Business continuity, Midmarket, Storage

Infrascale Ramps Up Cloud Disaster Recovery Services Partner Program

Dean Nicolls
Dean Nicolls
Chris Sterbenc
Ken Shaw

Infrascale is making multiple hires across its sales and channel teams, preparing to more aggressively promote cloud disaster recovery services to midmarket channel partners. CEO Ken Shaw, Senior VP of Sales/Channel Chief Chris Sterbenc and VP of Marketing Dean Nicolls shared the strategy with ChannelE2E today.

First, the big picture. Infrascale realizes the backup and disaster recovery (BDR) Market is crowded with technology companies and SMB channel partners. Amid that market reality, Infrascale's platform was purpose-built as an "any-to-any" data protection system -- especially for midmarket customers with roughly 100 to 500 seats (and higher). The platform protects physical and virtual systems across Windows, Linux and Unix, along with endpoints like laptops and tablets. Plus, customers can store their data in any cloud.

Founded in 2011, Infrascale has 155 employees and 750 channel partners. Perhaps most importantly, CEO Shaw says the company's technology is proven. Infrascale channel partners regularly sign six-figure engagements, and two $1 million+ deals have surfaced in recent weeks, Shaw says. "For us, the big three priorities are awareness, awareness and awareness," adds Shaw. "When partners and customers know about us, we win the deal." Among the big differentiators: Infrascale guarantees a 15-minute failover, which is an extremely fast SLA in the age of distributed cloud applications.

Infrascale Partner Program

Infrascale is a channel-first company that funnels all customer leads to partners. Over time, Infrascale wants to double the size of its partner ecosystem -- "but we don't want to go after too many partners," says Shaw. "We'd rather have 1,000 to 1,500 deeply engaged partners instead of 10,000 inactive partners."

LinkedIn: AC Global Risk Chief Revenue Officer Bill Falk

The journey to an enhanced partner program started in January 2016, when the company hired Datto and Kaseya veteran Bill Falk as chief revenue officer (CRO). While Falk ramped up the overall sales strategy, Infrascale realized that it also needed a dedicated channel leader.

That's where Sterbenc enters the picture as the company's newly appointed channel chief. He previously held similar posts at FreedomVoice (acquired by GoDaddy) and Axcient (still independent, and pivoting to the midmarket). "When we found out Chris was on the bench we grabbed him," says Shaw. Indeed, Sterbenc was taking some time off after the FreedomVoice-GoDaddy deal when Infrascale came calling.

Under Sterbenc's direction, a  more formalized, tiered partner program is under development now -- with specific details expected to debut late this summer. "I came here because it was an opportunity to really get into the midmarket," he says. "It's a blue water opportunity at a time when so many other companies are chasing MSPs in the small business sector. That's saturated."

Sterbenc also will work closely with VP of Marketing Dean Nicolls, a B2B veteran who previously held marketing and product posts at Starbucks, LiveOffice, Microsoft and Symantec. "For me, it's all about generating demand for our partners," he says.

Cloud Business Continuity: Competition, Opportunities

Although many of the major BDR (backup and disaster recovery) providers got their start in the consumer or small business markets, some of them are marching toward the midmarket. A few key examples:

  • Axcient recently pivoted from its SMB heritage toward the midmarket, though it sounds like BDR is only one portion of a larger infrastructure strategy.
  • Carbonite in late 2015 acquired EVault and is expected to announce related enhancements for the midmarket sometim this summer.
  • Continuum mainly serves SMB channel partners, but the company's Continuity247 platform has been winning business with hosting providers -- many of which serve midmarket and enterprise customers.
  • Datto Chief Revenue Officer Brooks Borcherding is a midmarket MSP veteran from NaviSite, and he's now managing four growth levers to help MSPs scale into the midmarket. Datto has also launched Flash SSD (solid state drive) technology in recent weeks, which should appeal to more demanding customers.
  • eFolder recently announced SSD technology that will ship later this summer.
  • Intronis MSP Solutions parent Barracuda Networks has a strong midmarket footprint, which could trigger more cross-selling between storage and security in that sector.

Still, it's safe to say that most midmarket customers remain tied to legacy client-server backup systems or point solutions that only protect one area of data. Infrascale, backed by an expanding sales and channel team, hopes to become the de facto next-generation platform for those customers.

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.