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The Symantec Protection Network is currently available as a beta, with final availability and pricing to be determined. Pricing will be a monthly fee based on the amount of data protected, Hausman said.
Solution providers will be able to add their own services atop the Symantec service, including performing and testing the backups on behalf of customers and handling any alerts, he said.
Nick Cellentani, vice president of operations and storage consulting at Adexis, a Columbus, Ohio-based solution provider, said he's not sure why there's so much hype about SaaS when companies such as his have already been providing SaaS-like offerings.
"We as a company have been offering data protection as a service for years," he said.
The Symantec Protection Network will complement Adexis' storage service, Cellentani said. "With Symantec, we can wrap our value around its offering," he said. "Or those who use the Symantec services may get more interest in our services platform."
Brian Reagan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Arsenal Digital, a Cary, N.C.-based provider of online backup services through partnerships with telcos, managed service providers, and hosted service providers, said his company welcomes Symantec to the SaaS space.
"We view this as positive, not only for the industry, but also for users," Reagan said. "We feel the traditional hardware/software model for data protection is not the best approach for all users."
However, Reagan said Arsenal Digital was somewhat shocked to hear that Symantec only announced a beta offering.
"We expected a full-service offering," he said. "That they took so long is probably because of the need to develop the technology. It took Arsenal Digital eight years to get it right. We expect it to take Symantec another couple years to really learn how to deliver this at scale in a complete offering. They'll find there's a lot of management and other changes that have to happen before they can offer a true SaaS model."