Axcient, known for its disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) focus, today launched Axcient Fusion -- a converged enterprise cloud for CIOs that want a "complete virtual replication" of network infrastructure. The new Axcient cloud -- which combines server, storage and networks into a single interface -- will lean heavily on MSPs and resellers, the company says.
Axcient has evolved quite a bit over the years. The company worked closely with MSPs during the early days of cloud backup, and formally extended into the VAR market during a Series E funding round in February 2015. Axcient also worked closely with Hewlett Packard Enterprise over the years, building cloud infrastructure atop HPE's ProLiant server hardware.
BDR Cloud Services and MSPs
Still, Axcient has faced stiff competition in the IT channel. When Zenith Infotech imploded in 2012, a lengthy list of cloud-centric backup and disaster recovery (BDR) companies moved in to pursue MSPs as partners. The scramble for market share included Axcient, Continuum, Datto, Doyenz (since acquired), EVault (now owned by Carbonite), Intronis MSP Solutions (now owned by Barracuda Networks), Zetta and additional players.
Axcient's strategy, I sense, has evolved quite a bit since CEO Justin Moore launched the company in 2006. In recent years, I sense that the company has attempted to balance direct and indirect sales. Looking ahead, I'm curious to know if Axcient's new enterprise cloud services are:
- multi-tenant for VARs and MSPs to manage, or if the services are meant to be resold into corporate accounts, basically allowing businesses to manage their own cloud services?
- Enterprise-centric, or are there mid-market and SMB opportunities here?
Axcient says the new cloud services are a game changer for CIOs. The reason:
"Currently, CIOs cobble in other functionalities — like archiving and compliance, or data warehousing and analytics — as disparate and siloed legacy and point solutions. Axcient's cloud-based platform completely shifts this paradigm by creating a complete virtual replication of network infrastructure. From cybersecurity to business continuity to developers tapping the potential of working in replicated environment's, this is an industry first."
That's the pitch. We're poking around to learn how Axcient's approach is unique in the cloud market. And we're wondering if the company is pivoting a bit to ride the hyperconvergence and/or software-defined waves, where emerging players like Nutanix are still striving to launch IPOs in late 2016 or 2017.
Complete Clouds for MSPs, Resellers
A lengthy list of companies has attempted to build out complete cloud and infrastructure services for partners and end-customers. Artisan Infrastructure, for instance, pushes a pure channel model for its data center, business continuity and security services. And giants like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud are opening their arms to partners. At least 50 key MSPs, for instance, are moving customer workloads to AWS, ChannelE2E estimates.
Overall, I expected the data protection market to shift from vendor-centric data centers toward public clouds like AWS. But in some ways I've been wrong -- especially as Datto (particularly Backupify) and Dropbox have moved workloads away from AWS and into their own respective data centers.
As for Axcient, we're checking to see just how much of the IT cloud stack the company has built on its own -- and what that means for partners. Stay tuned for more...