Wasabi Attacks Public Cloud Giants On Storage Price, Performance And MSP model

The public cloud storage startup is slashing prices thanks to proprietary technology that squeezes more files to disk. Partners can white-label the service, and guarantee fixed prices, Wasabi channel chief tells NexGen Cloud attendees


Wasabi is taking on the cloud giants with a disruptive and proprietary storage technology it claims drastically reduces offsite backup costs and enables partners to offer fixed pricing.

"No one else can compete to get to the price and performance we can …. there's a lot under the hood that enables everything we do," Jennifer Kula, Wasabi's vice president of alliances and channels, told attendees of The Channel Company’s NexGen Cloud conference on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

The Boston-based storage startup has won more than 11,000 customers since going to market in 2017, and has already signed 1,000 resale partners it's encouraging to woo enterprise customers of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

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Business is booming because Wasabi delivers on the promise Cloud 2.0, Kula said, as discussed by Tom Koulopoulos, chairman of the Delphi Group, in a keynote that kicked-off the NexGen conference.

"Cloud 2.0 is what Wasabi is," Kula said, and "we are competing against Amazon, Google and Azure.

Those hyper-scale providers first brought to market cloud storage, but they offered it through a legacy enterprise model updated only as a managed service.

Many solution providers are employing the best practice of 3-2-1 backup—3 copies, on 2 media types, with one offsite.

By disrupting that model, Wasabi is making it possible for many companies to afford the offsite component, Kula said.

Wasabi's object storage, compatible with Amazon S3, offers proprietary technology that slashes costs while upgrading performance, Kula said.

Compared to S3, Wasabi is 80 percent cheaper, and eliminates all data egress and API fees.

The system also can write to disk faster—a 6x boost over Amazon, while data protection capabilities are the same as customers would expect from any top provider, she said.

Wasabi can achieve those economics because where the "first-generation" cloud providers use Linux and other open source file systems to write data to disk, "we have written our own proprietary and patented file system designed and optimized for cloud object storage," Kula said.

Those open source storage systems typically lose 30 to 40 percent of usable disk space, whereas the Wasabi file system retains 90 to 95 percent of capacity. "So we use a lot more of the disk," Kula said.

Wasabi's proprietary system is also capable of leveraging advanced storage hardware, particularly SMR, or shingled magnetic recording systems, which squeezes more data onto a disk; and the company deploys a novel system architecture.

The result is storage offered at the flat rate of $5.99 per terabyte per month, which massively undercuts AWS, Microsoft and Google, Kula said.

That price shouldn't be compared to those hyper-scale providers cold storage options, which use tape systems that can have latencies of days to access data.

"We are hot cloud storage. We will deliver the performance of S3 at the price of some of the tape to cloud you're looking at," Kula said.

Last year, soon after joining the company to lead its channel efforts, Kula attended NexGen Cloud 2018 as her first event on behalf of the startup.

At that event, maybe half of the attendees were familiar with Wasabi—a percentage that has shot up in several subsequent Channel Company event she has attended in the year since.

Wasabi's channel is growing fast not only because of technical differentiation, but also because it's offering MSPs a new model for bringing cloud storage to market.

One characteristic popular with partners is predictability—they can set a bill without the fluctuations of egress fees and API calls, and never have to go back to their customers with an upcharge.

"That means for you, you can now set the pricing model as a service for your customers that will include your backup and recovery licensing, plus a per terabyte per month fee based on what they expect to store, and that won't change," she said.

Wasabi also allows partners to white-label its product.

Partners can buy the service from Wasabi at a discount from $5.99 per terabyte, set the price that serves them best, and "call it what you want," Kula said.

Frank Xavier, vice president of Optimum Technology, was planning a trip to the Wasabi booth at NexGen to learn more immediately after hearing Kula's presentation. His company, based in Columbus, OH., develops software for law enforcement agencies that it typically hosts on Microsoft Azure.

While data storage isn't the primary cost driver for his cloud fees, every penny that can be reduced from the customers' bills counts.

But he still wanted to know if that solution could entirely replace Azure storage, or just be used as a backup.

"Even if it is only for backup, it is worth giving it a try because the price difference is going to be huge," Xavier told CRN. "Every drop makes the ocean."