Business continuity, MSP, Content, Networking, Storage

Datto Nears Continuity for Microsoft Azure Launch

Tim Weller, CEO, Datto
Tim Weller, CEO, Datto

Datto is preparing to dive into the Microsoft Azure data protection market -- a fast-growing area where numerous enterprise-class cloud, backup and disaster recovery (BDR) companies already compete. But Datto CEO Tim Weller believes his company's go-to-market focus -- purely MSPs -- will be a differentiator.

During Datto's Q2 2021 earnings call on August 11, 2021, Weller told Wall Street financial analysts who track the company ($MSP):

"With the upcoming launch of Datto Continuity for Microsoft Azure, MSPs will get Datto security and reliability with client applications that are entirely in Azure, all with a simple user interface they know and trust. Datto Continuity for Microsoft Azure is just wrapping up a successful beta program and is on track to begin commercial deployment with early adopters soon with general availability later this year."

Weller drew a clear line between traditional Microsoft 365 data protection and Azure data protection. Every MSP and virtually every SMB is running or supporting Microsoft 365 in some form, he asserted. So data protection is a natural add-on for Microsoft 365 services such as Exchange and Teams.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Data Protection: Will MSPs Monetize, Protect IaaS?

In stark contrast, Datto's move into the Azure market provides the opportunity to teach MSPs about the Azure industry and associate customer needs, Weller noted. There is an initial target set of MSPs that are familiar with Azure and want Datto's data protection services, Weller added -- but it sounds like Datto realizes Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) data protection is a different conversation than Software as a Service (SaaS) data protection.

Indeed, most distributors have been striving to accelerate Azure and/or Amazon Web Services (AWS) consumption in the SMB channel for five or more years. Ingram Micro Cloud's AWS and Azure partner efforts, for instance, extend back roughly a decade.

More recently, Azure in the channel reached a potential tipping point when venture-backed startup Nerdio greatly simplified Azure-based desktop as a service (DaaS) for MSPs. Nerdio also ranks among Microsoft's initial Windows 365 cloud partners.

Datto: Potential Azure Data Protection Rivals

Meanwhile, Datto could face competition from enterprise- and mid-market-focused data protection companies that already offer Azure data protection services. Names like Cohesity, Druva and Rubrik (among many others) come to mind. Many of the world's Top 250 Public Cloud MSPs have embraced those enterprise-class services.

Plus, additional startups are moving into the Azure data protection market. One name to know is OwnBackup, which just raised $240 million and is preparing to extend from Salesforce data protection to Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365 data protection services.

Still, Weller believes Datto is well-positioned to launch an Azure-based data protection service for MSPs. During the earnings call, Weller noted:

"The beta has really been about getting that uniqueness... We think there's a big universe of MSPs out there that are already using Azure and not happy with their current, either primary backup solution or even in the rare case with whatever they are doing on continuity. So that's a more readymade market. The first quarter will be a little more hand-to-hand combat and trying to feel our way into the market. But the beta response has been fantastic."

Commercial deployment with early adopters will begin soon, with general availability later this year, Weller said. He did not disclose subscription pricing models or an exact launch data for the cloud service.

Datto Networking, Datto Commerce: No Update

During the earnings call, Datto did not mention its networking business. Nor did the company mention the new Datto Commerce platform.

Datto acquired a networking business called OpenMesh in 2017. The product line spans cloud-managed WiFi, switches and edge routers. Datto's initial plan was to compete against Cisco Meraki in the channel, but to the best of ChannelE2E's knowledge the company has not provided business performance metrics for the networking effort. Annual research from Auvik Networks suggests MSPs continue to manage dozens of different network hardware product lines from numerous vendors.

Meanwhile, Datto Commerce has been available to MSPs in North America since April 2021. That platform, based on the $4.4 million Gluh acquisition, is a real-time sales and e-commerce platform that’s designed to accelerate how MSPs quote, sell and procure various products and services. The service was not mentioned during the earnings call.

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.