Nasuni Monday became one of the first cloud storage providers to offer a 100-percent uptime service guarantee.
The company also unveiled plans to introduce its first hardware appliance for building storage clouds and said it intends to be a channel-only company going forward.
Natick, Mass.-based 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.
Nasuni's 100-percent guaranteed service level agreement (SLA) promise is the company's way to address customers' natural fear of a new technology, said CEO Andres Rodriguez.
"For a service, you must always be on," Rodriguez said. "We can guarantee 100-percent availability because we have data on systems in the field and any availability issues. Our guarantee is based on historical data and field experience."
Nasuni's 100-percent uptime guarantee carries some stiff penalties the company could impose on itself. For instance, if a customer suffers a five-minute outage, or the customer's service does not meet recovery time objectives of 15 minutes, the customer will get 10 free days of free service, which Rodriguez said is about 3000 times the penalty offered by other providers.
"My goal was to come up with the most draconian penalty for Nasuni if there is an outage," he said.
The Nasuni Storage Services Network has been deployed as a virtual storage appliance since the company first came to market. However, Nasuni this week is introducing its first physical appliance for offering cloud-based protection, Rodriguez said.
The appliance, which is expected to start shipping next month, can be used to handle cloud storage workloads in a central office or branch office. Copies of a customer's data are stored locally on the appliance for fast recovery, and then replicated on the cloud for further protection.
Nasuni plans to charge only for the service related to cloud storage based on a per-TB of usable storage, with will include all the versions of the data and the offsite replication , and not for the hardware per se, Rodriguez said. "We don't make any money with this box," he said. "It's all about the service."
NEXT: Nasuni Goes 100 Percent Channel
Nasuni also plans to go 100-percent channel, said Bill Simpson, the company's vice president of sales and channel strategy, who joined the company in June.
"The channel has a natural knowledge of what customers need," Simpson said. "The channel has thousands of customers they can visit. To sell direct, we'd need hundreds of new sales reps."
The channel is also the best way to roll out company-wide storage services, Rodriguez said. "We're selling a simplified version of storage," he said. "But it is storage. It needs to be integrated with the customer's infrastructure, with Active Directory and so on. We need the channel to do this."
Brian McCarthy, president of Cloud Caboodle, a Lake Mary, FL.-based cloud storage services provider, liked the idea of Nasuni providing a virtual 100-percent uptime guarantee.
"It's 11 nines of uptime service (99.9999999 percent), to be exact," McCarthy said. "If Nasuni's attorneys agreed for them to call it 100 percent, I'm for it."
Nasuni has proven itself to be a good cloud storage partner, McCarthy said.
"A lot of cloud providers don't have channel programs," he said. "So having one throat to choke is a good thing for a cloud services provider. And they have a kickass deal registration program. There's the potential to make 30 points per deal."
Cloud storage can still be a scary thing for customers, and for Nasuni to come out with an appliance to interface with and increase the performance of the service will help reassure potential clients, McCarthy said.
"A local appliance gives customers a feeling of security," he said. "We're not dealing with home users. I know what it would be like to recall 100 GBs of data on a T1 line. That's a typical database. Go into a midsize company, and you are talking about two to three TBs."