Pax8 expands StorageCraft relationship with ShadowXafe and OneXafe Solo

Small business-focused OneXafe Solo just came to General Availability, while ShadowXafe came to market in 2018, and its absence from Pax8’s line card until now has a story behind it.

Ryan Walsh, Pax8’s Chief Channel Officer

Cloud distributor Pax8 has announced that they have expanded their relationship with data protection vendor StorageCraft, to now sell their ShadowXafe and OneXafe Solo offerings to Pax8’s MSP partners.

ShadowXafe is StorageCraft’s next-generation data protection offering, introduced in 2018 alongside their venerable ShadowProtect solution, which has many loyal customers and which they continue to sell and support. OneXafe Solo is a version of their midmarket-focused OneXafe data backup and recovery platform aimed at the small business market. It uses the converged and clustered technology StorageCraft originally acquired with Exablox.

“We first signed StorageCraft up three years ago, and the journey has been a very interesting one,” said Ryan Walsh, Pax8’s Chief Channel Officer. “Their ShadowProtect solution was used by a lot of people. In fact, we were cousins and didn’t realize it, because the first data protection vendor we signed was Infrascale – which had an OEM relationship with them, so we were actually using ShadowProtect.”

The direct connection with StorageCraft deepened primarily through Jennifer Bodell, now Pax8’s VP of Channel, when she came to Pax8. Bodell had previously been Channel Marketing Manager at Shadowcraft.

“She had strong relationships there, and we started talking to them and a lot of their people were interested in learning about us,” Walsh said. “We ended up signing them.”

At that time, however, Pax8 was bottlenecked somewhat with bringing new vendors online, because they had many vendors coming in.

“We knew when we signed them that they had ShadowXafe in the works, so the question we faced was whether we hold off bringing them on until the new product was out, or not,” Walsh said. “We decided to go with the existing product first. That gave us a lot of extra time to launch around ShadowXafe.”

Walsh said that that extra time made ShadowXafe a better product.

“The play is around the next-gen notion, but its real value proposition is the multiple things that work together – the appliance, the software – and the on-prem appliance that syncs to the StorageCraft cloud or your own data centre,” he said. “They spent a long time addressing how these things go together in order to address that market that wanted things simpler.”

The product also benefitted a lot from the early partner feedback.

“What next-gen means here is use of microservices – componentized, fast response architecture,” Walsh indicated. “It’s challenging to move to that because you have to pay extra attention to testing. We benefitted from that. They wanted it on our line card right earlier, but by the time we got it through the queue, we benefitted from refinement of the next-gen tool.”

The other StorageCraft product now on the Pax8 line card is OneXafe Solo, which just reached General Availability last month. It takes their midmarket OneXafe offering down to the very small business market.

“It’s suited well for small customers – less than seven servers,” Walsh said.  The key is its simplicity of deployment, because its plug-in install capability means an MSP can protect both single tenant and multi-tenant environments within minutes – without a truck roll. That has made OneXafe Solo attractive to MSPs, even some who didn’t work this market before because with the install costs, they saw no profit in it.

“Plug and play really resonates at the lower end of the market,” Walsh said. “StorageCraft saw an opening in the market, because of this simplicity and flexibility combined with the rep of their data protection.”

Pax8 has many MSPs who work this lower end of the SMB market.

“It is a big play for us,” Walsh noted. “We have MSPs who range into deployments with thousands of users, but there are many who sell to the 50 user market and some who sell to 25 users. Not everyone can deal with that group efficiently. We can. It’s got to be easy. It’s got to be plug and play. It has to work, but it also have to be frictionless. To serve that market, you have to have automation, but also convenience and simplicity. We live in that market all day.”