Recognizing that its
backup and recovery technology isn’t exactly cheap, storage vendor Asigra is no
longer requiring channel partners to lay out tens of thousands of dollars up front
for the software.

Instead, the vendor
is licensing its Televaulting backup and recovery platform to partners on a
month-to-month basis, with partners paying $500 monthly or more, depending on
how many terabytes of storage capacity they use, says Asigra Executive Vice President Eran Farajun.

"They’re actually buying the software,
and they’re actually using it for 30 days," Farajun says. "To date,
we’ve always sold our software on a perpetual license basis."

Perpetual licenses are common in the software
industry; they call for a one-time payment without requiring buyers to renew
the license every year.

Asigra’s motivation
for the change is threefold, the company says—increase its appeal to MSPs, make the software more accessible to channel
partners that lack the capital to pay $50,000 to $70,000 up front, and open
more inroads into the small and midsize business space.

"I think it is good business," says
Paul Myerson, senior channel analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, who was
briefed by Asigra on the new pricing model. If positioned correctly, Myerson
adds, the move will increase Asigra’s SMB market share.

"Offering the community flexibility in regards
to investment provides people the opportunity to leverage proven technology
with a lower upfront cost while they get going," Myerson says. "I am
a believer in acquiring footprint and watching it grow. Asigra just took some
time coming to the same conclusion."

Farajun says while
Asigra has some penetration in the SMB space, the high cost of entry for its
software has naturally limited the depth of that penetration.

In addition, the
company in recent years has noticed that subscription-based backup and recovery
services have gained a lot of traction, he says.

Backup and recovery,
in fact, are among the most popular services delivered remotely by MSPs, and
managed services platform vendor Zenith Infotech has used backup and recovery
as a focal point of its market approach. Other vendors, including EMC and Symantec, have their own remote backup
and recovery initiatives.

Asigra gives partners the option of running the software at the partner’s own
data center or leveraging another Asigra partner’s co-location center. Through
either arrangement, says Farajun, the data resides at a partner facility, not
the vendor’s. And this, he says, is a salient point that he hopes will strike a
chord with partners.

Vendors that offer hosting models calling for
the vendors themselves to store customer data could easily cut the partner out
of the process at some point if the vendors decide they want to deal with the
customers directly, Farajun says.

This prospect, of course, is one of the
biggest fears for channel companies that have embraced the SAAS (software as a
service) model. SAAS can turn a partner into a mere agent for the software
vendor, unless the partner succeeds in adding integration and ongoing
maintenance services for the customer.

New York-based IT and consulting services company
Bluewolf’s approach to SAAS includes making available to partners an
integration tool that allows them to take charge of integrating SAAS
application with legacy software. As added insurance, Bluewolf recently added
remote monitoring to the tool so that Bluewolf technicians can keep an eye on
integration projects and intervene when problems arise.

Click here to read more about Bluewolf’s SAAS integration tool.

Under the managed services model, partners
retain control of the customer relationship and use the managed services
software as a conduit for delivering the services remotely.

Farajun says the Asigra approach allows MSP
partners to control their own destiny. Partners control the customer data and
have the flexibility to add more capacity as the needs of their customers

The more terabytes partners add, Farajun says,
the more profitable they become, so they have an incentive to keep scaling up.
Profit margins for partners of 40 or 50 percent are common, he says, adding
that it’s not uncommon for partners to hit the 60 percent mark as they get more

Farajun says Asigra’s new pricing model is
straightforward and designed to ease adoption, deployment and management of the