March 22, 2012
windows-server-8The current Windows Server 8 beta includes a cloud-based online backup service. And that begs the question: Is Microsoft set to compete with cloud-based backup, storage and disaster recovery services? Or is the Windows Server 8’s online backup service more of a niche offering?
Details about Windows Server 8 linking to the Microsoft online backup service surfaced in a blog by Aidan Finn, a Microsoft MVP who covers Hyper-V and Windows Server issues. Finn pointed out that:
“Microsoft Online Backup Service is an installable service for Windows Server “8″ Beta, which allows for file and folder backups to the cloud service.”
Meanwhile, there are more than 1,600 online backup services and cloud storage service providers competing in the market right now, according to EVault President Terry Cunningham. Some of those cloud service providers are selling direct to end-customers. Others are partnering up with VARs and MSPs to reach the SMB market. And just about everyone is trying to understand the current state of the cloud backup market, as Windows IT Pro’s Jeff James has pointed out.
No Need for Panic
So will Microsoft wind up competing with each of those cloud services providers — and their channel partners? Perhaps in a small way, but I don’t see the Microsoft Online Backup Service as a full-blown alternative to many established and emerging CSPs in the market.
Here’s why: Most of the best CSPs have moved far beyond basic backup. Now, it’s all about (A) disaster recovery in the cloud or (B) speed to recovery on-premise or (C) cross-platform support for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, Apple iOS, Unix, VMware and more.
I don’t see Microsoft promoting or evangelizing A, B or C. Assuming I’m right, I suspect only pure Microsoft shops (small businesses with a few Windows 8 servers or large accounts that have standardized on Windows) will embrace Microsoft’s online backup service. That’s a deep — but narrow — backup niche as the world increasingly becomes cross-platform.
My hunch: Even if Microsoft Online Backup Service is a winner for Windows Server 8 customers, rival CSPs and channel partners will have plenty of opportunity to address the massive, growing cloud storage market.
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