Cloud storage startup Nasuni, which last week unveiled new technology which sets retention periods for regulatory data stored in a cloud, is preparing to introduce its first formal channel program.
The new channel program recognizes the importance of building a partner base to bring cloud storage technology to customers as quickly as possible, said Andres Rodriguez, CEO of the Natick, Mass.-based company.
"We know all storage and infrastructure goes through the channel," Rodriguez said. "Nasuni recognizes this, and will eventually be a 100-percent channel vendor. The only reason we sell anything direct today is to keep in touch with customers in the early stage."
Nasuni is the developer of the Nasuni Filer, a virtual appliance that links through the Internet to one or more third-party clouds for backing up and archiving files while providing local copies for fast access. Changes to the files are also copied to the cloud to maintain up-to-date versions.
The Nasuni Filer helps solution providers take advantage of existing public storage clouds, including Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Nirvanix, and Windows Azure to offer Storage-as-a-Service to customers.
It allows remote and local caching of files, along with such services as thin provisioning and built-in snapshots to eliminate the need to back up data.
The latest version of the Nasuni Filer, introduced last week, helps reassure customers that data subject to regulatory or compliance concerns can not only be safely stored in a cloud, but can be deleted after a set time as well, Rodriguez said.
IT lets customers establish policies that determine when certain data is automatically deleted. However, because files in a storage cloud may be replicated several times for data protection, deleting a file does not remove the data from the cloud.
"The Nasuni Filer breaks the link from the Filer to the data on the cloud," Rodriguez said. "So the data can't be found on the cloud. But even if a copy is later found, it's encrypted. It becomes an orphaned piece of data encrypted by AES-256."
Nasuni's cloud storage technology makes it possible for solution providers to take advantage of public clouds to offer storage as a service to customers, Rodriguez said.
"We talk to a lot of partners who are interested in the cloud, but who don't have the relationship with Amazon or other clouds," he said. "So we bring in all the technology they need to get customers to the cloud, monitor their clouds, and manage them."
With the introduction of its first channel program, solution providers who sign up with Nasuni get between 30 percent and 40 percent of the customer's recurring revenue, Rodriguez said.
They can also get a 10-percent bonus margin on registered deals, he said. Nasuni protects partners with "partner steal payback," a feature which compensates a partner who has a registered deal that is stolen by another partner.
Partners also get access to a Nasuni Web portal which they can add their own brand for working with customers. That portal lets partners look at individual customers' utilization of cloud storage, do file analytics, look at different file types, and perform other management tasks. They can also use the portal for marketing support and even to access Salesforce.com, Rodriguez said.
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Partners can also use the portal to place orders and pick their customers' specific cloud provider and set up billing delivery options. Nasuni also handles all the customer billing for solution providers by providing a breakdown of all the partners' accounts as well as send out bills to specific customers, Rodriguez said.
"This is an entire billing system for our partners," he said.
Nasuni has done a good job of packaging cloud storage technology for solution providers, said Bernard Westwood, CFO of Syscom Technologies, an Atlanta-based solution provider which is in the process of rolling out a Nasuni offering.
"A lot of providers are not ready for the channel," Westwood said. "Nasuni has the recurring revenue built right into its offering. Right out of the gate, it's packaged as a service."
Westwood said Nasuni's new partner program is very attractive to solution providers such as Syscom. "The partner program is all very positive," he said. "We are looking to engage with emerging vendors that need us as much as we need them."