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Lester Keizer and Alan McDonald were looking for the same solution: an affordable, enterprise-class storage, backup, archiving and business continuity solution for the SMB market. When their paths crossed at Ingram Micro’s spring 2006 Venture Tech Network event, they realized that a partnership between their two VARs—Keizer’s ConnectingPoint in Las Vegas, and McDonald’s AllConnected in Simi Valley, Calif.—could more easily design, develop and deliver their solution to the SMB markets they were focusing on.

“We thought, what better thing for our customers than to have two VARs working together on a solution? A solution that’s by VARs, for VARs,” Keizer said. The company they founded, XiloCore, also lends its name to the solution they started selling to their own clients, and that they are now offering to VARs focused on the SMB market.

The solution consists of an Asigra storage appliance located at the customer’s site, Keizer explained. That appliance takes regular snapshots of not only a customer’s data, but of his or her entire network infrastructure—software, hardware profiles, system data, storage space—and transmits that data to two off-site vaults, one in Las Vegas, the other in Simi Valley, Keizer said. The data transmissions use 256-bit encryption to ensure the information is safe, he said. Both the primary and secondary data vaults are then replicated, synchronized and the data is stored in emergency standby silos in a virtualized environment using VMware’s virtualization technology, Keizer said.

In the event of a disaster, Keizer explains, all a customer needs to access his data and restore his business is an Internet connection. “Whether they’re in a Starbucks, a hotel somewhere or in their homes, as long as they have Internet access, they use our Citrix management environment to access and restore their data and get their business back up and running,” he said.

Keizer’s ConnectingPoint clients were eager to buy into the solution, he said. He currently has 98 percent of his 35 managed service clients on the XiloCore solution, and has made approximately $250,000 on the product, he said. The XiloCore solution requires a $1,500 up-front investment and then costs $399 per month, Keizer said, extremely affordable for small businesses. “We’re selling it owner to owner as an insurance product. They can understand that … they can get this business continuity offering and have peace of mind at night,” he said. “This is like a temporary spare tire. If there’s a flat tire, I’ve got the temporary spare in my car—it’ll get me to my destination…I can maintain my business,” Keizer said.

XiloCore also includes features like autonomic healing, Keizer said, which continually scans for file corruption, and retransmits original documents to replace any corrupted files, he said. The system also allows VARs and customers to provide end-to-end testing that simulates a disaster and shows customers exactly where and how to access their data in the event of a real disaster. “We’ll work with [customers] to show them that …when a disaster happens, they will know that this works,” Keizer said.

XiloCore can achieve RTOs (restore time objectives) of 12, 24 or 48 hours, depending on a customer’s needs, Keizer said. “The real genius of this offering is we didn’t invent any of the enterprise-level applications we’re using,” Keizer said. “The genius was putting the products and processes together to make it all work, and then simplifying it so the SMB owners wouldn’t have to worry about it,” he said.