Zentyal Counters Windows Small Business Server In the Cloud
No doubt, Microsoft Windows Small Business Server (SBS) has a loyal channel and a massive SMB installed base. But Zentyal, a Spain-based software company with International aspirations, is promoting an SBS alternative to VARs and managed services providers. The twist: Zentyal marries an on-premise Linux small business server with cloud computing.
Admittedly: I’ve seen dozens of open source alternatives to Microsoft SBS come and go over the years. Everyone from Novell to Xandros has made the Linux small business server pitch, but most customers and channel partners stuck with Microsoft. And Zentyal sounds vaguely familiar. In fact, it was previously branded as the eBox Platform. Zentyal estimates that there are roughly 50,000 active Zentyal server installations worldwide.
To the Cloud
To bolster that figure, Zentyal is adding a new twist to the conversation: A free, cloud-based disaster recovery service for the Zentyal servers. The effort involves a relationship between Zentyal and rsync.net, an offsite backup provider.
The backup service is configurable, according to Zentyal, but the default settings offer one initial full backup and one daily incremental backup for up to 10GB of data. The disaster recovery service is immediately available for Zentyal server users with commercial Zentyal server subscriptions.
Zentyal has a small but growing partner program, which includes traditional VARs as well as managed services providers.
Despite the cloud backup strategy, Zentyal will continue to face growing competition on new fronts.
A few prime examples: Microsoft spent much of 2010 developing a Windows Small Business Server release code-named Aurora. The Aurora effort marries on-premise SBS with cloud services — including potential online backup integration.
Meanwhile, Intel has been developing a so-called Hybrid Cloud strategy. It apparently includes the choice of a Windows or Linux server, and connections to a range of cloud services.
Also, the cloud itself could pressure Zentyal. Some U.S.-based small business pundits, such as Karl Palachuk, have predicted that most small businesses will no longer buy servers as they increasingly shift applications to the cloud.