Quest Software Focuses On Data Protection Channel

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Quest Software is building on acquisitions and the hiring of a couple of key executives to build a channel-only strategy for its data protection software and integrate it with the channel programs for the company's entire product line.

The result of integrating the product lines and channel programs of Quest's acquisitions of Vizioncore and BakBone will be shown to the company's solution providers this week at Quest's first-ever channel partner conference, said Walter Angerer, senior vice president and general manager for the company's data protection business.

"I'm spending a lot of time engaging with the channel," said Angerer. "My vision is to be channel-driven. To be successful, we need to get the channel fired up, and make sure we can support our partners."

For many solution providers, Quest's channel partner conference, held this week in Data Point, Calif., will be their first opportunity to see big changes in both the company's data protection and channel team as well as its data protection product line.

Those changes have been some time coming.

Quest in early 2008 acquired Vizioncore, a provider of disaster recovery and other products for virtual infrastructure management. Its primary product, and until recently Quest's primary data protection offering, is vRanger, which provides a comprehensive data protection platform for VMware virtualized environments.

Quest followed that up with the acquisition late last year of data protection software vendor BakBone, which gave the company a backup and recovery offering for traditional infrastructures to go with vRanger.

Tying that all together was the hiring this summer of Angerer, a former executive of Veritas and Symantec who worked on the NetBackup data protection software while at Veritas and later led Symantec's push to develop a hardware appliance business.

Angerer is working on Quest's data protection channel expansion with Michael Sotnick, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances, a former Veritas channel chief who joined Quest in mid-2010.

The migration of Quest executives has not been a one-way street.

Virtualization upstart Liquidware Labs in August said it had hired away three executives from Quest, all of whom came to that company through Quest's 2008 acquisition of server virtualization startup Vizioncore. The three included Chris Akerberg, former vice president of global sales for server virtualization; David Feathergill, former chief architect; and Grace Krokidas, a former Quest marketing executive.

Quest and Angerer had a lot of work to do to reshape BakBone, which was suffering both in financial and channel terms, as the center of its data protection strategy.

Before being acquired by Quest, BakBone had been hit by a couple of bad financial decisions and was finding it difficult to recover, Angerer said.

"BakBone also didn't have any experience with virtualization," he said. "And there was back and forth between focusing on channel partners, then direct, then on channel partners."

That has changed with Quest, Angerer said. The company's data protection business is 100 percent through channel partners, compared to about 40 percent for the company's overall business, he said.

The goal going forward is to combine integrate the products and channels of its vRanger and BakBone NetVault offerings, he said.

vRanger remained a separate, stand-alone business until late 2010 and through the acquisition of BakBone, Angerer said. "That was the time when Quest decided to really get into data protection, and not just focus on the virtualization side," he said.

Next: Bringing Virtualization, Data Protection Technology And Channels Together

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