a matter of minutes.
For instance, a solution provider can provision a storage server for a customer or change firewall rules in 5 or 6 minutes by logging on to the portal and using IronScale's dashboard, says Doug Adams, StrataScale's vice president of sales and marketing.
IronScale handles storage, backups, firewall and network software on x86 servers and supports Microsoft Windows and Red Hat's Linux environments.
StrataScale is targeting IronScale at the small and midsize business market through solution providers that either resell the software as a service for their customers or integrate it with other applications and remote management tools, Adams says. IronScale complements managed services platforms from such vendors as Level Platforms and N-able Technologies, he says.
StrataScale is hitting the market as the on-demand software and managed services models continue to gain traction and are expected to outpace enterprise application sales. While customers are putting off capital expenditures as a result of the current economic slump, many are turning to service-based models because they are easier on the wallet. Businesses pay for the technology in monthly fees as opposed to coming up with large capital outlays upfront.
Capitalizing on the trend, Ingram Micro in December launched a service to sell hosted Microsoft software to SMB solution providers.
Ken Loveless, owner of solution provider Western Business Solutions, in Sacramento, Calif., points out that deploying a SQL Server attached to an SAN (storage area network) solution costs as much as $50,000, which is too high for a typical small business. Through IronScale, he says, that same business gets access to the same high-priced technology for a reasonable monthly fee.
Loveless so far has used IronScale to provide disaster recovery services for two customers. Western Business Solutions, he says, has been a beta user of IronScale and plans to employ the tool in delivering services to three or four other customers in short order.
Loveless has embraced the SAAS model because he believes it will become more and more prominent, he says.
"It's definitely the future, and it's kind of here now," he says.
Applications managed through IronScale reside in servers leased by the customer from StrataScale, Adams says. Solution providers earn a percentage of the fee the customer pays and have the option of marking up their services when they integrate IronScale with other tools. Providers, Adams says, also have the option of delivering the service under their own brand, in a practice commonly referred to as "white labeling."
StrataScale makes IronScale available in three levels of bundled server environments, built on dedicated, enterprise-class dual- and quad-core x86 servers. Each bundle features RAID-configured SAN storage, dedicated bandwidth, VPN access, and round-the-clock monitoring and management.