It seems just about every vendor is trying to recruit managed service providers (MSPs) these days, in recognition of the fact that while IT is certainly getting more automated, somebody still has to deliver the service.

Asigra is the latest vendor to unveil an appliance designed for MSPs to deliver data protection services.

After selling agentless backup and recovery software for years through the channel, Asigra now recognizes it needs to package its software on a turnkey applianceto make it more feasible for MSPs to build a business around the company’s software, said William Kulju, senior product marketing manager.

To that end, Asigra enlisted Avnet to build an appliance designed to meet the needs of MSPs, the companies announced at the Asigra Global Partner Summit this week.

Asigra is making three versions of its appliance available. Based on a Dual Intel E5-2630 v3, 2.4GHz processor with eight cores that has been configured inside servers from Supermicro that run FreeBSD and ZFS software, the 1U, 2U and 4U appliances provide access to as much as 96TB of billable capacity, Kulju said.

Delivering data protection based on agentless software reduces the overhead MSPs need to support because they no longer have to install and manage agents on every server and device that needs to be protected, Kulju said.

Of course, delivering IT services via an appliance is not exactly a novel idea. But Kulju said the Asigra appliance makes connecting back to the Asigra cloud service to provide backup and recovery a more turnkey experience that includes the ability to replicate virtual machines between an on-premise data center and the Asigra cloud.

The simple fact is that MSPs don’t want to spend time on routine system integration tasks any more than the average internal IT organization does. As such, most MSPs are looking for vendors that make setting up their services as simple as possible.

Of course, the real challenge is connecting all those appliances to whatever remote monitoring tool an MSP has standardized on. Sometimes that’s an application running in the cloud, but it’s just as likely to be a collection of open-source and commercial software that the MSP has stitched together on its own. Given that Asigra’s offering is based on agentless software, the company expects that integration effort to be relatively straight-forward, Kulju said.

Naturally, whether MSPs concur that an agentless approach is preferable remains to be seen. But as is often the case, the technology that delivers the fastest mean-time-to-value usually has the inside channel track.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.