StorageCraft OneXafe Solo hits GA with broader market than first envisioned

While OneXafe Solo's ability to self-install by being plugged in is useful in today’s health conscious environment that same ability to cut MSP costs around original installs attracted partners in the beta who had not worked with StorageCraft before.

The StorageCraft OneXafe Solo

Today, StorageCraft is announcing the General Availability of their OneXafe Solo, a version of their midmarket-focused OneXafe data backup and recovery platform that is based on the converged and clustered technology they acquired with Exablox. OneXafe Solo is targeted at the lower end of the SMB space, and brings the OneXafe technology into the MSP market for the first time. The just-concluded beta produced some surprises, however, attracting MSPs who had not bothered with smaller customers before, who see new opportunities with OneXafe Solo because its plug-in install capability foregoes the need for the MSP to send out a tech to install it.

“When I speak to my MSPS, many have walked away from this part of the SMB in the past,” said Andy Zollo, VP of Worldwide Sales at StorageCraft. “The cost of sending people out to do the original install meant that it took too long to make money because of the economics. Now, because the customer installs this by plugging it in, the MSP doesn’t have to send an engineer to the site. There’s also — no cost to the MSP until you plug it in. So the cost is zero until the customer can be billed as well.”

Those economics have made the OneXafe Solo attractive to some larger MSPs who had not been working with StorageCraft before.

“When we originally announced this last summer, we were talking about smaller MSPs being critical in the Go-to-Market,” said Shridar Subramanian, Vice President, Product Management and Marketing at StorageCraft. “During the beta, we saw the OneXafe Solo being used in enterprise ROBO [Remote Office/ Branch Office] uses cases as well, and that ROBO interest led to interest from larger MSPs.”

“Our existing MSP base is the perfect target market for this, but we also found that some larger MSPs who serve distributed enterprise networks were interested,” Zollo said. “One of them, in southern Europe, focuses on pharmacies – over 1000 of them. Rather than send an engineer to the site, they just had the customer plug it in. From there, it discovers the systems and installs itself. It’s ideal for that retail type of customer.

“This definitely spans the partner gamut from very small guys to larger MSPs,” Zollo added. “It gives many new opportunities they would have walked away from before. We will find new ones as we get into the field who we haven’t even thought about before. During the beta in Europe, partners we had never spoken with before had been buying some of our seed units.”

OneXafe Solo’s distinctiveness here comes from its extreme simplicity. The device can stream data directly to the cloud through a simple internet connection. When it is plugged in, it configures itself, and is simple to manage from that point.

“It is an extremely simple plug and play concept for the MSP,” Subramanian said.

When the OneXafe Solo was announced last summer, it was intended to become generally available in Q4. Instead, StorageCraft had a longer beta period than planned.

“We decided to have the beta be more global and cover a lot more partners,” Subramanian said. “We had 80 plus beta units out there. We wanted to go through the entire cycle and ensure everything was perfect. We did get some very good feedback during the beta that we incorporated into the product.”

This included several enhancements to the user interface.

“They wanted to see a progress bar which indicated how fast data was being replicated into the cloud,” Subramanian noted. “In addition, most of our alerts were being sent through an RMM integration like ConnectWise, and they wanted to be able to get their email alerts directly and not through the RMM.”

Subramanian noted that it’s essentially impossible to design a perfect UI, and that given this constraint, they are very happy with theirs.

“Even the best UI in the world will only address about 60% of what people want, because everyone has different workflows,” he said.

StorageCraft is touting OneXafe solo as ideally suited for the coronavirus environment because of the advantages that its direct to cloud design has in limiting human involvement, and in protecting home based workers. The coronavirus is, hopefully, a very temporary thing, but Subramanian said that the product’s ability to support people working from home will endure.

“When working from home, this product is extremely applicable, because companies want to make sure that all their data in those offices is still protected,” he said. “Customers can replicate all data from all over to the StorageCraft cloud. It doesn’t matter where the machine is running. They do have the option of connecting a USB drive to it or keeping a drive in the device to keep data locally,  but direct to cloud is the default option, and the recommended option.”

OneXafe Solo is generally available now, and is billed through a monthly subscription that aligns with an MSP’s business model by charging for the number of machines that are protected.