i365 Unveils Project Cloudburst VAR-focused Cloud Storage

Seagate-owned i365 wants to add VARs to the cloud storage equation. That’s the short version of what the company’s trying to accomplish with an initiative codenamed “Project Cloudburst,” due to officially launch in the fall of 2010. Basically, i365 wants to enable VARs to host their client’s data themselves as well as backup to the cloud, capitalizing on the reseller’s customer relationships. Here’s the scoop.

i365 specializes in hybrid cloud deployments -- it’s where their expertise lies, and Project Cloudburst keeps things well within their wheelhouse. Customer data still ends backed up to their cloud, and they still get the benefits of having data kept off-site in the case of disaster.

Where the innovation comes in is in allowing local VARs serving SMBs in their community to host customer data in their own data center using i365’s own EVault archiving solution. The benefit for i365 is that a VAR can onboard customers that they would never be able to reach on their own in a thousand years.

The benefits, says i365 CEO Terry Cunningham, are numerous for both reseller and client. For starters, in the case of emergency, it’s a lot quicker and easier to shuttle a drive containing the business’ data over in a car than it is for i365 to FedEx a package - especially if the problem occurs on a Sunday at midnight.

And for VARs, it means that they can offer affordable cloud backup with a business case backed up by a relatively well-known and well-regarded company like Seagate. Cunningham says nothing would make him happier than if Project Cloudburst convinced SMBs to move off of 15-year-old tape backup solutions.

Project Cloudburst isn’t its final name, and details and pricing are still being decided for announcement later in the year. But i365 seems to be positioning itself in a very intriguing spot to help the IT channel make cloud moves, and we’ll keep an eye out for updates.

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