TierPoint Makes DRaaS Magic Quadrant Debut As Provider Evolves Cloud, Data Center Strategy

Cloud provider and data center operator TierPoint has landed in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service for the first time, highlighting the provider's evolving cloud prowess and focus on hybrid IT.

St. Louis-based TierPoint has been on a data center buying binge -- picking up telecom provider Windstream's data center assets in October 2015 and acquiring data center provider Cosentry in March 2016 -- and has no plans to stop. In addition to growing its data center footprint and geographic reach, the provider has been evolving and building out its software-defined Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service program to differentiate itself from the rest of the competition.

In its DRaaS Magic Quadrant debut, TierPoint found itself squarely in Stamford, Conn.-based market research firm Gartner's Challengers quadrant, joining competitors VMware, Verizon, Recovery Point and Acronis. While not new to the Magic Quadrant, VMware, Verizon and Recovery Point were also new entrants to the Challengers category this year.

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TierPoint introduced its latest DRaaS offering in late 2015, and the provider's focus on hybrid IT helps its DR offering stand out, said Shea Long, TierPoint's senior vice president of products, as the solution that many businesses are looking for because of their increasingly complex IT environments.

TierPoint focuses on midmarket customers, many of which are looking for a single place to manage their IT environments that might include a combination of public cloud infrastructure, managed services and premise-based workloads, Long said.

"We can help them monitor and manage their workloads, and orchestrate across IT environments, no matter where they are," Long said. "The promise of cloud is simple, but hybrid environments can complicate things really fast. Our job is to help provide simplicity [and] make sure that clients aren't blowing their budgets on public cloud."

The latest DRaaS offering is the key to hybrid IT, Long said. This solution takes a business' cloud environment and allows it to fail over to either another cloud or a dedicated appliance -- a method that the provider is calling software-defined DRaaS.

"We will allow clients to use any cloud, any infrastructure solution, and any DR tool that integrates into our platform -- including Zerto, HP and EMC's DR tool -- and we can manage their DR environment from a single pane of glass," Long said.

Atrion, a Warwick, R.I.-based solution provider and TierPoint partner, said that the provider has a robust coverage area, thanks to its recent acquisitions, giving TierPoint a footprint of 39 data centers. TierPoint is a popular provider among business customers, said Darryl Senese, Atrion's vice president of carrier services.

"Our customers like them, and in the data center business, once you are in a data center and happy, you don't see clients leaving," he said.

Atrion also enjoys working with TierPoint because of the provider's flexibility, especially when it comes to contracts, pricing and approach to unique customer requests, Senese said.

"[TierPoint] is great as a partner," he said. "They just get it, and know what it is like to be an agent, and as such, they have built their program to leverage agent relationships to help drive sales."

The channel has been critical in helping service providers like TierPoint sell DRaaS solutions, which are resonating with business customers right now, and that works both ways. DRaaS is also a popular offering sold by channel partners because it helps bring in larger deals, TierPoint's Long said.

TierPoint's approach to DRaaS by letting businesses and partners keep using any existing DR tools they already have has also been a sales enabler for partners.

"For a lot of businesses, it's a non-starter to be told they have to drop their existing DR platform and get set up on a new platform just because that's the one another cloud provider uses," Long said. "We are taking a different approach."

Microsoft and IBM, among others, ranked as "leaders" in this year's DRaaS Magic Quadrant.