EMC Moves To SaaS Model, Intros Online Backup


EMC on Tuesday unveiled its software as a service strategy, and introduced the first of what it plans will be a wide range of services it will offer customers in the future.

The first service, MozyEnterprise, is an online backup service based on EMC's recent acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems, the developer of the technology behind the Mozy online backup business.

EMC acquired Berkeley for $76 million in October, giving the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant its first foothold in the online services market.

EMC's new SaaS platform, EMC Fortress, will eventually be used to provide a variety of online services, including data security, IT application, and trusted data services, said Harsha Ramalingam, vice president of products and services in EMC's new SaaS business unit.

While MozyEnterprise, an online data backup and recovery service based, wil be the service offered, Ramalingam said, backup and recovery is just a starting point for EMC's SaaS strategy.

EMC Fortress will be EMC's SaaS platform going forward in areas such as data services and application services. "We're not announcing anything yet," he said. "But EMC has a big portfolio of applications."

EMC Fortress has also been built as a platform to support a partner ecosystem around which OEMs and channel partners can leverage and deploy their own applications, Ramalingam said. "We see SaaS as a whitebox solution to let others offer their own branded services," he said.

That platform includes multi-tenant support, security and access management, billing capabilities, and metering based on usage, Ramalingam said. "These are available for all applications deployed on top of our SaaS platform," he said. "So there's a consistent experience across the platform."

The Mozy technology was aimed at consumers and small and home office businesses before EMC acquired it. Since the acquisition, however, EMC has turned it into a new platform for the enterprise, giving it the scalability, flexibility, and reliability required by enterprise customers, Ramalingam said.

MozyEnterprise includes the addition of authentication, authorization, and key management features from EMC's RSA Security Division. EMC has also added expanded customer support, including 24 x 7 x 365 phone and e-mail support and guaranteed response times.

MozyEnterprise is not expected to compete directly with EMC's existing data protection products, Ramalingam said. Customers of EMC's Legato and Retrospect data protection software, for instance, can add MozyEnterprise as a way to further protect their data.

Existing Mozy products, including MozyHome and MozyPro will continue to be offered as a direct product by EMC, as well as through the services 1,200-plus reseller partners, Ramalingam said.

MozyEnterprise will be offered direct and via service providers on an OEM basis initially, Ramalingam said. "Over time, we will make it available to solution providers," he said. "They will be able to use it to create their own applications."

The MozyEnterprise service, which is available starting Tuesday, is priced at $5.25 per desktop or laptop license and 70 cents per Gbyte stored per month. On the server side, EMC charges $9.25 per server license and $2.35 per Gbyte stored per month. Customers are not required to sign long-term contracts.

One solution providers considering working with EMC's Mozy platform is FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based partner of EMC and nearly all of the top server platform vendors.

Marc Franz, national sales director of EMC and VMware solutions for FusionStorm, said that EMC's Mozy strategy is an interesting play.

Unlike a lot of solution providers, FusionStorm has multiple data centers and all the tracking and billing infrastructure needed to do hosted backups, along with experience handling the online data protection needs of midrange and enterprise customers.

"We already have a managed backup service, but it's a higher-level product," Franz said. "We're backing up servers, not PCs. Will the average EMC sales rep talk to customers about Mozy? Probably not. Will we? Probably. We might make an average of 35 cents per Gbyte, which is not much. But when you scale up to thousands of users, it becomes a big deal."

For FusionStorm, the Mozy platform would be more than an on-line service for its enterprise customers, Franz said. It would also be a way to bring EMC into new accounts.

"Maybe a customer is not an EMC shop," he said. "We can go in and offer them a new service, which opens the doors for other EMC products. Maybe one person backups up only 4 Gbytes to 5 Gbytes of data. But there's the multiplier effect. When you have thousands of customers, that becomes Tbytes of storage."

EMC's move to offer MozyEnterprise is only the latest in a line of major storage vendors to offer online backup services, either via partnerships or, more common, through acquisitions.

Both Google and Amazon are making their vast IT infrastructures available to customers looking for on-line data protection.

IBM in December said it plans to acquire Arsenal Digital, an online data protection developer, for an undisclosed sum as a way for the company to provide secure, scalable information protection services to small and midsize businesses as well as enterprises.

Hard drive vendor Seagate last December acquired online backup developer EVault to go after the small business data protection market for $185 million. EVault recently unveiled its new EVault Unified Recovery platform, which now includes such features as data deduplication, replication of data to a secondary site for disaster recovery, and data self-healing capabilities.

Other storage hardware and software vendors who have recently moved into the online backup market include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Iomega, and Symantec.

In addition, several small vendors are also targeting the online backup space, often with a channel model that allows solution providers to either resell the services hosted by the vendor or host the services themselves.