StorageCraft targets midmarket with converged OneXafe platform for both primary and secondary storage

StorageCraft is entering a market segment where other companies already play, although StorageCraft does have some interesting points of technology differentiation. The big difference though is that other vendors in this space are focused on the enterprise, while StorageCraft OneXafe is aimed at – and priced for – the midmarket.

Today, StorageCraft is announcing the availability of their new OneXafe converged platform, which leverages the Exablox technology that StorageCraft acquired last year. OneXafe is offered as three appliances, with two priced starting under $USD 14,000, and with the most expensive model, an all-flash offering, starting at under $USD 30,000. The launch is deemed of sufficient importance that StorageCraft has made significant changes to their partner program in order to support it. Its importance also somewhat upstages StorageCraft’s announcement of ShadowXafe, the next generation of their venerable SMB-focused ShadowProtect solution.

“Some parts of what we are announcing are similar to what Rubrik and Cohesity already have, but there are key differentiators for this market space we are going after, which is mid-size companies,” said Shridar Subramanian, vice president marketing and product management at StorageCraft.

OneXafe is a converged scale-out object-based storage and data protection platform that handles both primary and secondary storage, protects both physical and virtual environments, and also provides the ability to replicate to StorageCraft Cloud Services, as well as provide cloud-based Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service [DRaaS].

“OneXafe brings Exablox’s data management expertise from OneBlox, and StorageCraft’s data protection strengths together, into a scale-out, easy-to-manage, plug- and-play unit,” Subramanian said.

The object-based file system delivers universal data access by providing NFS and SMB access to users and applications for primary and secondary storage.

“The original Exablox could also support primary workloads and primary applications, so OneXafe does not just handle converged secondary data but also active data as well,” Subramanian indicated. “The other players in the space are just secondary data. That’s the first point of differentiation. You can run active VM workloads out of this, which they cannot.”

StorageCraft is asserting OneXafe’s ability to deliver industry-leading recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, with a patented VirtualBoot feature that provides terabyte virtual machine recovery in less than a second, both on-prem and in the cloud.

“There is an enormous amount of flexibility here,” Subramanian said. ‘OneXafe provides core data storage as well as data protection, But customers can also buy OneXafe without the data protection, where we don’t turn it on. That means customers, or partners, who have strong relationships with specific vendors can maintain those, and still deploy this. That’s in addition to the very flexible recovery mechanism itself, and the ability to protect on physical and virtual environments.”

The scale-out architecture lets a customer start out small, with a single node cluster and a few terabytes of capacity, then non-disruptively scale to multiple petabytes when required, without the need for re-configuration.

“Just like OneBlox, OneXafe can start with a single appliance and it takes just a few minutes to set it up,” Subramanian said.

The management layer is the StorageCraft OneSystem cloud-based management platform, which securely manages a customer’s entire OneXafe infrastructure from any location or web browser.  It provides a global view of an organization’s storage infrastructure, including reporting and trending of storage capacity, data reduction ratios, remote replication, SLA policies and recovery point objectives. It also continuously monitors the health and status of the OneXafe platform and data environment, including real-time hardware, software, and network connectivity updates.

There are three OneXafe appliances. The two in the 4400 series, the 4417 and the 4412, provide converged data protection and primary storage for unstructured data, archiving, and video repositories. The OneXafe 4400 starts at less than USD$14,000 for a 144TB configuration.

The OneXafe 5412 is an all-flash version, providing converged data protection for instant application recovery requirements, and high-performance unstructured data to serve primary virtual server production application needs. It starts at less than USD$30,000 for 38TB.

The pricing is a huge differentiation compared to StorageCraft’s enterprise-focused competitors, although Subramanian emphasized that this is not simply a price play.

“There is a significant price advantage, because they are priced for the enterprise, while we are priced for the mid-sized enterprise,” he said. “Price is only part of the package, however. We are emphasizing innovation and democratization here, and we lead with the ease of use, ease of deployment,  being able to deliver primary storage as well, and the flexible recovery capabilities.”

At the same time they announced OneXafe for the midmarket, StorageCraft is also announcing ShadowXafe, the next-generation of their legacy ShadowProtect data protection solution, which protects more than a million servers worldwide. While aimed at SMB customers rather than midmarket, ShadowXafe also provides the same ease of use enhancements as OneXafe, including the StorageCraft OneSystem management and the optional DRaaS integration.

“Customers at the lower end of the market with a few hundred VMs can apply ShadowXafe,” Subramanian said. “For customers with multiple hundreds to 10,000 VMs, that’s where OneXafe comes in.”

StorageCraft sells entirely through partners, and Subramanian said that they should be excited with OneXafe’s strong potential for the midmarket.

“There is already validation for this market and use case and many customers in the midsize market,” he said. “It’s not something that partners have to evangelize any more, as there is already an end user interest. We can bring many differentiators to the table, and that should be very exciting to the partners.”

Jeannine Edwards, StorageCraft’s Senior Director of Channel Marketing, emphasized OneXafe’s suitability for both traditional VAR partners and MSPs.

“This provides the ability to open up the market to our MSPs who have been standing behind ShadowProtect for years and years, and will allow them to grow their base,” she said. “It will also appeal to our VAR community working in the midmarket, with an offering that is really price-competitive, and which can help customers standardize and drive efficiencies in the back office.”

Edwards also indicated that StorageCraft rebooted their channel program last week, specifically to support the new solutions offerings.

“In addition to the new product, we are also standing up a refreshed partner program to support it, and have created a new Partner Success Program,” Edwards said. “It’s a traditional table stakes program, but it’s very easy to work with, and it now encompasses all our products.”