Business continuity, Channel partner programs, CSPs, Storage

Cloud Backup Reinvented. Again

That headline is about two years overdue. Amid fierce competition and falling storage prices, cloud backup service providers have evolved their marketing messages, business models and channel solutions -- pushing hard into so-called resilient infrastructure, business continuity and more.

Further complicating matters, the big cloud providers (Amazon, Google, Microsoft) have gradually added low-cost or free backup services to their public cloud platforms. While those offerings may lack many bells and whistles for partners, aggressive pricing and "good enough" product capabilities have attracted some partners onto those platforms.

The Cloud Backup Landscape

Still, IT service providers engage a range of players -- many of which are still growing. They include:

Arcserve: Originally developed by Cheyenne Software in the 1990s, Arcserve got lost in the crowd under CA Technologies' ownership for nearly 20 years. By 2014, CA sold the Arcserve business to Marlin Equity Partners, a global investment firm. Gerard Kubisiak -- an IBM and Oracle veteran -- joined as VP of worldwide sales in February 2015, essentially emerging as the company's channel chief. By July, Arcserve cloud emerged -- allowing partners to purchase annual subscriptions for on-premises appliances and/or Arcserve's cloud.

Axcient: Series E funding for $25 million arrived in February 2015. Few companies raise five rounds of venture capital, but CEO Justin Moore says the company remains focused on building a sustainable organization for the long-haul.

Carbonite: A CEO change and a hostile takeover bid from J2 Global have dominated some of Carbonite's headlines in 2015. David Hauser, senior director of channel sales and marketing, exited in December 2014 and surfaced at PlumChoice -- which is increasingly focused on the Internet of Things. Back at Carbonite, business seems to be going well; SMB bookings rose 43 percent in Q2 2015, though overall revenues rose only about 12 percent to $34 million vs Q2 2014.

Continuum Managed Services: The company successfully pushed beyond RMM and NOC services, initially leveraging a BDR partnership with Datto. But an acquisition coupled with R&D allowed Continuum to launch Continuity247 in early 2015. Grapevine chatter says Continuum enjoys strong growth this year... It's a safe bet CEO Michael George will provide a BDR strategy and momentum update during the company's Navigate 2015 conference later this month.

Datto: Former VMware CTO Steve Herrod is working closely with Datto CEO Austin McChord to keep driving growth. Datto acquired Backupify in December 2014 -- connecting the dots between SMB data protection and cloud application protection for and more. Herrod also is an investor in Datto. My bet is he and McChord are charting a potential path to IPO... but not in a reckless "get their tomorrow" way. The journey will include several new milestones, including Datto's first router -- dubbed Datto Network Appliance (DNA). It's expected to launch in the fall of 2015.

Intronis: Rick Faulk has been chairman and CEO since March 2013. With good U.S. penetration, the next potential move likely involves international expansion. It seems like Intronis's financial backers are taking a long-term view. OpenView Venture Partners originally invested in Intronis in 2007 -- eight years ago, a relatively long time horizon for a VC investment. Greenspring Associates joined OpenView in another funding round in 2012. More recently, the company has been pushing the EchoPlatform of solutions and an all-you-can-eat pricing model.

OwnBackup: Former Intronis CEO Sam Gutmann joined this cloud backup provider in April 2015. Instead of focusing on PC- or server-based backup to the cloud, OwnCloud's specialty is cloud-to-cloud backup for such services as and ServiceNow. A Datto partnership emerged earlier this year.

Veritas: One of the early pioneers of on-premises backup, Veritas (under Symantec's ownership) somehow stumbled amid the shift to cloud storage and cloud security. Symantec in August announced a definitive agreement to sell Veritas to The Carlyle Group. We'll be watching to see what that means for the company's storage partners.

Whom Did I Miss?: OK, folks. In terms of day-to-day blogging I'm diving back into the market now. Which cloud backup providers did I overlook from your laundry list of options? Which ones will attract more funding, build lasting partnerships and stand the test of time? I'm all ears...

All Those Clouds

Amid all those players (plus the ones I still need to investigate...), don't forget about public cloud providers like Amazon Backup and Recovery, Microsoft Azure Cloud Backup Services and Google Cloud Storage.

Generally speaking, the big cloud providers aren't as partner friendly in terms or really holding your hand. But that has been changing in recent months. Google hosted a partner gathering in February 2015 and Amazon has been courting MSPs for more than two years or so. That push will continue at AWS:Reinvent 2015 (Oct. 6-9, Las Vegas).

Overall, cloud backup isn't going away. In fact, it's becoming ubiquitous. The thing that's disappearing? Basic backup and restore pitches.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.