Actifio Looks To Simplify Storage Product Line, Channel Program

Data protection appliance vendor Actifio this week simplified its product line, added a virtual appliance option and introduced utility pricing.

Actifio, which develops purpose-built appliances that manage backup, snapshot, business continuity, disaster recovery, test and development, analytics, and other processes that create copies of production data, also enhanced its channel program with new market development funds, said Andrew Gilman, senior director of corporate and channel marketing for the Waltham, Mass.-based company.

"We looked back at the last year and took feedback from our partners about how to make it easier to buy, easier to use, easier to deploy, and -- forgive the tongue-in-cheek -- easier to love Actifio," Gilman said.

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The changes to Actifio's product lineup and channel program reflect the importance to customers of finding better ways to manage the numerous copies of data they maintain, Gilman said.

"Copies of their data is the real issue," he said. "Seventy-five percent of the digital world is a copy of other data, according to IDC."

Actifio is addressing this by simplifying its product line into two products, Gilman said. This is a big break from the past in which nearly every sale was a custom implementation. "We found the 80-20 rule works," he said. "Eighty percent of customers buy data in 100-TB chunks."

As a result, Actifio introduced the Actifio 100T, a new storage appliance for midsize to enterprise accounts that provides both scale-up, or the ability to add capacity, and scale-out, which increases performance as more nodes are added to the system. The solution scales to up to 2 petabytes of capacity.

The Actifio 100T, available in six standard configurations, includes most storage services, including SLA and data lifecycle manager, deduplication and backup replication, and failover testing and failback automation, at no charge. Options include Exchange and SharePoint recovery and bare metal recovery, Gilman said.

Also new is the Actifio Gateway, an appliance with no native storage capacity that virtualizes storage capacity from multiple vendors into a single storage pool that scales to up to 8 petabytes, he said.

Actifio is also making its storage solutions available as a service, which gives solution providers or service providers the opportunity to provide storage as a service to customers, Gilman said.

NEXT: Actifio Simplifies The Channel In Addition To The Product

The company also unveiled a new version of its core software that now provides data governance for large customers looking for greater control and security in their data. Included is reporting on the data that can be used for auditing purposes, Actifio's Gilman said.

Also new is a single sign-on for LDAP and Active Directory purposes, as well as enhancements that provide a non-disruptive failover test of the solution and automated failback for disaster recovery and business resiliency, he said.

Actifio's channel partners, which accounted for 84 percent of the company's revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012, now have access to a new co-marketing program under which they can apply for proposal-based market development funds. "Partners can go to our new partner portal and submit information on their field marketing events, and based on their program, we can help fund those activities," he said.

Actifio has done a solid job of simplifying customers' data management environments, said Mike Piltoff, senior vice president of strategic marketing at Champion Solutions Group, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based solution provider and Actifio partner.

"They are taking a very complicated data management environment, which hasn't really changed much in 15 years, and simplifying it," Piltoff said. "Actifio has taken the data management silo, the media server, the bolt-on media server that looks like tape but which works like disk, and WAN acceleration, and collapsed it all into one appliance."

Actifio has done as good a job simplifying its channel program, with above-board pricing, no "gotchas" and a spreadsheet that makes it easy to quickly figure out end-user pricing, Piltoff said.

"They make it easier for us to meet customer needs," he said. "My hats off to them."