Windows Azure Online Backup: Cloud Partner Opportunities?
Microsoft’s Windows Azure Online Backup, currently in preview, is a cloud storage service for Windows Server 2012. Plus, the online backup service now supports System Center 2012 SP1 and Windows Server Essentials 2012. But where do cloud integrators and channel partners fit in the conversation?
For pure Microsoft shops, I suspect Windows Azure Online Backup could be a compelling solution. But I think the vast majority of larger businesses now have mixed environments — Windows servers and Linux servers from a range of vendors (Red Hat, Novell, etc.). I don’t know if or how Microsoft will extend Windows Azure Online Backup to support Linux server distributions.
For channel partners plenty of additional questions remain — including:
- Will there be a targeted channel partner program for Windows Azure Online Backup?
- Can partners control end-customer pricing and billing for the backup service?
- How will the Microsoft service compare to other backup platforms hosted in the Windows Azure cloud? For instance, Symantec is planning a disaster recovery service for Azure. And CA Technologies’ ARCserve runs in Azure.
Meanwhile, many MSPs and VARs are embracing upstart cloud backup solutions for Windows Server. Fast-growth companies in the market include Axcient, Datto and Intronis — all three of which recently landed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. And there are larger service providers, like EVault, reaching out to MSPs as well.
While those channel-friendly company position their cloud services for partners, Talkin’ Cloud continues to wonder how Windows Azure Online Backup will engage VARs and MSPs.