Cemaphore Parlays Microsoft Partners To Push Disaster Recovery

The San Mateo, Calif., company's claim to fame is that its MailShadow software can be applied on an incremental mailbox-by-mailbox basis, which can mean cost savings to customers, partners say. What the customer saves on disaster recovery could end up flowing to the partner for other services.

"If you have 25 or 30 users but five primary users, you can zero in on those five and protect them," said James Oliverio, president of Another9, a Tarrytown, N.Y.-based MSP.

"I can failover one or 10 mailboxes or all of them. The advantages here are that if you have problems with part of your Exchange Server and need to push a subset of it to the disaster recovery site, that's good," said Craig Carter, CTO of Micromenders, a San Francisco-based solution provider that resells e-mail and offers managed services. "But what I really like about it is you can test the recovery without setting up massive maintenance windows. You can test it weekly on one or two people."

Cemaphore piggybacks its channel recruitment program, announced last week, on a current set of partners instead of building it from scratch. Any VAR currently reselling Exchange Server would be interested in cross- and up-sell opportunities, so related products are always of note.

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The whole arena of disaster recovery for SMBs is ripe, added Alex Freund, president of 4IT, a Miami-based Microsoft solution provider that focuses on Small Business Server and Exchange Server.

"There are big vendor players like Doubletake and EMC, but they're all priced and designed for the enterprise," Freund said.

MailShadow is perfect for these small customers because the VAR or MSP can charge the customer per mailbox. Doubletake and others charge by the server and require a copy of the software for both source and destination servers, he said.

"That's shelling out more for Doubletake, which doesn't work well with SBS anyway," Freund said. Cemaphore, he added, replicates mailboxes between two Exchange Servers that are already running.

For the VAR or solution provider, the add-on sale is a big opportunity. "A significant portion of our clients are under managed services. They have no IT staff and pay by the month, for which we act as their virtual IT department. If we have the client already, and add an additional server, we can layer additional services now to monitor the disaster recovery solution. The only way DR really works is if it's being watched," Freund said.

The fact that Cemaphore, a Microsoft Gold partner, is embracing other Microsoft partners to get its product to market is the kind of ecosystem leverage vendors like to see.

Exchange Server 2007, the latest release of the product, has been broadly available since late last year.