First, a little background: Carbonite acquired EVault -- a midmarket cloud backup service -- in late 2015. The move has helped Carbonite to accelerate its shift from consumer backup services to SMB business continuity services. More recently, Carbonite has launched E2 on-premises backup appliances that link to the company's cloud backup system. The net result is a HaaS (hardware as a service) offering for partners.
"You just plug in the Ethernet cable and you plug in power and it reaches out to the cloud and starts configuring itself," said Ali during an earnings call last week. "It's really quite something. Now we're going to start selling those to the Carbonite customer base. The flip side of that is we have these more sophisticated EVault products that we've already started selling through the Carbonite channels."
Still, the company knows it must balance existing Carbonite and EVault channel ecosystems without diluting the associated partner opportunities. "On the EVault side, we actually had a stagnation of acquiring new EVault partners prior to the acquisition because there was a lot of uncertainty, "said Ali. "In this most recent quarter we've seen a pickup in acquisition of new channel partners and we want to keep doing that on the EVault side."
On the Carbonite side, it's less about acquiring more channel partners and more about getting the channel partners who are most productive to be even more productive, he added.
Momentum Amid Intense Competition
Carbonite's business strategy appears to be paying off. During the company's most recent quarter, bookings rose approximately 44% year-over-year. Also, revenue rose 52 percent year over year.
Still, competition looms around every corner. During this week's ConnectWise IT Nation 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla., thousands of MSPs will explore various cloud solutions. Several major backup and business continuity providers will be on hand. Both eFolder and Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, for instance, are expected to announce special promotions or initiatives at the conference. Moreover, Datto -- a profitable unicorn -- continues to accelerate its momentum with MSPs.
Each of those players offers on-premises appliances that link to cloud backup services. But some upstarts -- including Zetta -- are pushing pure cloud approaches. And options like Continuum Continuity 247 leverage outsourced NOCs (network operations centers) to free MSPs up from the back-end technology.