Zenith Infotech Preps BDR, SmartStyle Cloud Enhancements

Zenith Infotech is preparing upgrades and enhancements to assist managed services providers (MSPs) with BDR (backup and disaster recovery) storage, private cloud computing and small business video conferencing/telepresence services. The enhancements surface while Zenith Infotech continues to negotiate its debt agreements with bondholders.

Zenith Infotech CEO Akash Saraf says the company will ship a BDR upgrade -- known as BDR Generation 12 -- next week. The solution is platform agnostic, meaning that MSPs can use any remote management and monitoring tool to manage it.

Also, Zenith Infotech is prepping a SmartStyle cloud upgrade that will support Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization. Zenith Infotech also is debating a potential name change for the platform but it sounds like SmartStyle will very likely remain the brand for this launch. The upgrade is similar in concept to the VBlock and VCE effort promoted by Cisco Systems, EMC and VMware. However, Zenith Infotech will continue focusing its cloud efforts on partners that support small and midsize businesses; there are no plans to counter Vblock within enterprise datacenters.

Saraf said the new SmartStyle release will cost more than previous releases. MSPs running existing SmartStyle systems will be able to make one-to-one exchanges for the new SmartStyle offering if they so choose. MSPs that make the one-to-one exchange will have to pay Zenith Infotech the price difference between the old and new SmartStyle releases, Saraf said.

Meanwhile, Zenith Infotech is starting to see Vu Telepresence -- its video conferencing platform -- gain some traction with MSPs. The traction began when Vu Telepresence introduced interoperability with third-party telepresence systems (Cisco, LifeSize, Polycom, etc.) in early November 2011, Saraf said.

On the business and debt front, Zenith Infotech continues to negotiate with bondholders but Saraf said he has no new developments to share. Bondholders took Zenith Infotech to court after the cloud company defaulted on a debt payment in September 2011. Media speculation about the debt default has quieted down dramatically in recent weeks.

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