Arrow, Artisan debut NetApp cloud data protection service

Arrow ECS and IaaS provider Artisan launch a NetApp cloud backup service for partners that want to transition NetApp customers to the cloud.

Cloud-based Data Protection for NetApp is the latest addition to Arrow Electronics' ArrowSphere cloud aggregation marketplace, as part of a strategic partnership between Artisan Infrastructure and Arrow that was announced today.

According to Brian Hierholzer, CEO of Artisan, an Austin, Texas-based wholesale-only provider of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), this is the first partnership between the two companies. The new partnership enables Arrow partners to sell the service -- which includes NetApp data protection infrastructure and a suite of services to speed time to market, simplify billing and contracts, and reduce management overhead -- to their enterprise and to small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers.

The cloud-based Data Protection for NetApp uses native NetApp SnapMirror tools as the foundation for cloud-based data protection.

"A lot of enterprises and SMBs have NetApp boxes on-premises but need a backup option. The problem is that many solutions out there require a third-party solution set," Hierholzer said. "What we've done is put together a native tool set that allows a VAR [value-added reseller] or end-user client to be able to gain control of a cloud-based target virtual filer," he added.

The NetApp cloud data protection service offers native NetApp replication using NetApp's SnapMirror product to extend disaster recovery protection over long distances and NetApp's SnapVault product to provide long-term customer data protection.

The benefit for partners or customers, according to Artisan, is being able to use the native NetApp tool set that they're already familiar with to replicate and mirror their data into the cloud.

Data Protection for NetApp is being sold exclusively through ArrowSphere. As a wholesale-only IaaS provider, Artisan allows VARs and managed service providers to white label the NetApp cloud data protection service.

Artisan is offering partners a 90-day free trial of up to 1 terabyte of capacity for an unlimited number of trials. The service is initially being offered for NetApp Data OnTap's 7-Mode variant, with Cluster Mode, or C-Mode, to follow.

Arrow launched ArrowSphere in five European countries in September 2012, followed by the launch of the ArrowSphere cloud service brokerage and aggregation platform in North America in June 2013.

The ArrowSphere cloud service platform centralizes and automates the billing and provisioning of the distributor's cloud services offerings, which include those for communication and collaboration, business applications, backup, security, storage on demand and unified communications.

ArrowSphere is designed to help partners build and scale their cloud service practice, according to Jim Livingston, vice president and general manager of services for Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions. Since its launch, ArrowSphere has attracted more than 150 Arrow partners worldwide, including more than 30 in the U.S.

Arrow partner Insight Data Center, headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., is a global IT provider that had $5.3 billion in revenue in 2012. According to Douglas Potter, sales engineer, West Region at Insight Enterprises Inc., the company has clients across the spectrum -- from Fortune 100 companies to SMBs -- and the Data Protection for NetApp service will fill a gap for many customers.

"It's particularly challenging for SMBs to afford a full DR site. We're looking for options for these customers and the new cloud Data Protection for NetApp service will be cheaper for these businesses compared with standing up a second site," he said.

The management options and OpEx nature of the service are particularly attractive to Insight.

"We already had a pre-meeting with Arrow about the new service offering and it looks fantastic. We're waiting to hear about the pricing options," Potter said.

With no show-stoppers in sight, the sales engineer expects to become an ArrowSphere partner very soon. The cloud isn’t new to this NetApp channel partner, which offers the InsightCloud Solutions Center, for services related to cloud computing, such as assessments, proofs of concept, provisioning and migration.

But, as the cloud is a relatively new channel for Arrow and its partners, the distributor is working with its partners to address issues around business challenges, such as contracts/billing functions and sales models.

"Basically, we're working with our partners around four key areas: demand, enable, brand and grow," Livingston said.

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