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Asigra aims to cut storage costs for cloud backup software partners

Asigra is offering a free software-defined architecture designed to lower cloud service providers' back-end storage infrastructure costs.

In conjunction with the 2014 Asigra Partner Summit, being held June 16-18 in Toronto, the channel-led cloud backup, recovery and restore vendor today announced a free software-defined architecture option designed to lower cloud service providers' back-end infrastructure costs and increase their competitive stance.

Asigra Software-Defined Data Protection (SDDP) is the company's approach to help partners reduce back-end storage infrastructure costs and complexity in delivering Asigra Cloud Backup, its cloud backup, recovery and restore application.

According to Eran Farajun, executive vice president at Asigra, the company took on the engineering task at the request of its cloud service providers (CSPs), who complained about significant costs in their back-end storage infrastructure, whether they opted for a self-architected solution or a purpose-built one.

"This announcement is about is software, not hardware. A CSP going with Asigra's software-defined approach -- which is an open source solution -- and commodity hardware can save 50% of infrastructure costs," he said. "We're doing the engineering for free for our partners and handing it to them as an ISO image file that can be downloaded from our website or put on a USB stick and shipped to them," he added.

This is unique among backup providers. Anything that reduces costs for MSPs is good.
Dave Simpsonsenior analyst, 451 Research

The free offering essentially eliminates the entire software stack -- operating system, file system, virtualization, database, monitoring and integration -- and the specialty skills required for ongoing management, the company said.

Asigra replaced the stack with open source software, using FreeBSD with ZFS inside as the file system.

The open source software runs on the disk repository used by Asigra's provider partners. The Asigra Cloud Backup software on the client end has not changed.

Some cost reduction advantages of using the software-defined architecture, according to Asigra, include reductions in backup vault integration time from three to four days to one hour; faster time to market with auto-configuration and deployment; support for large data sets and files of various sizes; ease of administration; redundant architecture for high availability, built-in multi-tenancy for telco-level scalability per account or per multiple accounts; phone, Web and on-premises service and support per agreement; 100% Asigra accountability and support for backup software stack; and ease of installation.

Partners who opt to use Asigra SDDP can install it on commodity hardware, inside a virtual environment on-site or in a third-party cloud environment.

"Our goal is to drive down costs for our CSPs so they can make more margins, free up some money that they could allocate to marketing our solution, and grow their business," Farajun said.

About 60% of Asigra's channel partners -- 300 to 400 -- are located in North America. The company's channel ecosystem ranges from billion-dollar-plus partners to midsize CSPs with revenues in the range of $250 million to $1 billion, to smaller CSPs with $5 million to $250 million in revenue.

According to Farajun, partners generally fall into one of three business models: hosting providers, business continuity and disaster recovery providers, and value-added resellers.

He expects existing Asigra partners to test SDDP in conjunction with existing storage infrastructure and to meld in the new offering as they retire hardware.

New CSPs are in the best position to benefit from SDDP because they haven't yet invested in storage infrastructure. "These companies will see SDDP as a competitive advantage to leapfrog existing service providers," Farajun said.

At last year's partner summit, Asigra launched recovery-based licensing that charged end users for the amount of data they recover instead of the capacity backed up. While that model lowers the cost for end users, it didn't necessarily make it cheaper on providers, and not all of Asigra's partners have embraced it. The new software architecture at this year's summit is strictly aimed at lowering providers' costs, although they may choose to pass those savings to their customers.

"This is unique among backup providers," said Dave Simpson, senior analyst for 451 Research. "Anything that reduces costs for MSPs [managed service providers] is good."

SearchDataBackup senior news director Dave Raffo contributed to this story.

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