CA Unveils Channel-Exclusive SaaS Offering At Annual Conference

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The new CA Instant Recovery On Demand service targets small and midsize businesses with 100 to 1,000 employees, said Adam Famularo, senior vice president and general manager of CA's recovery management and data modeling business unit, in an interview. While most large organizations have backup and recovery systems in place, they are less common among SMBs, given their cost and complexity.

The service, based on CA's XOsoft High Availability backup and recovery software, replicates a company's business applications and data to CA data centers and provides automatic failover and recovery in the event of system failure. The system, for example, can be used to provide realtime replication for Oracle software, Blackberry Enterprise Server and Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server and IIS (Internet Information Server).

CA's pitch to channel partners and customers is that the turnkey Instant Recovery On Demand service can be implemented in 24 hours or less.

In addition to selling the service exclusively through the channel, Famularo said solution providers will have responsibility for managing the relationship with the customer -- a marked difference from some SaaS vendors who control the customer relationship. CA channel partners working with the new backup and recovery service will handle all implementation chores, hold the contract with the customer and manage the billing for the service.

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"We're expecting that channel partners will keep the relationship with the customer," Famularo said. "They need to own that relationship."

CA expects the Instant Recovery On Demand service to provide cross-sell opportunities for resellers of its ARCserve on-premise data backup software. Famularo said the two offerings are complementary in that ARCserve is used for data archiving -- a regulatory requirement in many industries -- while the on-demand service provides backup and recovery services for critical IT systems.

CA also expects to enlist solution providers who are expanding into managed services to carry Instant Recovery On Demand, Famularo said.

Pricing for the service is tiered with the average cost of a three-year deal covering three servers around $600 per server per month, Famularo said.

CA is offering resellers margins in the range of 30 to 40 percent on the service, according to Famularo, because he said CA understands that the turnkey system limits how much solution providers can charge for implementation and related services. "Resellers are making very heavy margins on this," he said.

The service is available now in North America and Germany with availability elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific slated for the first half of 2009. CA is recruiting channel partners to work directly with the vendor to offer the service, although Famularo said CA has plans to eventually offer the service to solution providers through distributors such as Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data.

About 600 channel partners attended the CA conference, according to Bill Lipsin, senior vice president of worldwide channels. Solution providers have been attending classes provided by Everything Channel's Institute for Partner Education and Development on how to improve their marketing efforts, Lipsin said in an interview, as well as classes on developing a recurring revenue stream from SaaS products and tips on hiring and retaining top talent.

CA has been making changes in its channel efforts this year and some solution providers have raised questions about CA's channel commitment. While most of CA's mainframe products are sold direct, Lipsin, in a keynote speech, made it clear the vendor is counting on its channel partners to sell CA products in such areas as recovery management (including ARCserve), Internet security and voice/network management.

Instant Recovery On Demand was one of several SaaS products CA introduced at the conference. The company also unveiled CA Clarity PPM On Demand, a SaaS version of the company's project and portfolio management application that helps organizations govern IT expenses, staffing, investments and projects and better aligning IT with business objectives. That service also will be available to channel partners, but unlike the backup and recovery service Clarity PPM On Demand won't be exclusive to the channel.

The third SaaS product CA introduced, CA GRC Manager On Demand, is largely being sold through the company's direct sales force. That software is used to manage governance, risk and compliance initiatives across a company.

Beyond the SaaS realm, CA made a number of product and technology announcements in security, service management, enterprise IT management, business services integration, and virtualization and cloud computing.

CA also handed out its 2008 Partner of the Year awards at the conference, including North American VARs Insight Direct USA, SHI International and Computer Integrated Services.

In his keynote address Sunday, CEO John Swainson said maximizing the benefits of IT that businesses already have in place, combined with leveraging new technologies such as virtualization, SaaS and service-oriented architecture, is critical for surviving the current turbulent economy. While extolling the benefits of new technologies, Swainson also warned that IT advances can add cost and complexity to IT environments unless properly managed.