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Like it or not Amazon Web Services is now a force to be reckoned with inside and out of the channel. In fact, the only real question facing solution providers in the channel is how to harness massive cloud services such as AWS.

Case in point is Fronde, which just launched a hybrid cloud backup service using software from Asigra that runs both on-premise and in the AWS cloud. That approach allows Fronde to still offer faster recovery point and time objectives using local storage, while taking advantage of AWS cloud storage prices to lower the cost of storing data long term.

This hybrid approach to cloud backup is becoming more common, according to Eran Farajun, executive vice president of Asigra, a provider of backup and recovery software. In fact, it’s one of the primary use cases for AWS by solution providers—which, when surveyed by Asigra, overwhelmingly asked for AWS support, he said.

As intriguing as this model is, however, the thing to watch long term is the impact replication across the cloud will have on the overall data protection market. Many IT organizations are now looking at running current images of the same application on-premise and in the cloud, and then replicating data between them.

In the event of a disaster, end users are automatically redirected to an instance of any affected applications running in the cloud. That approach doesn’t entirely eliminate the need to back up an image of that application in order to have a pristine version of it that can be fired up in case that app gets injected with malware. But it does mean that the cloud is dramatically altering how organizations think about data protection. Naturally, the fact that virtual machines and storage in the cloud cost so comparatively little has a lot do to with driving those changes, especially in scenarios involving less than 300 terabytes of storage.

However, Farajun pointed out that somebody still has to set up and manage that process. More often than that not that somebody is going to be the local solution provider. That is why it’s important for the solution provider to lead with the service rather than the amount of gigabytes to be protected, Farajun said.

As a provider of agentless backup software, Asigra isn’t particularly wedded to any one cloud service provider, Farajun said. Going forward, though, a lot more of the data protection services the company’s channel partners will offer will most certainly involve platforms such as AWS.

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.