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Solution providers can now add a hardware-as-a-service data vaulting service to their portfolios and a monthly recurring revenue stream to their top line thanks to a new alliance between Hewlett-Packard and distributor Avnet.

Avnet Technology Solutions, an operating group of the distributor, has announced the collaboration with HP that offers a new managed service, HP Electronic Vaulting Services.  The managed services arrangement is the first of its kind between Avnet and HP and is available to Avnet’s HP VAR partners in the United States.

The service is designed to serve midmarket companies, providing off-site data backup and recovery support for a monthly fee based on the size of storage required. Three tiers of pricing are available, depending upon the volume of storage needed. Avnet and HP will co-manage the sales channel, and channel partners will retain the customer relationship, according to Charlie Babb, vice president and general manager of Avnet managed services.

"It’s positioned so that when partners go into their existing customers they can sell it as a value-added service," Babb says. "It’s something we’ve been approached by a number of resellers on, and they said it was something they were looking for."

Babb says the companies expect the offering to be most popular with customers who already have their own onsite datacenters but are looking for off-site storage backup. 

"This lets them pay for it as a monthly expense rather than making an investment on a SAN," Babb says. Customers may find the monthly expense more suitable than a big capital expenditure, especially during the current economic slowdown.

Babb says the technology saves space and is secure. It encrypts the data and compresses it two to one, he says. 

HP offers the same service to its top-tier direct enterprise customers, and this will be the first time it is made available to midmarket customers.  HP is currently hosting the service at its backup center, but the new midmarket offering will be migrated to Avnet over the next two months.

"We didn’t want to delay the release [to wait for the migration to be complete] because we’ve gotten a lot of demand for it," Babb says.

HP and Avnet have also put together a marketing website featuring a character called Nigel the butler who explains how he can take care of all of a company’s offsite backup storage needs.