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Barracuda Offers Backup, Services With BitLeap Acquisition

Like other security companies, e-mail security giant Barracuda Networks is expanding its offerings into the storage space with the acquisition of BitLeap, allowing it to target the SMB and midmarket with affordable backup solutions.

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Barracuda execs say that the BitLeap acquisition fits into the company's existing business model and SMB target market segment as it continues its current expansion into the storage arena.

"We believe we've built this great channel. Now we have an engine in which to sell products," said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management for Barracuda. "It turns out we're now looking at other problems -- a big one was backup."

And as part of its acquisition, Barracuda plans to beef up both its storage and its services components, execs say. The merger, which integrated Barracuda's appliance-based offerings with BitLeap's off-site services, provided the answer to customers' need for an affordable backup solution, which incorporated both appliances and hosted services.

"Our partners came to us frequently with, 'Wouldn't it be great if you had an appliance that could do X?'" Pao said.

As part of the acquisition, Barracuda is offering Barracuda Backup, an integrated local and off-site data backup solution combining Barracuda Backup Server with Barracuda Backup Service, a secure cloud-based backup and recovery service.

Altogether, Barracuda Backup copies primary data from any operating system or storage platform, while securing data transfers to an off-site data center and leveraging industry-leading policy management for data retention. The solution also includes automatic and full local backups, fast local restoration, redundant replication, data de-duplication, alert notifications and regulatory compliance capabilities.

For partners, the merger and integrated products allow them to enter the storage space or add value to their existing portfolio of storage offerings. It also allows partners to acquire revenue from monthly subscription services as well as current appliance sales, executives said.

David Maggio, senior systems engineer for Broski Enterprises, based in Rockford, Ill., said that he is just now starting to get requests from customers who are tired of dealing with tapes and tape drives.

"The timing (of the acquisition) is just perfect for us," Maggio said. "Just being able to address the evolving needs of our existing customer base and be ready with a solution when they have a problem [helps the customers]."

Other Barracuda partners dealing in the storage space say that they will wait and see if Barracuda's new backup solution surpasses their current offerings.

"This is something we're offering already. But if there's a better solution, then we're interested," said Jack Dawson, executive vice president for Reno-Nev.-based IQ Systems.

To prepare current partners for the leap, Barracuda is also offering extensive training, both on the sales and technical sides, for its existing partners to make the transition into the storage space.

"This being a fairly new product category, we need to get ourselves up to speed on the technology," Maggio said.

Meanwhile, the post-merger integration is well under way, Pao said. While combining storage and security products is not an industry first, Barracuda executives say that they plan to avoid some of the typical pitfalls faced by other vendors that have embarked on integrating the two technologies.

For one, there's more alignment between the two components, Pao said. Many large vendors, like Symantec, cater to enterprise customers in which storage and security sales are handled by separate divisions of the company. However, Barracuda targets a market -- midtier and SMB -- in which both security and storage purchasing is usually conducted by the same department, or even individual, thus making Barracuda's new backup solution a logical add-on to standard security sales, Pao said.

And unlike many acquisitions, BitLeap retained all of its employees, who were all fully integrated into Barracuda, while many of the e-mail security vendor's existing partners were also Bitnine channel partners.

"We had 100 percent retention of staff at BitLeap, who are still now with Barracuda networks," said Guy Suter, former CEO for BitLeap. "That's going to make it a pretty different scenario."

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