IBM Brings $35 CDP To Retail, Tries To Get VAR Interest

IBM on Friday released its IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files for sale on-line at $35 per download.

The move, however, is not a pure direct sales play, as solution providers will be able to take advantage of IBM's relationship with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Digital River's oneNetwork system, said Chris Stakutis, CTO of IBM Tivoli and inventor of the software.

With continuous data protection, or CDP, changes to data are backed up immediately or at certain pre-defined intervals to allow users to instantly recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file. While some applications allow data changes to be captured on-the-fly, most back up the changes at set intervals.

The Tivoli software offers true CDP capabilities in that users have the granularity to go back to any change in a file, Stakutis said. Those changes can also be automatically encrypted and saved over a network, or to a personal data storage device such as a USB drive. It works for business files as well as for home users' business and personal data.

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Digital River's oneNetwork is the backbone on which retailers such as OfficeMax, Staples, and Circuit Stores base their on-line software sales. Such retailers, which are among those who will be reselling the Tivoli CDP software, link customers' on-line orders to oneNetwork, from which the software is actually downloaded while leaving the reseller to handle the marketing and sales functions.

That is an arrangement that Stakutis said actually will work to the advantage of IBM solution providers who have customers interested in a low-cost CDP package but found the price of the software to be too low to make sales worth their time and effort.

While solution providers might find selling 100 or more copies at $35 a good business move, they may not find it worthwhile to spend time on an order for two or 10 seats, Stakutis said.

"But we want them to be able to do it, and then be able to go back to the customer for other opportunities," he said. "So we set up with Digital Rivers affiliate program. VARs can now do a mass promotion, tell customers to come to its site, click, get the software downloaded, all without the VAR spending time. But the VAR can go to customers later to discuss other business. We don't want resellers to lose a sale to retail."

Todd Barrett, manager of security and networking sales at CPU Sales and Service, a Waltham, Mass. provider of solutions to small and midsize businesses, said interest in such an arrangement would not be high among solution providers.

CPU currently sells CDP software from other vendors, including the version SonicWALL got with the acquisition late last year of Lasso Logic, as part of a solution, but does not look at CDP as a point product, Barrett said.

"I'm not interesting in dumping customers on our web site, and I don't want to lose control of the sale," he said. "If I can set up CDP software as part of a managed service, OK. But just telling customers to buy a few? No."