Cloud Storage and BDR: Growing, Changing and Consolidating?

When it comes to cloud storage and BDR (backup and disaster recovery), the market is growing, changing and consolidating -- all at the same time. Need some evidence? Look no further than timely developments and changes at Axcient, Carbonite, Doyenz, Intronis, Microsoft-StorSimple and Zenith Infotech. On the one hand: MSPs shouldn't lump those four companies together because they are vastly different in terms of business strategy, market maturity and growth rates. But on the other hand: Do keep an eye on each company because you'll see clues about where the BDR market is heading next. Here's the update.

The updates from this week and recent weeks:

1. Axcient: VP of Sales Chris Sterbenc has exited the company, MSPmentor has confirmed. The cloud-centric business continuity company has been expanding its executive team this year, and still has about 30 open positions. Axcient is expected to double sales this year. CEO Justin Moore offered no additional comment about Sterbenc's departure, other than to wish him well and thank Sterbenc for his contributions.

2. Carbonite -- Breaking News Update, Oct. 18, 9:27 a.m.: While pushing from the consumer market into the corporate market, the company has built a channel partner program and today (Oct. 18) announced the acquisition of Zmanda, an open source backup software provider. Zmanda has on-premises and cloud offerings, and works through the channel.

3. Doyenz: The cloud disaster recovery company has sold its rCloud service to Persistent Systems. It's unclear if the deal includes all of Doyenz or just the rCloud service. Doyenz had recently retreated from the European market while also cutting staff in the U.S. There was a rumor that Symantec was looking at the company in mid-2012, but the grape vine states any potential Symantec-Doyenz deal died when Symantec made a surprise CEO change.

4. Intronis: CEO Kent Plunkett exited in September, replaced by Interim CEO Jay Bolgatz. At the time, Bolgatz told MSPmentor that the  cloud backup and recovery company was on plan and having a great 2012 performance with MSPs.

5. Microsoft -- Breaking News Update, Oct. 18, 12:43 p.m.: The company has reached a "definitive agreement"' to acquire StorSimple, which develops Cloud-integrated Storage (CiS) solutions. The goal: Offer Windows Server 2012 customers hybrid cloud solutions, I believe. Microsoft says "CiS is a rapidly growing category of storage solutions that consolidates data management for primary storage, back-up, archive and disaster recovery.  It delivers seamless integration between on premises and cloud-based storage through intelligent automation and management."

6. Zenith Infotech: The company has cut around eight sales positions in recent weeks, MSPmentor has confirmed, but keep in mind the company has several hundred employees worldwide. My estimate: The changes impacted fewer than 2 percent of employees, and were designed to more effectively focus Zenith Infotech on private cloud, virtualization and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) solutions.

Zenith Infotech sold off its RMM and NOC businesses last year and has been trying to wrap up a bond default case since around September 2011. More recently, Zenith Infotech has been focusing on such initiatives as:

  • TigerCloud, a private cloud solution for such applications as virtual desktops, server consolidation, desktop virtualization, high-speed iSCI storage, business continuity and cloud automation.
  • TruHAAS—a rent-to-own pricing structure for TigerCloud deployments. HaaS is short for hardware as a service.
Zenith Infotech Senior VP Maurice Saluan, meanwhile, says the company has several open positions to fill.

The Bigger Picture

What does all this mean for MSPs? Overall, the cloud storage and BDR markets remain healthy. Companies like Axcient, Datto and Intronis all landed on the recent Inc. 5000 list, which tracks the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S.

But all that growth and competition also triggers change:
  • Some companies continue to hire rapidly amid a shift from the start-up to rapid-growth mode (example: Axcient).
  • Some companies will exit amid fierce competition (apparent example: Doyenz, though the company has yet to publicly comment on the Persistent Systems deal).
  • Some CEOs and venture capitalists will part ways as their companies pursue the next stage of growth (example: Intronis).
  • Some companies will change-up their staff while launching new services and exiting other markets (example from the past year: Zenith Infotech).
MSPmentor has been predicting a BDR market shakeout for the past six or eight months. There are lots of vendors trying hard to differentiate their products and services while pursuing the MSP market. Doyenz sold its core asset -- rCloud -- this week. Who will be next? We're watching.
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