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CommVault is hoping to beef up its partner ranks by formalizing its data protection services program targeted at managed service providers who already offer online backup.

The move is part of CommVault’s effort to win partners and customers, as it goes head to head with giant rival Symantec, which plans to roll out its own line of online backup and recovery services this year.

CommVault, based in Oceanport, N.J., sells its SAAS (software as a service) offerings exclusively through the channel, but has never had a formalized channel program for partners in this space before. The new program will offer partners the capability of offering subscription-based data protection and archive software as a service.

The vendor also recently made public some of its longstanding MSP/SAAS partners. They include BluePoint, Canada Web Hosting, CrystalTech Web Hosting, DBSi and Rackspace Managed Hosting.

To read about Symantec’s SAAS delay, click here.

Another one is Incentra, an MSP that has worked with CommVault for five years using its Galaxy Data Protection software as the foundation for its SAAS offering. This week the company extended its partnership agreement with the vendor. The new three-year agreement also includes CommVault’s Simpana software.

Incentra, based in Boulder, Colo., is one of a handful of MSPs that CommVault is highlighting as it takes its formal program to market.

Dave West, vice president of business development and marketing at CommVault, said that there are no minimum requirements for partners to get admitted to CommVault’s program, but the company would check the viability of any partner before admission to the program.

“We have a flexible subscription-based model,” he said. “We now have something that is repeatable and scalable.”

CommVault set up the subscription model with partners in mind, according to Eric Rice, senior director of strategic alliances at CommVault. He said that software installations can be cost prohibitive. The subscription model available from CommVault can be based on the number of servers being protected, enabling the service provider to customize billing for the customer.