While converged backup is becoming more common, Infrascale's offering, which includes WAN optimization and a cloud gateway, is unique.
You may not be familiar with Infrascale. The company, initially founded in Australia, moved to the U.S. in 2009-2010 and is now based in El Segundo, and they have white labelled much of their North American business to date, so many people use their technology without ever having heard of them. Now, however, the company is hoping to make news which will make them widely known in the industry. They are announcing the Infrascale Cloud Backup Accelerator, which combines a direct-to cloud backup product, a cloud storage gateway, a WAN acceleration solution, and an integrated purpose-built backup accelerator.
“We started as a direct to cloud backup vendor, and we believed the cloud would blow everything away, which was a little native, so we got into the appliance business as well,” said Ken Shaw, Infrascale’s CEO. “This product is our attempt to have strengths of both worlds in a magic backup box.”
The Cloud Backup Accelerator is an on-premises device that also serves as a specialized cloud backup gateway.
“It’s unique to put cloud storage gateways in a backup appliance,” Shaw said. “That’s superpowerful because of the simplicity of it.”
Because the most critical data can be backed up on-prem, and because of the acceleration, recovery time is extremely fast.
“The end result of this is that you have ten times faster recovery times,” Shaw said. “It is ten times faster than straight to cloud. “It’s not really a hybrid. It’s a cloud solution with hardware in it to turbocharge it.”
Converged backup solutions are becoming more common these days, but the components of the Infrascale solution are unique.
“It comes from a convergence of these four separate buckets, reflecting the fact that Infrascale came from three separate companies, and the technology that developed in the acquired companies has been utilized as well,” Shaw said.
Shaw said that there was a technical hurdle to overcome to design the appliance, but there was an even bigger business hurdle.
“The issue is that backup guys aren’t very good at networking stuff,” he said. “We started as a cloud company and the network was key to what we did, and WAN acceleration was a natural extension of that. So two pretty different technology pools were merged together.”
Shaw also believes this is the kind of solution only a relatively young company could put together,
“Mature companies wouldn’t want to cannibalize existing products for something like this,” he said. “It takes a young company to do that, to bring about this sort of a disruption, of a backup appliance with smart spillover and WAN optimization built in. We won’t be the last to do this, but we are the first to put it together.”
Infrascale sells through channel partners, with MSPs being the core of their business, and some other ISPs involved as well. The partners sell either a direct cloud service or backup appliances depending on the particular scenario. The Cloud Backup Accelerator is also a channel product – but a different channel – although Shaw said its traditional partners will still have access to the technology.
“Our traditional MSPs are focused on the 50-500 employee customer set,” he said. We see the Cloud Backup Accelerator fitting at a higher part of the market. We see the target as the midmarket, the 1000-2000 person company.” They are looking to protect 3-15 TB per site. To this end, the channel for the appliances will be the DMRs, the large volume resellers.
“The DMRs are big and fast out of the gate,” Shaw said. “This is meant to be pushed in value. Every large company could buy this is in a branch office.
“All of the technology will be available as an appliance for our MSPs on the same date, so they won’t miss out, but it won’t sell in the same form factor,” Shaw stated.
Partner pricing for the Cloud Backup Accelerator hardware and three years of hardware and software support is $USD 2,550. Pricing for the cloud storage is $49.95 per month, with a one year minimum, and volume discounts.
Analyst George Crump, president and founder of Storage Switzerland, was impressed with the product itself.
“It’s incredibly complete for somebody you never heard of before,” he said.
“Two things jump out at me,” Crump continued. “Usually when a vendor claims WAN acceleration, they are talking deduplication and compression. But Infrascale is offering real WAN optimization like packet shaping, and that’s huge. The second thing is the level of granularity and policy capability in terms of what stays on the local appliance and what stays on the cloud. Most cloud backups require one entire full backup on premise. No vendor can let the customer decide they want one group of files on-prem, and another group in the cloud, except Infrascale. It’s a huge difference in recovery time if you don’t have to recover a huge file from the cloud, and you need less cloud backup too.”
Crump’s only real reservation was the go-to-market strategy.
“The box is designed for the CDWs of the world, and I do think the traditional channel is better suited to sell this, because they can explain its value, like the savings in cloud backup and recovery time because not all files need go to the cloud,” Crump said. “I don’t know if that kind of value can be conveyed by a catalogue.”