HP Targets Backup-as-a-Service with StoreOnce VSA

Sean Kinney, director of product marketing, HP Storage

Sean Kinney, director of product marketing, HP Storage

With the move to offer its StoreOnce backup system as a virtual appliance, Hewlett-Packard says its channel partners will have a path to develop their own backup-as-a-service offering without significant upfront costs.

At its Discover user and partner conference in Las Vegas, the company introduced the StoreOnce Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA), extending the virtualized version of its storage platform from online storage to backup and recovery scenarios. With the launch, it says it sees three primary audiences: remote offices and branch offices of enterprise customers; small and medium-sized businesses that will run the virtual appliance on servers that otherwise sit idle overnight; and service providers, particularly smaller SPs.

While partners will be able to sell the product into the first two markets, it’s solution providers building out their own backup infrastructure where HP sees most of the opportunity.

“Service providers want to drive more revenue per customer, and backup-as-a-service is a logical next step,” said Sean Kinney, director of product marketing for HP Storage. “StoreOnce VSA gives a lot of small and medium-sized service provides the economic model to support doing their own BaaS offering.”

Partners that embrace the concept will have the option of either investing in a storage array for their own data center, to which their BaaS customers’ systems will replicate, or running instances of the StoreOnce VSA on x86 servers in their own data center, allowing them to add capacity only as their backup service grows.

“It aligns costs to revenues very quickly, and very linearly,” Kinney said.

The virtual version of the backup platform can run on any VMware virtual machine, and the company is quick to point out its well-served running in a VM on a server that sees heavy traffic during the workday, but is seldom busy during late night backup windows, such as Exchange and other user-facing application servers.

To help partners market their would-be BaaS offerings, the company is offering 60-day free trials of the virtual machines, meaning that partners can essentially offer customers a two-month trial run before having to monetize the opportunity.

Cloud-based backup and recovery have become a staple for VARs and MSPs in recent years, but the cloud model faces some challenges in markets outside the U.S., where security, latency, and privacy concerns may lead to businesses balking and handing over their backups to cloud backup providers with U.S.-based data centers. As a result, many have opened data centers in other nations where they see opportunity, or are working to do so, but the coverage is far from complete, even in markets as close to the U.S. as Canada. For solution providers serving SMB customers in those markets, the ability to “roll their own” backup service without having to break open the bank for a data center full of enterprise arrays is a tempting value proposition.

The StoreOnce VSA is due to debut in July, and the company said it will make a version for Microsoft’s HyperV hypervisor at an unspecific future date. The version supports up to 10 TB of customer data.