IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has partnered with fast-growing vendor Actifio to offer new virtualized storage solutions for managed service providers and value added resellers worldwide, the companies announced Monday.
“The Actifio technology is a platform developed to really reduce the number of copies that customers have and then really enable cloud data management services,” said Jim Sullivan, president of Waltham, Mass.-based Actifio.
IBM and Actifio have had joint customers for about 18 months. Now, the companies are targeting about 4400 MSPs worldwide with the joint offering and several partners are already working to deploy the solution within the next quarter, according to Sullivan.
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Actifio has a platform to manage copies of data in a more streamlined approach than other data management products. Its protection and availability storage (PAS) offering virtualizes copies of data and manages backup, snapshots, deduplication, disaster recovery, analytics and compliance through a simple user interface.
The Actifio platform can now be combined with several existing IBM offerings for MSPs to have turn-key solutions. Those products include the IBM System Storage DS3500 Express, IBM Storwize V7000 virtualized storage system, IBM XIV Storage System Gen3 high-end disk storage system, and the IBM SAN Storage Volume Controller storage virtualization appliance.
“The capabilities that they have allow us to replace a lot of other products that add expense to the MSP’s infrastructure and complexity to the management model,” said Mike McClurg, vice-president of worldwide midmarket sales at IBM.
MSPs often struggle with having multiple software and hardware products then gaining margin on top of that, Sullivan added. With Actifio, partners can reduce the cost of goods by 50 to 90 per cent, allowing for strong margins on their services. Training around the joint offering will also be minimal, he said.
“We really, really have an opportunity (for) data management in the cloud,” McClurg said, whether that includes backup, disaster recovery or other services. The companies’ collaboration will also allow partners to offer more services to customers, he said.
The partnership comes at a time when IBM is investing more in marketing and other enablement for MSPs. “We have within IBM a significant initiative underway to recruit and go to market with managed service providers,” McClurg said. As companies with 1000 employees or fewer change their buying behaviour, MSPs will play a more important role in tackling that segment, he said.
Last winter Actifio opened offices in Toronto and Montreal and signed on five Canadian channel partners and the company has been expanding rapidly worldwide in recent months.
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