Axcient seeing good results from Early Access program for next-gen Direct-to-Cloud offering

Axcient’s new Axcient D2C removes the need for MSPs to have a physical appliance for customers, as well as the hassles of converting from another backup provider to this.

Ben Nowacky, Axcient’s SVP of Products

Last month, Axcient, which makes business availability software for MSPs, commenced the Early Access Program for their Axcient D2C, their new Direct-to-Cloud offering that will eliminate the need for a backup appliance while providing MSPs with image-based backup for end-user desktops, laptops, client servers and workstations. Early access is now fully available for servers and endpoints. The program has gone well, and the company is confident Axcient D2C will become a breakthrough product in the industry.

“This is our next-generation flagship product, the next evolution of the business continuity and DR space,” said Ben Nowacky, Axcient’s SVP of Products. “It’s an industry leading technology.”

Nowacky emphasized that Axcient D2C not only eliminates the cost and complexity of working with an appliance, but is also well suited for distributed office environments that have exploded with the pandemic.

“Traditional BDR and backup require a physical hardware appliance, and servers are expensive,” he said. “Axcient D2C allows backup directly to cloud, with no need for an intermediary appliance to back up to. In the age of Work From Anywhere, it allows you to back up without having to directly connect to an office infrastructure.”

“It’s also great for satellite offices which may not be able to put an appliance in,” said Tom Atwood, Axcient’s VP of Marketing.

Axcient D2C leverages Axcient Chain-Free backup technology with 15-minute RPO, automated Runbooks for point-and-click Cloud DR and 1-hour RTO, and Axcient AirGap for protection against ransomware.

“There were some technical challenges of backing up all that data into a cloud platform that we have solved,” Nowacky said. “The bandwidth requirements require everything to be fast and our dedupe technology allows our data to be pushed to the cloud without having to back it up again.”

Nowacky acknowledged that this was a longer-term roadmap item which COVID accelerated to meet market opportunity and demand.

“It’s something that we have been working on for a while, but because of COVID we massively changed our development roadmap to deliver this at a faster rate,” he said. “It was originally likely to be out in mid-2021.” It is now slated for availability in late 2020.

“We are coming out initially with local Bare Metal Restore,” Nowacky said. “Full virtualization tied to Runbooks is coming out in December. For next year, we are strongly looking at eliminating other barriers to removing local appliances from the market, such as allowing customers to do it in a low bandwidth or offline scenario. In Q1 of next year, we will be able to deploy this for highly regulated industries.”

Nowacky said that he expects to see a hockey stick pattern of growth for the new offering.

“I think there will be a period of time when people don’t trust the new technology,” he said. “We expect to hear ‘we have to have a local appliance,’ and ‘we have always had a local appliance.’ Once people start test driving, and do our two-week test drive, they will see that this is not only able to easily deploy, but that it is better than any other backup service.”

Nowacky said that in terms of use cases, there are no obvious candidates for this that jump out, although some types of customer situations would be a good fit.

“Customers with appliances with an upcoming end of life would be an obvious target,” he noted. “There are also lots of SMBs where cost is very much a factor.”

The early access program is going very well, Nowacky added.

“We had about 20% of our user base opt in for early access,” he said. “We have  gotten great feedback from them. We have done interviews with almost every one of these partners and there has not been a single negative comment from anyone. We will get the feedback into the roadmap for the end of this year.”

Nowacky said that Axcient is emphasizing that partners need to fully understand the security advancements in Axcient D2C.

“It’s a very critical piece of what we have done,” he said. “We launched our air gapped capability into all our products earlier this year for extra ransomware protection, and we also now have multi-factor authentication on default.”

Another key benefit for partners, Nowacky added, is Axcient D2C’s ability to make old customer concerns about gut-wrenching conversions from one backup vendor to another irrelevant.

“We have removed the complexities of conversion from one vendor to another,” he stressed. “It eliminates the old rip and replace barrier. Now, it’s just replace.”