July 12, 2019
DataCore now offers hyperconverged storage appliances and all-new subscriptions for its software defined storage (SDS) software to give business customers more options for modernizing their IT infrastructures.
Also available are new built-in storage analytics capabilities for customers who adopt the subscription model for DataCore’s software-defined storage application, as well as services to allow customers to back their critical business data to public clouds.
The new capabilities are all part of the company’s move to expand its services to provide secondary storage, data backup, data recovery and archiving for customer data, beyond the primary storage niche the company had focused on in the past.
DataCore’s Augie Gonzalez
“It’s a big deal because today the customers have to deal with this in fractured segments, with buckets for different things,” Augie Gonzalez, DataCore’s director of product marketing, told Channel Futures.
By bringing in secondary storage, backup and recovery as well as archiving, DataCore will be able to give customers the ability to store their most important data on faster, more costly storage infrastructure while keeping their archived storage on less costly storage platforms, said Gonzalez.
The DataCore SDS platform will also now be able to collect and aggregate existing storage from other silos and bring it in to the customer’s storage plans, using an auto-tiering algorithm that senses the frequency of use for each data store, he said. Oft-used data is kept in the fastest storage arrays, while less frequently used archive data is kept in cheaper storage systems, saving money for customers while maintaining good performance.
For SMB and enterprise channel partners, the new capabilities, which come under the company’s DataCore One storage offering, will allow them to sell DataCore SDS software for on-premises use by customers and for use with public cloud storage where critical data can be replicated, said Gonzalez.
“Partners can sell it as DataCore SDS software that they can marry servers and networking for customers in the traditional way they have done it” or they can sell turnkey HCI appliances that run the software and are supported directly by DataCore, said Gonzalez. “Each represents different ways to provision the storage, protect it and optimize it.”
The new DataCore HCI-Flex appliances are available in multiple 1U and 2U configurations with either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V pre-installed. The hyperconverged systems include smart caching, thin provisioning, dynamic auto-tiering and Parallel I/O acceleration. Once deployed, the HCI-Flex appliances can pool and manage internal storage and external storage systems, regardless of vendor or underlying technology, according to DataCore.
The new software subscription option lets users turn the expense of licensing into an operational cost, rather than as a one-time capital cost as in the company’s original perpetual licensing agreements. For channel partners, the subscription licensing model also provides opportunities for ongoing revenue from customers.
“It’s a more predictable form of recurring revenue and it’s also higher margins because we have adjusted the lead-registration discounts we give to partners to further incentivize them,” he said.
All customers using or converting to the subscription licensing model will get included storage analytics services under the company’s new cloud-based DataCore Insights Services portal, which will only be available to subscribers, said Gonzalez. The services can help find potential problems in …
… storage configurations and can report them to customers for remediation. The analytics can also make capacity projections for customers based on existing storage usage patterns and advise users before they run out of storage space. That allows partners to get ahead of potential problems so they can beef up storage for customers, he said.
Customers moving to license subscriptions will also gain premier-plus support with annual system health checks, self-paced learning resources and higher priority queues for support.
DataCore has also made improvements in the SDS software to address partner comments that the application was rich in features but overly complex to use, he said.
“With this version, we have added simplification in operations and deployment so the effort the partner has to put into it is substantially reduced and the level of expertise they need is also much less,” said Gonzalez. “This facilitates partner onboarding and enablement,” through increased automation and more prescriptive procedures that allow customers and partners to walk through needed procedures more easily.
Camberley Bates, an analyst with Evaluator Group, said that DataCore’s existing presence in the midmarket makes it natural for the company to release an HCI product.
“They are a mature, solid software with very good performance; thus, their HCI should be considered a well-tested environment. They added predictive functionality (DIS), which is starting to be an expected capability from both storage and HCI vendors.”
Evaluator Group’s Camberley Bates
Channel partners in general are embracing the HCI appliance approach for delivering these services, because it’s especially attractive to SMBs, she said.
“DataCore has always had a strong channel, so expect the first adoptions to come through the current channel that is in place,” she said. “Their pricing is aggressive, and this along with performance should enable them to win business versus the big HCI vendors that are predominant in the market.”
Another analyst, Steven Hill of 451 Research, told Channel Futures that DataCore’s approach mirrors the growing evolution of storage away from monolithic systems toward the more flexible and holistic approach offered by SDS.
“The industry is steadily moving toward scale-out storage systems that can address primary, secondary and data protection challenges and support increasingly hybrid storage environments,” said Hill. Customers today are preferring to purchase storage as pre-integrated, easy-to-scale appliances rather than taking a more build-your-own approach, he added.
“Analytics-enhanced management is becoming table stakes in the storage industry, and having access to better and more dynamic management tools is a win-win for both MSPs and end customers,” said Hill.
DataCore storage is sold completely through the channel, working with some 800 partners around the world.
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