March 20, 2018
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Morro Data, a relative newcomer to the hybrid cloud storage services market, on Tuesday announced its inaugural MSPEdge Program, for MSPs and cloud service providers that want to deliver the vendor’s CloudNAS solution to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).
Believing that it’s important for sales to engage directly with the customer, company founder and CEO Paul Tien launched CloudNAS in August with a direct-sales strategy; however, as the company gained recognition in the market from both customers and MSPs, Tien decided that it was time to create an indirect sales channel as well.
Morro Data’s Paul Tien
“After we had enough inquiries from MSPs, we knew this was the right channel for us to engage with,” Tien told us.
That doesn’t mean that Morro Data is looking to be a channel-led company. Tien is taking a dual go-to-market approach. MSPs will work with SMB customers, while the vendor’s direct-sales team targets enterprise customers with remote branch offices — a complementary strategy that he views as vital to building the company’s brand.
Morro Data’s CloudNAS is designed to deliver the performance and scale necessary for businesses with hundreds of users that require large capacity across multiple locations. CloudNAS combines the vendor’s cache-and-sync technology with its global file system to ensure businesses have the highest level of file-access performance, unlimited storage capacity and collaboration services such as file locks, versioning and replication.
MSPEdge makes capabilities such as consolidated storage, multi-office file synch, and instant disaster recovery available to MSPs to offer as a service to SMB customers, whose storage concerns are performance, IT control and cost.
“We think that MSPEdge is a great opportunity for MSPs because it brings a hybrid-cloud solution that’s missing in most MSP sign-ups,” he said. “Many MSPs have cloud-storage solutions and they have on-premises solutions, but few have a hybrid-cloud storage solution.”
He also makes his case by pointing out that unstructured data continues to grow. On-premises storage for SMBs is too expensive to maintain, especially for multiple sites. Cloud storage for most MSPs is just backup, and object-storage prices keep falling — but it’s hard to access and MSPs need a way to bridge object storage to LANs.
MSPEdge enables MSPs to sell primary storage services with CloudNAS, an integrated and simple solution. Tien noted that the company improved the service margins for MSPs by removing the on-premises overhead, and there’s no per-user fee — unlike Box, Dropbox and others. Instead, Morro Data charges on the infrastructure, or per-device basis, and MSPs get a markup on a per-user basis.
The Morro Cloud Manager allows MSPs to deploy, manage and analyze their customers’ accounts and devices. The vendor’s lineup of CloudNAS gateways starts with the G40, offering 1TB cache for 20 users; the G80 1-4TB SSD cache for up to 50 users; the T600 tower with 8TB cache for up to 150 users; the R11 rack-mount device with 16TB cache/10GbE interface for up to 250 users; and virtual machine (VM) V100 that supports VMware and the V101 that supports Hyper-V.
Today, about one-third of Morro customers use …
“MSPs also prefer VMs because they’re easy to deploy,” Tien said.
For MSPEdge partners, the vendor offers a VM and NFR unit, and a dedicated service plan for MSP partners. The company also offers training, support and marketing.
Morro Data works with fewer than 50 MSPs, but wants to expand that number to several hundred in the U.S. The vendor has international customers that it works with directly and wants to grow its MSP partnerships internationally as well.
Tien is no newcomer to the storage market. His last startup, about a decade ago, was ReadyNAS, acquired by NetGear.
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