New Asigra appliance to hedge against coming flat zero backup prices

In a grim future of zero backup pricing, Asigra’s CEO told partners their future profitability – and survival – depends on their ability to build trust with the customer, and on their ability to sell additional services around it. An archiving capability, centred on Asigra’s new appliance, is a key part of this.

David Farajun slider

David Farajun, Asigra’s CEO

TORONTO – Today at the Asigra Global Partner Summit here, David Farajun, the company’s founder and CEO, kicked off the keynotes with his vision of Asigra’s future, in a grim world of backup in which software prices will only continue to go down.

“The price is really going down, and we will eventually come to the stage of a flat, zero price,” Farajun told his audience of Asigra partners. “The question will be if you would like to do business. If the bottom line is not positive, give it to the competition with blessings.”

After imparting that cheery welcome to partners, Farajun dealt with the problem further on two levels – avoiding the price trap by building trust with customers, and hedging against the continued software price decline by differentiating.

“Three words here – trust, value and price,” he said. “When price becomes flat, there is no differentiator between you and your competition. To get that differentiation, you have to include any new service or product that your competition cannot compete with you on. That means some kind of additional hardware or additional services. Otherwise, if you come to the stage where you don’t have any ROI, you have to just move on.”

Building trust is the key, Farajun said.

“My past 30 years in business, I didn’t disappoint one customer, because I built that trust,” he said. “If you don’t do that, the customer will not listen to you. If you do, they will listen even if there is a problem. Achieving this takes a long time. But if you just impose your own vision on the customer, there will be a negative reaction.”

Building the trust makes you able to start talking about prices, even if your price is not the lowest.

“If you build the trust, you will be able to start talking about prices,” Farajun said. “If you start talking about prices first, they will not trust you. Even if you give it away for free, they will think you have a surprise for them later. Building trust will build the time for your customer to listen to you. Then you will have the chance to talk about price.”

Farajun also said the price decline is happening within the context of a shifting market for backup.

“80 per cent of the market is moving to virtualization,” he said. “We see the market as moving to VM replication first, with backup being second in the process. Third is archiving.”

Establishing a strong presence in archiving is Asigra’s next step of innovation, Farajun said.

“Our next step is archiving,” he stressed. “The customer is always looking for a cheaper storage medium. We have the prototype now to convert data to a native format, so the customer can defuse the problem of being locked into a specific software. That might sound strange, since you are in software, but you need to give that freedom to your customers. Just because they can go somewhere else doesn’t mean they will, if you build that trust with the customer. This gateway to a large amount of storage for archiving – all from one appliance – that will be Asigra’s next step of innovation.”

The technology for this will come from Asigra’s upcoming 13.2 release.

“With archiving in Native format, you will be able to take any current version of the backup and copy it out to LTS tape,” said Carlos DaSilva, Asigra’s Director of Engineering. “You will also have a searchable index for both metadata and content.”

The new appliance is the Asigra Converged Data Protection Appliance for Managed Service Providers.

Since Asigra is a software vendor, and not a hardware specialist, they will cover that issue by partnering with Avnet Embedded, part of the Avnet Electronics Marketing division. Avnet Embedded will package and ship Asigra Appliances, and will provide the hardware-related support.

The fully software and hardware platform-agnostic appliance supports all cloud deployment models, including public, hybrid and private. It protects all customer data to a single scalable repository, regardless of data source location, and offers integrated VM replication and mobile endpoint geo-location and remote wipe capabilities.

Three appliance models – 1U, 2U and 4U – based on Supermicro servers running FreeBSD and ZFS, will be available. The 4U Converged Data Protection Appliance features 96TB of billable capacity and includes Dual Intel E5-2630 v3, 2.4 GHz CPU with 8 Cores, 128GB DDR4 RAM, 36 X 4TB SATA 3.5” 7K2 (Data HDDs), Quad-Port 10GBaseT Ethernet, and FreeBSD 10.1 Operating System with ZFS File System.

“This appliance will be a gateway to a different kind of storage,” Farajun said.

Pricing for the appliances starts at less than $USD 5000.00, with 1TB Free Forever of Asigra Cloud Backup software available on the first appliance purchase. General availability is scheduled for August, 2015.